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Policies & Regulations- Procuring the Future
|Procuring the Future- Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan (DEFRA, 2006)|
The UK public sector spend in excess of £170bn per annum on goods, services and works; a figure that equates to approximately 13% of the UK GDP. Accordingly it has been recognised that public sector procurement can make a significant contribution to delivery sustainable development within the UK, and stimulate the market for more sustainable goods and services.
In the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy 2005, the Government set the goal for the UK to be a leader, within the EU, in sustainable procurement in 2009. The UK has been recognised as being proactive in this field but more work still needs to be done. Procuring the Future – the UK’s sustainable procurement national action plan – published in 2006, builds on this goal, with six key recommendations.
(i) For the Government to lead by example in a coherent and cohesive manner.
(ii) For the Government to set clear priorities by rationalising existing, and sometimes conflicting, policies.
(iii) To raise the bar to raise the performance of buying and selling organisations and of the products and services procured, and to signal to the marketplace future requirements. Accordingly, this will mean working with suppliers to identify future needs that do not meet the minimum standards.
(iv) For the public sector to build capacity to deliver sustainable procurement, measured and monitored through the Flexible Framework.
(v) For the Government to remove barriers, whether these are actual or perceived, to sustainable procurement.
(vi) To capture opportunities for encouraging innovation and social benefits, together with managing risk better through smarter market engagement.
The action plan reports on the background to the recommendations, as well as detailing actions to move the recommendations forward.
The action plan recommends the use of the Flexible Framework (p68 of the document which details five categories, at five levels and the criteria for each level. Action Sustainability (www.actionsustainability.com) provide an on-line self-assessment tool for organisations to assess where they are on the Flexible Framework matrix.