Firms would have to provide training and apprenticeships if they win major public sector contracts, under proposals by the Scottish Government.
Public sector bodies, such as councils and the health service, spent more than £9 billion on goods and services in 2010-11. When spending on social housing and other investment in infrastructure is included, the total could be nearer £11 billion a year.
Now Holyrood ministers propose legislation which they say aims to ensure such spending offers the maximum benefit for the country’s economy.
A consultation on the Procurement Reform Bill explores the possibility of substantially increasing the use of community benefit clauses in larger-value contracts. This could mean more contracts requiring firms to provide training, apprenticeships or opportunities for disabled people and long-term unemployed.
Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil said: “This Bill will mean that money works as hard as it can for our economy. That will include producing more training opportunities, for example through making apprenticeships an integral part of major public contracts.
“That is why this Bill will drive procurement reform further forward by embedding good policy, systems and practice in legislation to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits.”
The Scottish Government has “achieved much already in improving the way the procurement system operates in Scotland,” Mr Neil said.
“There is still room for further improvem ent to ensure taxpayers’ money is used to best effect.
“More effective and efficient public services will play a key economic and social role in Scotland’s future, and public procurement is an important lever for change.”
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