New focus on how public contracts can drive ‘Good Work’ in the North East

November 12, 2018

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  • ‘Good Work’ procurement means contracts are awarded to suppliers who demonstrate good employment practices, such as payment of the Living Wage.
  • New Carnegie UK Trust research highlights good work procurement challenges and success factors.
  • Research to support aims of the North of Tyne Combined Authority to develop a ‘Good Work’ Business Pledge.

A new Carnegie UK Trust report launched today has set out how public bodies in the North East can use their spending power to ensure that suppliers offer ‘good work’ for employees.

Public procurement is a major industry in the UK. Last year private companies bid for UK public goods and services contracts worth £223 billion – with around £6 billion of that spend taking place in the North East. Making Procurement Work for All, published by the Carnegie UK Trust, Institute for Local Governance and North East Child Poverty Commission argues that this spend could be used to encourage better working practices by  suppliers, which would help to tackle  in-work poverty and improve employment conditions in the local area.

‘Good work’ procurement strategies would increase the chances of public contracts being awarded to organisations who can demonstrate good employment practises – like payment of the living wage, secure work contracts, provision of training, and inclusive working practices.

The new North of Tyne Combined Authority’s proposals to develop a Good Work Business Pledge are also considering procurement strategies as a key element of its work.

Douglas White, Head of Advocacy at Carnegie UK Trust, said: “The opportunity to promote the role of ‘good work’ in public sector procurement is something which has been on the political radar for some time. But it is a highly complex area which needs to be properly developed and tested in practice.

“Our research has shown that there is clearly appetite in the North East public sector to use procurement powers to drive good work and develop the regional economy. But to do this means overcoming some of the genuine and challenging barriers our research participants identified – including having an agreed definition of ‘good work; and a clear political commitment to the benefits it can deliver. We hope the proposals from the North of Tyne Combined Authority to develop a good work procurement approach will give us an opportunity to take on these challenges and explore how they might be overcome.”

Councillor Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and Portfolio Holder for Employability and Inclusion, said “We at North of Tyne Combined Authority welcome this research and are looking forward to exploring how we can incorporate some of the findings as part of our ‘good work’ business pledge proposals to ensure we are supporting businesses and organisations to have the right processes in place for their employees.”

Read the report here.


For more information, please contact Kirsty Anderson or Nicole Anderson at [email protected] or 0131 260 2510

Notes to Editors

The project is a partnership between the Carnegie UK Trust, Institute for Local Governance and North East Child Poverty Commission and is an important plank of the Trust’s 2016-2020 strategy to improve access to fulfilling work in the UK.

This report was written by Dr. Deborah Harrison and Phillip Edwards.

Deborah joined the Institute for Local Governance in September 2015 as part-time Child Poverty Coordinator. Deborah is responsible for coordinating the North East Child Poverty Commission; a cross-sector stakeholder group which provides a campaigning and lobbying influence to support action to improve the lives of children living in poverty. Deborah’s role includes research and policy analysis, disseminating information to a wide range of stakeholders and organising seminars and other knowledge exchange events.

Phillip is a Strategy and Implementation Director at the ILG and has a wide range of experience as a researcher, author and manager in a public sector environment. He has worked as Head of Data Service at the Local Government Data Unit in Wales, Head of Social Policy Management at the Improvement and Development Agency and was a Principal Researcher at the London Research Centre. He has considerable expertise in commissioning or writing research reports that have validity for practitioners in the public sector.