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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Civil society groups demand ethical procurement laws

This news post is about 9 years old

Rules need to tackle tax dodging, blacklisting and climate change, according to a coalition of civil society coalitions

New public procurement rules in Scotland should focus on making sure no blacklisting, tax avoiding or low wage employer should get near a public contract.

International development charities, environmental groups, voluntary organisations and trade unions joined together today (Thursday) to demand that Scotland’s annual procurement spend of around £10 billion should promote key sustainable and ethical policy objectives.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Network Of International Development Organisations In Scotland (Nidos), the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) published 10 updated priorities for forthcoming new procurement regulations and guidance.

Alistair Dutton, director of Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf), a member of Nidos and SCCS, said: “Our coalitions are urging the Scottish Government to ensure the strongest possible new procurement regulations and guidance.

“The public does not want irresponsible companies to be awarded public contracts.

The public does not want irresponsible companies to be awarded public contracts

“We need to ensure that public money is used to build a strong, healthy and just society, that protects the environment and recognises the positive effects procurement can have for people living beyond our borders.”

The five coalitions are responding to a Scottish Government consultation on changes to public procurement rules which will see new regulations and guidance that implement changes from new European Directives and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “During discussions over the procurement reform bill, the then deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a number of commitments in respect of our priorities, including a specific commitment to publish guidance on the living wage.

“It is essential that the Scottish Government now advances its Fair Work agenda by removing bad employers from the procurement process. No blacklisting, tax avoiding or low wage employer should get near a public contract.”

The 10 asks also include action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improved protections for workers, such as ending zero hours contracts, ethical and fair trading policies all down the procurement supply chain and raising standards in health and social care.

John Downie, director of public affairs at SCVO, said: “Public bodies’ procurement strategies should spell out the high standards expected of contractors.

“It is particularly important to drive up standards in services for vulnerable people, where quality is so important but we have too often seen a ‘race to the bottom’.

“These 10 asks provide a framework for embedding sustainable and ethical considerations at the heart of the procurement process.”