Since its kick-off meeting on 26 June 2017, The Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU) Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement has persistently worked on seven actions (see Action Plan 2018-2020) in order to push forward the development and implementation of procurement as a strategic tool. Procurement as a strategic tool helps to address challenges public authorities are dealing with – social, environmental, economic. The Urban Agenda Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Public Procurement has had multiple results, such as the creation of an accessible and user-friendly E-Learning module focusing on responsible and innovative public procurement, proposing a flexible concept for setting up a Local Cooperation Centre for innovative and sustainable procurement adaptable to the local situation, and a guidance toolkit that focuses on sharing practical and operational approaches to help cities build their own procurement strategy and manage the process. In addition to these practical results, they have been active participants in multiple events, most recently in the Europe’s Week of Regions and Cities 2021.
The Partnership has decided to continue its activities and the partners are currently working on developing new Actions and a new Action Plan which will guide the work of the Partnership in the coming period. The new Actions that the Partnership intends to focus on are:
- Action 1: To grow into a platform / reflection board where cities, regions, member states and the European Commission/institutions could share & exchange the ideas and experiences
- Action 2: Achieve Green Deal, Digitalisation, and Innovation goals by using public procurement as a strategic tool
- Action 3: Stimulating economy recovery after COVID19 through public procurement
The partners are also working on a proposal for a new form of cooperation among Urban Agenda Partnerships that they intent to propose to the relevant EU bodies. Please see below an overview on the various new Actions that the Partnership is working on.
Action 1 – To grow into a platform/reflection board where cities, regions, member states, and the European Commission/institutions could share & exchange the ideas and experiences.
The Partnership is currently brainstorming on how to develop this Action and make it feasible as there are numerous ideas. As it stands, the partners envision to build a procurers community in order to exchange experience, knowledge and best practices on how to embed public procurement to achieve innovative, social, circular and sustainable goals. The exchanges could occur in the shape of a website, via the organisation of study visits and/or workshops, or by interlinking and updating already existing platforms. No matter the form it takes, the partners agree that the Action has to have added value and be complementary to already existing structures.
Action 2 – Achieve Green Deal, Digitalisation, and Innovation goals by using Public Procurement as a strategic tool
Public procurement is an important strategic tool that can be used to solve economic, environmental, and social challenges. It is promising to see a rise in the adoption of strategic public procurement practices but despite considerable investments in recent years, it is still behind the pace and scale needed to support the development needs of cities. Partners are sharing ideas on what can be done to scale and speed up this process, but also on how to connect the various public procurement initiatives that already exist to make them more effective. The Partnership is currently in the process of developing and structuring the multiple ideas of its Partners into one coherent Action, which will bring together different perspectives via synergies, integrated knowledge and experiences across inputs, processes, and outcomes.
Action 3 – Stimulating economic recovery after COVID-19 through Public Procurement
Earlier work of the Partnership showed that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that cities procured: they started to procure quicker and specific products as well as increasing their levels of market engagement and including more emphasis on economic, social, and environmental criteria. The Partnership wants to continue on this line of work and explore the question of how Public Procurement can stimulate the economic recovery. The goal of the Action is to develop a guidance note for cities that defines what is meant by economic recovery, presenting 10 key ways in which Public Procurement can stimulate the recovery accompanied with case studies showcasing the way, and give advice for other cities. The note will be focused on longer-term recovery, so how to look forward 10 to 15 years, and not on short and quick interventions. If you would like to contribute how your city is using procurement to promote economic recovery, please feel free to share your good practice by filling in this survey.
These Actions are to be further developed and clarified in the new Action Plan 2021-2022 that the Public Procurement Partnership intends to present by early 2022. Keep an eye out for further activities of this Partnership, as it continues to work hard on the development and implementation of innovative and sustainable public procurement strategies, and much more is to come.