Today, the Scottish Parliament votes on the final stage of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill. This important legislation will govern how around £9 billion is spent on public sector goods and services each year.
Strong legislation, regulation and guidance on sustainable and ethical procurement criteria has the potential to help Scotland’s public authorities make a positive difference to our local communities and the wider world.
Following the SNP’s 2011 manifesto promise of a sustainable procurement bill, many organisations campaigning for environmental and social justice had hoped for legislation with far-reaching ambition that would see Scotland set the highest possible standards for ethical and sustainable procurement.
While the Scottish Government has regularly stated its commitment to putting sustainability at the heart of procurement, the bill as it stands today does not go far enough.
During the consultation and legislative process, a number of Scotland’s leading civil society organisations prepared ten key suggestions that would strengthen the bill’s social and environmental credentials.
They highlighted that the bill provides an opportunity to make progress in important policy areas, including the living wage, cracking down on tax-dodging and human rights abuses by business and reinforcing the need for action to meet our climate emission reduction targets. Amendments have been put forward by MSPs from across the political spectrum which could help to realise these goals.
It is not too late for the Scottish Government to show real ambition and leadership, and accept amendments which could make the procurement bill live up to its original promise of sustainability rather than simply reform.
Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
Head of Communications & Education, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
Director of Public Affairs, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
Head of Christian Aid Scotland
Director, Transform Scotland
Head of Oxfam Scotland
NUS Scotland President
Director, Scottish Fair Trade Forum
Executive Director, Nourish Scotland
General Secretary, Scottish Trades Union Congress
Unison Scottish Organiser