True value

Think tank: Localis

Author(s): Callin McLinden

December 7, 2021

This report from UK think tank Localis looks at a move towards ethical public service commissioning.

Public procurement and outsourcing have great potential when managed well, with the volume of public sector spend across the country creating many opportunitites to advance strategic economic goals. Unfortunately, for decades, successive governments have been unable to tap systematically into this potential. Now, free of the EU rulebook, with reforms on the way and a newfound appreciation of procurement’s strategic power post-pandemic, the practice finds itself at its most interesting yet precarious pivot point in decades. What is to be made of this potential – and what are the implications for ‘levelling up’? ‘True Value – towards ethical public service commissioning’ explores how the public, private, and third sector can deliver for communities through a more socially conscious approach to public procurement. The report investigates procurement’s recent history, Brexit implications, an increasing recognition of its strategic power, and the government’s Green Paper and ongoing procurement reform agenda. It makes the case for social procurement that is underpinned by conscious ethics, social value, climate impact, and circular economics.