Put simply the Act requires all contracting authorities to:
- consider how what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the relevant area;
- how, in conducting the process of procurement, it might act with a view to securing that improvement; and
- whether there is a need to undertake any consultation about the two duties set out above.
Impacts on Procurement
The duties of the Act only applies to public service contracts* above the EU threshold or when setting up a framework agreement for services above the EU threshold.
*public services contract has the same meaning as in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 as amended
“Relevant area” is the contracting authorities own area in which it “primarily exercises its functions”. The Act is clearly written with local authorities in mind and must be interpreted to determine exactly what this means for Colleges.
EU procurement principles of proportionality and relevance must still be adhered to i.e. only matters that are relevant to what is being procured and the extent to which it is proportionate to take these matters into account can be considered when awarding public services contracts. A College must also be careful not to discriminate against suppliers outside of the UK or the local area.
The requirement of the Act must be complied with before starting the procurement process.
The Act only requires the College to consider social value and to evidence that consideration. It does not force the inclusion of social value within a procurement although the College must record reasons for not including it as part of the procurement process.
Failure to comply does not invalidate the procurement.
Checklist of Actions for Colleges
A Checklist of Actions is designed to assist Colleges to implement the duties of the Public Services Act.
The Act creates a positive duty to consider social improvements available from procurement but does not alter the already complex procurement regime.
The West Midlands procurement framework for jobs and skills – guidance on how you can ensure local people benefit from your procurement activity.