POINT (22.89 47.79)
  • 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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  • Urbact Interactive Cities Transnational Meeting Murcia – Part Two

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    The article picks up where we left off in the previous article, which you can read here: Urbact Interactive Cities Transnational Meeting Murcia – Part One

    Day two – morning

    The Workshop on Teambuilding and Optimizing Human Resources was followed by a second workshop, presented to us by Nacho Tomás, Managing Director of N7 (digital communication and marketing) approaching the digital communication and digital communication tools form the public administration’s point of view, targeting citizens as receivers and end-users of the “message” being launched, and taking into account the desirability of reciprocity and dialogue.

    Abandoned Spaces

    Digital communication in our personal lives has far outpaced the way we communicate in the workplace and in work-related surroundings, so citizens are now demanding better communication tools and more “access”, communication wise, to their public institutions. To expect citizens to work any other (traditional) way is a massively missed opportunity or any public entity to establish a meaningful dialogue with its audience.

    It allows us to have access to a local citizen pool that can connect across neighbourhoods, languages, classes, generations, etc. and the opportunities to connect authentically, as you would in person, using the latest in technology and following user trends, which is where choosing the right tools for your organization can be a difficult and even frustrating process. Considering the sheer number of apps coming to market every week, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for your communication needs, and the ones you do choose, may not work as expected as time goes on.

    During the workshop we addressed topics such as corporate identity and how to relay that identity via digital communication channels, as well as defining the communication objectives of an organization, and how to choose the adequate tools. Where do we communicate? When do we communicate? How to manage a communication crisis? Etc.

    Also when it comes to advertising, as was established in the session, advertisement is important because 1) not everyone know how to find you or which channels they have at their disposition for following or contacting you, and 2) the greater the impact, the more your message gests out there. New social media networks  come out every week, most of which will never gain any sort of traction, which is why logic dictates, it’s best to start with the most popular platforms, and once you have a calendar and steady impacts up and running, you can try and establish experimental campaigns.

    Day two – afternoon

    In the afternoon sessions we focussed of joint network activities, planning and outlining specific actions, coordinating efforts and making sure the administrative part of the project is on track and meets all outset requirements, as well as a review of the documentation that remains to be submitted to the lead partner.

    We started with a joined session, where all partners were present in their full capacity, and attended an outline of the communication activities until May 2018, which had to be planned carefully as to maximise impact, as well as obtain a homogeneous distribution, not allowing for gaps in the outward projection of the network, e.g. publications. The session was prepared by our lead partner and relied on specific input the partners have provided previously to the transnational meeting.

    After this global communication session, the attendees split into two working groups, the Steering Committee, headed by the lead partner formed an advisory committee to provide guidance on key issues such as policy and objectives, budgetary control and allocation, and decisions involving strategy. The impact of the steering committee on project performance and their role in assuring compliance with the submitted and approved project, as well as the rules and guidelines for e.g. spending and communication, ULGs, deliverables, etc. creates value for the project management capabilities on a local level, and playing an important role in the selection, initiation, definition, and control of the project. As on the organizational level, it is of vital importance to implement and maintain project management standards.

    The sessions with expert input addressed specific questions and debates ensued, which in turn ensured participation and feed-back, of the project in itself, the specific sub-themes and individual cases of the network partners. This was followed by a series of conclusions, an clarification and further details as to the tasks at hand that are to be completed before the final meeting in Genoa. As such a timeline was established, in both sessions, one for compliance with the project, and another for the deliverables of our Integrated Action Plans.

    Day three – morning

    The third and last day of the Urbact Interactive Cities Network Transnational Meeting started in City Hall, where we had a practical session about Dynamic Feedback & Expert Response to Digital Tools for Citizen Engagement, a peer review based model where active participation of all attendees was expected and encouraged. The working title “Online Platforms for Citizen Participation and Transparency” might strike as ambiguous, but soon it became clear what we were dealing with and what the key-objectives of the platform are.

    Murcia City Hall is developing, within the City Strategy Murcia 2020 and the Murcia Smart City Initiative “MiMurcia” a new outline for the official web-page of Murcia City Hall, with all its departments, services, etc. this includes citizen engagement and participation (direct links to the citizen participation platform and the transparency portal), and providing the mean to access relevant and desired information on behalf of said citizens. This is why Murcia, working with Everis, has engaged in modernizing and updating the most basic access portal any institution may have, the official web-page. The session addressed the analysis of user handling and engagement of the webpage that is being created, concentrate on specific aspects as responsive web design, dynamic changes and usable experience across devices.

    The Urbact Interactive Cities members were engaged in an interactive and dynamic exercise where they were asked to form teams and put themselves in the shoes of specific predetermined citizens, e.g. Maribel – a 50-year-old saleswoman in a local business who works long days and takes care of her parents –, Pepe – a 45-year-old former salesman, who is currently unemployed and who needs either a job, or additional training/recycling to obtain one –, etc. and were asked to map their interests considering the premise “What can the city do to meet the needs of the citizens through the use of digital media?” through Individual ideation, Collective categorization of ideas, Selection and further development of one idea and the subsequent presentation.

    Afterwards the main part of the group went on the last presentation and site visit, although unfortunately some attendees had to leave due to travel connections. The last presentation of the meeting was about European Projects, and European Networks, focussing on the underlying philosophy of the projects we prepare and participate in, one of the main conclusions was that “size doesn`t matter”, the participation in European programmes, as a partner or a lead partner, is not limited by the number of inhabitants of a municipality, and great things can be achieved in small places.

    The following site-visit showed the use of local identity as a differentiator in key aspects ranging from communication, economy, tourism, etc. to the distinct link with other municipalities that share certain identity traits, which, if handled and exploited correctly, lays the groundwork for network creating and international collaboration.


    After three days of intense work in meetings, working sessions, expert interventions, site-visits and presentations, we concluded the Urbact Interactive Cities Transnational Meeting in Murcia. We can only hope our guest have enjoyed as much, learnt as much, and progressed in their IAPs and project deliverables as much as we have.

    One of the key-values Urbact brings to any city that participates in an Urbact Network, is not only the urbact method, funding, expertise and support, it is the people we get to connect with, bringing 10 cities closer together, and having us understand we, as a city, are not alone in the problems, difficulties and challenges we face on a daily basis, but that there are colleagues and partners working on these same issues, which Urbact converts in a learning and improving experience for all participants.

    Following the saying commonly employed by the European Union: "shared problems, joint solutions and collective achievements", programmes like Urbact and project like Interactive Cities, will prepare our cities to face the challenges of tomorrow.


    Kasper van Hout

    Urbact Interactive Cities Murcia

    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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