2 July 2018

With the Good Ship Public Procurement seriously holed post-Carillion, the Government has sought to rescue it by launching a raft of new measures.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has announced that the Government will seek to “build a diverse, vibrant marketplace of different suppliers — which take into account wider social values, as well as cost”.

The new approach will make it easier for small businesses, mutuals, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises to take on government contracts.

It will also see requirements in the Social Value Act 2013 extended so that all major procurements — where appropriate — explicitly “evaluate” social value rather than just “consider” it, as at present.

That, the Government argues, will ensure that contracts are awarded not only on the basis of value for money, but also on the values espoused by a company or organisation.

The new measures will extend the requirements of the 2013 Act to level the playing field for mutuals, co-operatives and social enterprises bidding to win government contracts.

In addition, the Government is to challenge its major suppliers to do better on equality and diversity by requiring them to publish data and provide action plans for how they plan to address key social issues and disparities, including ethnic minority representation, gender pay and modern slavery.

Also on the Minister’s to-do list is greater transparency for major contracts, with companies required to publish key performance indicators (KPIs), while those responsible for procurement are to be given more training and suppliers will benefit from enhanced measures to protect them from cyber attacks.

And, finally, Mr Lidington wants to see key suppliers obliged to develop “living wills” to allow any contingency plans required to be deployed as rapidly as possible.