Dear Sadiq,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing regarding the Greater London Authority (GLA) public procurement and to enquire as to whether social value can be made mandatory in its contract design.

Nationally, public procurement amounts to around £300 billion of government spending amounting to nearly 1/3 of total government outlays in 2021. At the local level, an effective public procurement system can help the GLA gain better value for money and reduce pressure on budgets. It will also facilitate private investment in a range of projects and provide micro businesses and small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) with the business they need to thrive.

I believe that it is important that public money should be spent for the public good and the national interest as well as considering the wider value to society. The “social value” metric is very important to delivering these outcomes as it provides guidance towards efforts to support suppliers who uphold standards on taxation, job creation and workers’ rights, environment, and equalities. Public procurement has transformative potential, promising to deliver opportunity across London to the many micro businesses and SMEs, many of which are the lifeblood of our local communities.

Whilst the Social Value Act provides a template for including social value within procurement, it lacks a firm obligation to ensure contracting bodies incorporate these requirements. Unfortunately, the Government’s Procurement Bill in its current form does little to strengthen the power of social value in procurement and build on the Social Value Act 2012.

The GLA can set the example by going beyond the Public Services (Social Value) Act and in making social value mandatory in its public contract design.

Public procurement is also a key means by which diversity can be delivered. Over ten years ago, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) highlighted procurement’s potential for increasing diversity and for spreading good practice in the private sector through more systematic use of public purchasing power.

Unfortunately, recent research by Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has found that Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority owned businesses are particularly disadvantaged by public sector procurement processes.

I would therefore request for you to convene a GLA taskforce to establish effective measures to boost the inclusion of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority businesses in public procurement.

It is of fundamental importance that we get public procurement right as with the correct policies it can provide a huge force for good across the country including creating social value in our local economies.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Yours sincerely,

Marsha de Cordova

Member of Parliament for Battersea

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