Latest Ready for Business Newsletter

Posted in: General News

This is the second e-newsletter of 2014 from the team at Ready for Business. We will continue to keep you up to date about the progress of the Developing Markets programme and other interesting news around commissioning and procurement.

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New EU Procurement Directive

As regular readers will be aware The European Parliament has approved a new set of procurement rules that will have a major impact on third sector providers with the potential to improve the way the public sector in Scotland does business. Key elements of this legislation which are particularly relevant to the third sector are set out in our January newsletter.   Member States will have two years to implement the directives into national law.

The Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in welcoming the decision by European Ministers to simplify public procurement and to improve access to public contracts for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), has announced there will be a consultation this Summer on options arising from the new procurement rules.  The aim is to bring forward new regulations next year, well ahead of the deadline set by the EU.

The consultation is expected to be undertaken in the same spirit of partnership and cooperation with the third sector and with industry which led to the development of the Scottish Model of Procurement. In promoting this consultation The Deputy First Minister is confident that, “the legislation agreed by European Ministers will provide Scotland with numerous policy choices to create a procurement framework that is right for Scotland, giving greater opportunity to Scottish businesses and ensuring that public contracts are better able to support sustainable and socially and environmentally responsible firms.”

See here for the Press Release

New Procurement Opportunity created by North Ayrshire Council

North Ayrshire Council is committed to increasing opportunities for Third Sector Organisations.  To assist in the inclusion of “relevant and proportionate Third Sector targets within Community Benefits clauses” the Council is creating a Third Sector Procurement Register.

The Register will not be restricted to Third Sector Organisations based in North Ayrshire.  However it will be restricted to Third Sector Organisations which can provide services, supply goods or carry our works within North Ayrshire.

Any Third Sector organisation interested in being included in this register is asked to complete a questionnaire hosted on Public Contracts Scotland.  The information provided will enable the Council  to compile a Third Sector Procurement Register which will:

  • identify the availability of Third Sector Organisations whilst carrying out Quick Quotes through Public Contracts Scotland;
  • enable the Council to identify areas where appropriate third sector organisations exist and include relevant and proportionate Community Benefits clauses in contracts;
  • where appropriate be made available to applicants tendering for North Ayrshire contracts.

See here link to register

Public Social Partnerships (PSPs)

Rob Strachan, Chief Officer of Lothian and Borders Community Justice Authority (in the March issue of Scottish Justice Matters) extolled the virtues of PSPs citing Low Moss PSP as an example: “I am excited by the possibilities that PSPs offer for the future in the search for a mechanism which enables meaningful engagement with the third sector in the design and delivery of public services at local and national levels”.  For him this is a meaningful mechanism for local partnerships, providing an alternative to  “public sector protectionism, running counter to the recommendations of the Christie Commission, or market creation and a payment by results model for public services”.  He argues that there is a distinct lack of appetite in Scotland for either of the alternative latter scenarios.

Read the full article (see page 32)

Scotland leading the way – the ‘Scottish Model’ of Social Entrepreneurship

The Finance and Sustainable Growth Secretary, John Swinney, has long been an advocate Scotland’s lead role in promoting social enterprise at an international level.  Last year he spoke at the global Social Enterprise Exchange in Glasgow.  This February, he was a key note speaker at the Ferd conference on Social Entrepreneurship in Oslo, and will be represented in Korea at the Social Enterprise World Forum in October. The following is an extract from his speech in Oslo:

“We believe that an enterprising third sector is a vital partner in our economy, in civic society and in the creation of a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. That is why we have invested heavily to help the sector develop – but it’s not just about money – it’s about support at every level. We need to ensure strategy, policy, legislation, infrastructure and direct investment is joined up and makes sense. It’s this holistic support for social enterprise and the third sector at every level that is distinctive about our approach – and that is delivering real results here in Scotland.”

Other participants at the conference were Gerry Higgins, CEO of Community Enterprise in Scotland and Founder and Director of Social Enterprise World Forum, and  Fraser Kelly, a leading member of the Supporting Social Enterprise Alliance which comprises Social Enterprise Scotland, Social Firms Scotland and Senscot:

  • “Scotland has the most comprehensive policy framework for social enterprise in the world. This has helped create a comprehensive and effective ecosystem of support for social enterprise that can be considered world-leading.” Gerry Higgins
  • “Operating across every business sector, and throughout the length and breadth of Scotland, social enterprise is already making a significant contribution to Scotland’s economy whilst helping in the creation of a more socially just country”. Fraser Kelly

See here for the Press Release

Last call – your chance to have your say

The ‘Sustainable Commissioning/Procurement and the Third Sector’ survey is still live.  But hurry if you want to shape the forthcoming support available to Scotland’s public sector.

So far there have been 193 responses, with over two thirds coming from public sector staff with a specific commissioning or procurement remit.  Over a half of respondents are based in local authorities, a third in Government/Executive Agencies/NDPBs, a twelfth in the NHS, and a few folk from the university/college sector.  Over half of respondents serve a specific local authority or health board area, just under a fifth a number of such areas, and a quarter Scotland as a whole; with over a third operating in either Care and Social Work or Corporate services.

There is a lot of valuable information coming out of this survey which will inform responses by the Ready for Business consortium to the current debate around support required to support sustainable procurement of public services delivered by the third sector.  Responses to this survey will be compared with the previous survey in 2012 – “Embedding Social Value through Sustainable Procurement”.  The following are a few initial headline findings:

  • Over two thirds of respondents from the public sector say they have in-depth knowledge or are reasonably informed about the third sector/social enterprise sector with almost 50% belong to agencies with a strategic approach to contracting the third sector
  • 98% are knowledgeable about CBC clauses, with a quarter being aware of examples of third sector organisations directly benefitting from the use of a CBC
  • Just over a quarter say that they always attempt to identify and value outcomes when commissioning or buying goods and services, with a further 57% often or sometimes undertaking this approach to commissioning/procurement
  • Partly as a result of more PSPs being set up over three quarters of respondents are now aware of PSPs with 16 having personally participated in a PSP in the last 12 months

If you’ve not taken part in this survey, you have a few more days to feed in your comments.

See here the link to survey.

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