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Local Authorities: Non-Profit Making Associations

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 3 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance her Department has given to local authorities on their procurement of service delivery from social enterprises; what assessment she has made of local authorities’ procurement practices; and if she will make a statement. (198800)

The “National Procurement Strategy for Local Government” (published by the then ODPM and Local Government Association in 2003) made clear that local authorities should embrace a positive approach to achieving a mixed economy of services, including through engagement with social enterprises and other suppliers. The Department will publish shortly a final report on progress with the strategy which will note that there is greater awareness of what the social enterprise sector can offer, for example by highlighting social enterprise in the Small Business Friendly Concordat.

The Department believes that local authorities should recognise and embrace diversity in the ways in which services are provided, with the focus on desired outcomes and not on whether the service is delivered by the public, private or third sectors. To this end, the Secretary of State announced at the Voice 08 Conference in Liverpool that Communities and Local Government is to set up a new Social Enterprise Unit whose remit will include working with social enterprises and local authorities on the provision of services.