Government contracts to go 'good' companies

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has issued a proclamation that businesses wanting to secure government contracts will need to show that they can also improve society, such as helping address modern slavery or climate change.

During the Social Value Summit, the Government launched a shake-up of the way government contracts are awarded to make sure they consider their social impact – by looking at areas such as the employment of disabled people, the use of small businesses, the prevention of modern slavery and the protection of the environment.

Speaking ahead of the summit, David Lidington MP said: “Every year, the government spends £49bn with external organisations and it is morally right that we make sure none of that money goes to any organisations who profit from the evil practices of modern slavery. Similarly, it is right that we demand that the organisations we work with meet the high standards we need to protect our environment and employ workforces which represent our diverse society, including people with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities.”

The Government is hoping that as well as increasing participation of companies aligned to the Government’s agenda, the processes will encourage social enterprises and organisations well placed to deliver social outcomes to engage with government contracts.

Areas which will be now looked at when contracts are being drawn up by the government will include:
• the use of firms of all sizes, including those owned by under-represented groups
• the safety of supply chains - to reduce the risks
• encouraging firms to employ people from diverse backgrounds
• focusing on environmental sustainability to reduce the impacts of climate change
• encouraging firms to prioritise staff training

A twelve-week public consultation will be held on the proposals, to seek feedback from suppliers, public bodies and members of the public to address issues such as fairness of opportunity, measurement and definitions.

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