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Public Sector: Procurement

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to amend public procurement legislation and guidance in order to achieve the Government's policy objectives on equality. (289078)

There are no plans to amend procurement legislation. The Equality Bill contains a Regulation making power to introduce specific duties via secondary legislation, which will require contracting authorities to use public procurement to promote equality wherever possible. The specific duties will be formulated in a way that is compatible with procurement legislation, so there should be no need to amend either the Public Contract Regulations 2006, or the Utilities Contract Regulations 2006.

The Government Equality Office is working closely with both the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Office of Government Commerce with regard to procurement related guidance. The EHRC are assessing the requirements for guidance in relation to the Equality Bill and the Office of Government Commerce are also considering what may be required in relation to procurement, including the provision of a new non-legislative toolkit.