POINT (21.844793 47.874908)
  • Procure


    Kick-off meeting in June (Lublin). Transnational meetings in September (Satu Mare and Nagykallo) and December (Albacete).
    Transnational meetings in March (Koprivnica), June (Candelaria), September (Koszalin), November (Prague).
    Final event in March (Bologna).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600


    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova


    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027


    City of Naples
    Urban Planning Department 
    Phone +39 081 7958932 - 34 - 17 


    The Barnsley Digital Media  County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW
    Phone +44 01226 720700 


    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    The goal of this Action Planning network was to explore how to harness the spending power through procurement of public and anchor institutions in the partner cities to bring about economic, social and environmental benefits for businesses and people which in turn will have a positive impact on the city and its local economy. The topics to be explored include: the regulations and law at both European and national level, and what cities are able to do around innovative procurement; how to analyse procurement spend and develop a procurement strategy; the use of social criteria and environmental criteria in procurement; and how to raise awareness of procurement amongst local businesses and SMEs.

    Driving innovation in public procurement
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  • Here Come the JobTowns

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    JobTown 2 is about youth employment in Europe.


    More specifically, it’s a mutual support network of local authorities, across Europe, who are all committed to implementing local strategies in support of youth employment and opportunity. In all the participating JobTowns, these efforts are part of a broader integrated approach to local development and inclusion.

    Unsurprisingly, the idea for something called ‘JobTown 2’ stems from a previous something called ‘JobTown’ — an URBACT Action Planning Network. The first JobTown developed a set of Local Action Plans that enjoyed a particularly high degree of implementation and follow up.

    So much so that when URBACT proposed a new type of network, based not on planning, but on implementing (labelled ‘Implementation Networks’) a group of JobTown partners said ‘that was good for us, let’s do more’.

    The JobTowns:

    Thurrock, is a borough in Essex, UK, and one of the original partners. They are working to help their young people get the new types of jobs that are being created in what is a fast changing local labour market; too many young people in Thurrock have low levels of educational attainment and lack the skills they need to get the jobs that are available in the area.

    Thurrock has done a lot to build public-private partnerships feeding into education and training to avoid mismatch between labour market supply and demand locally, and they are committed to doing more. So they’ve taken the helm as Lead Partner, and together with the Lead Expert, Ian Goldring, put together a new partnership.

    Wanting to build on what had already been achieved while also keeping things fresh, we put together a like-minded partnership, that’s a mix of old and new:

    Alba Iulia, in the Romanian region of Transylvania. Alba Iulia is going to become an ERDF Managing Authority and an Integrated Strategy for Urban Development (ISUD) Intermediate Body Managing Authority. So they need to gear up their capacity to manage integrated urban strategies.

    Too many young people are leaving Alba Iulia, where young people endure high levels of unemployment, Not in Education, Employement or Training (NEET) situations and poverty, or risk thereof.

    The city wants to be better at supporting local business creation and at attracting businesses to the city.

    – The Bologna Metropolitan administration, in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy is an ESF Intermediate Body whose Strategic Metropolitan Plan emphasises the importance of tackling youth unemployment. The holistic approach includes reducing early school leaving, improving the attractiveness of Vocational and Technical education streams, and better coordinating employers, public services and providers of education and training to reduce mismatch of skills supply and demand on a local labour market striving to re-launch itself from a context of austerity and shrinkage.

    Kielce, capital city of the Świętokrzyskie region, in south central Poland and partner in the first JobTown, is also a city where too many young people feel the need to leave to seek better opportunities elsewhere.

    The city is an intermediary Institution implementing large-scale Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI). Strategic objectives include improving the quality and variety of educational offer, better matching said offer to labour market demand, building better systems of local labour market needs analysis on top of strengthened public-private partnership, better supporting young entrepreneurs and start ups and better attracting business to set up and invest in the city.

    Leoben, in central Austria’s Styrian region, is strong on metal, so to speak. The town has a long tradition and built up know how in extracting the resources that make metal and steel and designing and making things out of the stuff (industrial engineering etc.). Young people who want to do something else leave.

    Leoben is committed to a long-term strategy of diversification of labour market and educational offer, of stimulating entrepreneurship and creativity, of improving liveability, quality of life and environmental standards – all with a view to increasing Leoben’s capacity to attract and retain young people.

    Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital city, is using this network to support the implementation of its 2016-2025 Strategy for Youth.  This integrated strategy includes the rolling out of the ‘Cool Job’ job placement programmes and the upskilling of trainers, NGOs and employment services to better attend to the specific needs of young job seekers. The strategy aims to strengthen local Youth Work and the administration’s partnerships with private sector employers, as two keys to better implementation of youth employment policy.

    Nagykálló, in eastern Hungary, was also a partner in the first JobTown. Nagykálló too is a community losing its young people – who leave seeking employment in Hungarian cities with more dynamic job markets or emigrate abroad – such that demographic aging is putting the long-term viability of the community in question. Nagykálló is developing dual education and apprenticeship programmes nut needs to develop public-private partnerships to implement these initiatives successfully. Likewise labour market analysis and cooperation with local employers needs to be greatly improved, to better understand real labour market requirements and to provide better career guidance to young people about their options. The town is complementing these employment-centric efforts with a drive to improve liveability, quality of life and environmental characteristics of the town, to enhance its capacity to retain young people and attract young families.

    The above partnership was assembled through a careful vetting process; we wanted local administrations for whom youth employment and opportunity was a significant issue and who had all developed strategies and policy tools addressing this issue in both the long and short-term. In some cases cities were first approached via existing informal contacts, in others we were helped to reach out to potential partners by the URBACT National Points.

    So now what?

    URBACT Implementation networks have 2 phases, a 6-month Development Phase and a 24-month Implementation Phase. We will use the rest of the first Phase to agree and prioritise the main policy challenges we will tackle together and lay out plans for a series of Capacity Building Workshops themed around each of the shared priorities. While not finalised, these priorities can be expected to include things like:

    – Strengthening public-private partnerships. This comes as something of a no brainer for a network about employment; obviously private sector employers are key, both to employment and to gathering information to reduce mismatch between labour market skills demand and supply.

    – Moving from strategy to operational action-plan, is emerging as a key challenge, as together we look at how we are actually going to carry out these things we have committed to doing.

    Involvement and consultation of stakeholders brings up specific challenges for a youth employment project, as unlike more institutional actors (e.g. employers associations, universities etc.) young people who are lacking opportunity, unemployed or at risk of unemployment rarely have any existing means or developed skills or inclination to represent and lobby public administrations and advocate their collective interests – all the less so when considering disengaged and NEET-situation youth.

    Over the rest of Phase 1, the Lead Expert will conduct a series of investigative visits in each partner locality to prepare a Baseline study, setting out the initial situation of each partner and their main challenges in implementing the youth employment strategies they are each committed to. This phase will wrap up in a final meeting where the partners will together agree, among the issues and challenges identified, which are most important for them.

    Those issues that are agreed as key shared challenges to the group will become sub-themes to the larger issue of local approaches to tackling youth unemployment. Intensive capacity building workshops will be planned around each theme, spaced out over Phase 2. These transnational events will be followed up by ‘Knowledge Transfer Workshops’ (KTW) in each locality, whereby Workshop participants will experiment with approaches to embedding this learning into their organization as a whole.

    The effectiveness of these KTWs will be monitored to understand better what works in what context, to achieve the kind of broader organisational learning being sought. The resultant learning regarding the effectiveness and how to of knowledge transfer from European-funded projects is built into JobTown 2 as an additional added value.

    In parallel to the agreement of shared capacity building priorities, the partners will articulate concretely what they expect to achieve and when, over the project lifecycle. A set of indicators will be derived for each partner, and for the project as a whole, with which to monitor success and completion of expected results.

    Stay tuned!

    From urbact
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  • The importance of procurement to city economies

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    This article explores why procurement is increasingly being seen as a way of addressing some of the economic, social and environmental issues facing our cities. It does this through reflecting on: the legislative framework for procurement; the activities of the Procure network; the importance of understanding where procurement spend goes; and how social considerations can be more effectively embedded into procurement processes.

    Local Economic Development


    The process of purchasing goods and services (procurement) has historically been seen as a bit of a challenge for municipalities and other institutions within our cities, especially when it comes to linking it to the achievement of wider local economic, social and environmental benefits. The process of procurement can and has been seen as bureaucratic, legally complex, isolated from other functions in municipalities, difficult to engage with for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and extremely competitive.
    However, that perception and culture is in a time of change – procurement is suddenly seen as one of the key levers cities have at their disposal to stimulate local economic development and address social and environmental issues.  I have been talking about the importance of procurement in contributing towards wider outcomes for the last ten years. Indeed Manchester City Council in the UK, with whom I have been working with for the last 8 years, have seen levels of procurement spend with Manchester based business and organisations increase from 51.5% in 2008 to 73.6% in 2016 (see chart below); together with an array of wider benefits delivered by the supply chain. 
    Business and organisations increase, Manchester, United Kingdom, 2008 - 2016
    There are also sporadic elements of good practice across Europe. We are now however moving towards procurement being part of mainstream policy around the Urban Agenda for the EU. Indeed procurement is a specific theme of the emerging Urban Innovation Partnerships and a theme which cuts across other aspects including around economic development and poverty. 
    Part of this mainstreaming of procurement has been driven by legislation and particularly the 2014 European Procurement Directives. Previously and rightly, the Directives were framed by the importance of compliance, competitiveness and price in procurement processes, decisions, and the delivery of goods and services. This remains in the new Directives, but is importantly supplemented by three key considerations:
    • First, the Directives seek to encourage more flexibility in procurement – this includes the ability to engage with potential suppliers before a good or service goes to the market;
    • Second, the Directives seek to enhance the engagement of SMEs in the procurement process – making them more aware of opportunities, encouraging them to bid, and ultimately winning contracts;
    • Third, the Directives actively encourage purchasers to consider how procurement can be used to address wider social and environmental goals.
    The Procure network
    This mainstreaming of the importance of procurement in part framed the development of the Procure network as part of the URBACT III Programme. Led by Preston City Council from the UK, we felt that there was a real opportunity to think through how the process of procurement could be undertaken differently in cities so that the benefits it brings for local economies, business and residents could be maximised. 
    Importantly, the Procure network is not just focused upon the procurement processes adopted by municipalities. Instead, the network and particularly the URBACT Local Groups (ULGs) also include institutions which we are defining as ‘anchor institutions’ (this includes universities, health organisations, housing organisations, and large businesses). These are organisations across the public, commercial and social sectors which: will have a large number of jobs; will spend a lot of money purchasing goods and services; and which are unlikely to leave that locality as result of their scale or because of the fact they are embedded there.   
    Over the course of the two years of the Procure network we are seeking to encourage our cities to understand:
    • How the European Procurement Directives and associated national level law influences the design of goods and services and their procurement;
    • Where their existing spend goes – the extent to which it is in their local economies, with particular sectors of business, and with SMEs;
    • How they can be innovative in procurement and particularly how social and environmental criteria can be embedded in the process;
    • How SMEs can be engaged in the process and supported to bid for opportunities;
    • How the impact of procurement spend and its contribution to wider outcomes can be measured and monitored.
    Our network is however not starting from nothing – the baseline study suggested that each of the cities had at least started on the process of progressing how they undertake procurement, the key is maximising that through the transnational meetings, the activities of the ULGs, and the development of the Integrated Action Plans (IAPs).
    Some examples include:
    • Preston (UK) has measured where the procurement spend of their anchor institutions goes in geographical and sectoral terms;
    • Albacete (Spain) has started to link procurement to job creation through including clauses in contracts around creating employment opportunities;
    • Almelo (Netherlands) are working with business networks to develop the skills and capabilities of SMEs to enable them to bid for procurement opportunities;
    • Koszalin (Poland) have linked what they want to achieve through procurement to the priorities of their Development Strategy;
    • Lublin (Poland) has a dedicated procurement office and procurement plan which gives potential suppliers notice of upcoming opportunities;
    • Candelaria (Spain) look to co-design goods and services with residents of the city through community panels and prior to any procurement process being undertaken;
    • The Metropolitan City of Bologna (Italy) has been innovative in procurement through actively considering green issues, social responsibility and the role of SMEs in contracting;
    • Koprivnica (Croatia) is seeking to encourage SMEs to bid for opportunities by reducing the number of quotes required for tenders below 20,000 Euros;
    • Nagykallo (Hungary) have engaged with businesses prior to procurement to make them aware of opportunities;
    • District 9, Prague (Czech Republic) advertises all procurement opportunities on the municipality website;
    • Satu Mare (Romania) are undertaking some lotting of procurement opportunities to encourage smaller businesses to bid. 
    The importance of spend analysis

    Central to the activities of the Procure network to date has been setting the context for the Integrated Action Plans. Prior to cities doing any work around maximising the impact of procurement through social and environmental criteria and through the engagement of SMEs, they need to understand three contextual factors. First, they need to understand the legislative framework in which the action plan is being developed – this encompasses European and National level law and local level policy. Second, they need to understand the ways in which they can be innovative in procurement and what they can do around local economic, social and environmental issues. And third, they need to understand their existing position in terms of where their spend goes.

    As emphasised in the URBACT method for action planning evidence is crucial to the development of any strategy.  If cities are serious about progressing the way in which they undertake procurement and they want it to reap more benefits in local economic, social and environmental terms then they need to understand the existing nature of their spend and where it goes. Spend analysis is best undertaken at the end of a financial year and existing data can be used and added to in order to identify the following:
    • The geography of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of their suppliers and the proportion of their spend which is with businesses and organisations based in their municipality boundary; in their wider city-region or region; or/and in their country. They might also be interested in the proportion of spend which is leaking out of their municipality boundary or city-region.
    • The sectors of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of spend which is with organisations in the construction or communications sector, for example or with consultants. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the sectors where there is lots of spend in their municipality or city-region; and in turn the sectors where there is leakage out of the local economy and gaps (sectors where there is very little local spend).  
    • The nature of spend - In this they might be interested in the proportion of their spend which is with SMEs or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), for example. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the extent to which suppliers based in the municipality or city-region are SMEs or NGOs.
    • Sharing this data with local stakeholders in accessible ways, for instance with infographics, helps to increase understanding of the impact of public expenditure, and generate better awareness of procurement as a tool to achieve policy goals. 
    Maximising benefit through procurement
    All of our partner cities are currently in the process of undertaking their spend analysis and setting the wider context for their Integrated Action Plans. Once done on this we will start to scope how they can embed social criteria into procurement processes and really start to maximise benefit through procurement. There are a number of ways of doing this including:
    • Commissioning – in the design of goods and services, anchor institutions can ask potential suppliers to develop products which address particular outcomes such as reducing crime;
    • Tender process – in the tender process, anchor institutions can set percentages of the selection decision which will be assigned to social considerations, for example 10% and then ask potential suppliers questions around these criteria;
    • Tender decision – in the decision, anchor institutions can score against social considerations;
    • Monitoring – anchor institutions can monitor the extent to which suppliers are delivering against social considerations. 
    The Procure network partner cities are not the only ones undertaking work around promoting the importance of procurement to city economies, but it does need to be scaled up. In fact, we believe progressive procurement activity should be at the forefront of all policy activities where economic, social and environmental factors are of key importance. This includes the delivery of infrastructure projects, the spend of anchor institutions, and the delivery of projects including the URBACT Implementation Networks. It is potentially one of the most powerful, but perhaps under used tools to achieve an integrated approach.  
    Over the course of the two years of the network, we will look to change practice around the process of procurement in our 11 cities, and to contribute to examples and proof of concept to share with other cities. It must be noted however that behaviour change across Europe will take much longer to ensure that the importance of procurement to city economies is realised. 
    From urbact
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  • OP-ACT


    Project launch
    Project completed

    Options of actions - strategic positioning of small and medium sized cities
    Demographic change, advanced de-industrialization and the current financial crisis together with the linked danger of job losses pose specific challenges for small and medium size cities.

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