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BUYDIS – Equality and Diversity in Employment through Public Procurement

PRESENTATION

Public procurement, particularly the purchasing power that public entities exert on their suppliers of goods and services, can serve as an important tool to foster social change.  “Social clauses” are used by many public entities, mostly in the context of social inclusion, obliging contractors to employ persons who are in a disadvantaged position on the labour market, for example disabled persons.  But what if, instead of using procurement to facilitate labour market insertion, procurement is used to combat what is perceived as a major obstacle to employment for vulnerable groups, namely discrimination?

This 12-month project, supported financially and politically by the French Ministry of the Interior, seeks to identify and experiment anti-discrimination clauses in public contracts passed by local authorities.

The project is led by ISM CORUM and benefits from the anti-discrimination expertise of MPG. It involves the cities of Lyon and Nantes.

The project includes the following activities:

  • Comparative analysis of present opportunities for inserting non-discrimination clauses in public contracts, including:
    • the different legal, political and administrative contexts at national level
    • existing practices in the participating cities regarding social clauses
    • the volume and type of public contracts entered into by participating cities
    • defining the possibilities for implementing anti-discrimination clauses.
  • Development of a training kit.
  • One-day training session for participating city councils.
  • Development of benchmarks and indicators.
  • Development of a toolkit for using non-discrimination clauses.
  • Development of a protocol for experimenting non-discrimination clauses.

BUYDIS – Equality and Diversity in Employment through Public Procurement WORK IN CONTEXT

New Public Procurement Directives – Good News for Immigrant Integration?

On Friday 15th January the European Parliament approved the new EU Public Procurement Directives, paving the way for their formal adoption by the Council of Ministers in the near future.

The new Directives represent a major overhaul of the procurement rules across the EU.  With Member States spending 18% of GDP on procuring goods, services and works, will the changes have an impact on immigrant integration?

The main aim of the EU Procurement Directives has always been to help public bodies get the best value for money by opening up tenders to competition from all over the EU.  The detailed rules and procedures put in place to achieve this goal favour bids that bring the most economic benefits and make it difficult for public bodies to take due account of the social benefits that could be achieved, such as providing equal employment opportunities for migrants.  In addition, the administrative burden placed on tendering companies puts small immigrant-owned businesses at a disadvantage, meaning that they are particularly under-represented among suppliers of public contracts (a more detailed analysis is available in the EWSI Integration Dossier on Public Procurement, authored by MPG).

DELI_summaryThe new rules have the potential to change this.  Firstly, they allow public bodies to take into account social aspects of the process of production or provision of the goods or services when awarding contracts, for example the employment conditions of workers performing the contract.  This is good news for the MPG’s BUYDIS project, which seeks to identify and experiment anti-discrimination clauses in public contracts awarded by local authorities.  Secondly, the rules should allow for better access to the market for immigrant-owned businesses by simplifying the documentation requirements in procurement procedures, creating a standardised document for selection purposes, and offering incentives to public bodies to divide contracts into smaller lots that are more accessible to small businesses.

This all comes in good time for the kick-off of the Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration project later this month, which will see MPG team up with the Council of Europe and ten European cities to facilitate access of migrant-owned SMEs to public and private procurement and help local governments develop procurement policies that are consistent with the principles of equal opportunities, integration and diversity management.

French Council of State ruling paves the way for more social clauses in public contracts

Logo_ConseildEtatOn 25 March 2013, the French Council of State, the highest administrative court, handed a ruling that could help mainstreaming the use of social clauses across a whole new range of public contracts.

The case opposed an unsuccessful tenderer to the Isère departmental council, on a July 2012 call for tender for maintaining roads and green areas. A first ruling by the Grenoble administrative court cancelled the call for tender on the basis that labour market insertion efforts are not directly related to the subject-matter of the contract and therefore cannot be used as contract-award criteria by the awarding authority.

On the contrary, the French Council of State ruled that the contract, by its nature, may be implemented by people with a disadvantaged position on the labour market (at least partially), and that therefore the link between the tenderer’s performance in social insertion efforts and the subject-matter of the contract exists:

« dans le cadre d’une procédure d’attribution d’un marché qui, eu égard à son objet, est susceptible d’être exécuté, au moins en partie, par des personnels engagés dans une démarche d’insertion, le pouvoir adjudicateur peut légalement prévoir d’apprécier les offres au regard du critère d’insertion professionnelle des publics en difficulté dès lors que ce critère n’est pas discriminatoire et lui permet d’apprécier objectivement ces offres ; que, par suite, le juge des référés du tribunal administratif de Grenoble a commis une erreur de droit en relevant que, par nature et indépendamment des personnels susceptibles d’être concernés par l’exécution du marché, les travaux de renforcement et de renouvellement de chaussées prévus par le marché litigieux ne présentent aucun lien direct avec l’insertion professionnelle des publics en difficulté ; qu’il y a lieu, en conséquence, sans qu’il soit besoin d’examiner les autres moyens du pourvoi, d’annuler son ordonnance »

« que ce critère de performances en matière d’insertion professionnelle des publics en difficulté, ainsi mis en oeuvre pour évaluer l’offre des candidats, est en rapport avec l’objet de ce marché de travaux publics, susceptible d’être exécuté au moins en partie par du personnel engagé dans une démarche d’insertion ; que, par suite, la société PL Favier n’est pas fondée à soutenir que le critère relatif aux performances en matière d’insertion professionnelle ne présente pas de lien avec l’objet du marché et ne pouvait légalement être retenu, alors même que le département de l’Isère n’a pas repris de telles exigences dans le cadre des clauses d’exécution du marché et que celui-ci devait s’exécuter sous la forme de bons de commande ; »

This ruling may therefore help in generalising the use of social clauses in public contracts by acting as jurisprudence for contracts involving activities which can potentially, and at least partially, be implemented by people with a disadvantaged position on the labour market.

This ruling will be a key reference for our BUYDIS project, which seeks to identify and experiment anti-discrimination clauses in public contracts passed by local authorities. This 12-month project, supported financially and politically by the French Ministry of the Interior, is led by ISM CORUM and benefits from the anti-discrimination expertise of MPG, and of our long-lasting work with large multinational corporations on supplier diversity in the private sector.. It involves the cities of Lyon and Nantes.

If you’re interested in learning more about the BUYDIS project, contact us.


EVENTS

In Partnership With:

  • Lyon
  • ISM-CORUM
  • Nantes
  • Ministere de l'Intérieur