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Departments: Equal Opportunities

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its sponsored public bodies has produced on making the award of public contracts conditional on the bidding private sector firms meeting equality or diversity criteria or targets. (128669)

The Department its agencies and sponsored public bodies (The Health and Safety Executive and The Rent Service) will continue to take account of the guidance issued by the Office for Government Commerce (OGC) in relation to awarding of public contracts. OGC has published the guidance note Social Issues in Purchasing which outlines the scope to take account of social considerations such as equality and diversity issues in the procurement process in line with the European procurement rules and the Government’s procurement policy based on value for money.

DWP procurement guidance states that potential suppliers should be precluded from bidding for contracts if they are in breach of UK law, this includes equality legislation and unique legislation on disability issues for example sheltered workshops. Contracts require suppliers to meet statutory legal requirements including those in respect of equality and diversity issues and our contracts require suppliers not to discriminate in employment practice.