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Departmental Procurement

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality with reference to the answer of 12 October 2009, Official Report, column 33W, on Public Sector: procurement, whether a small firms impact assessment has been produced in relation to their new public procurement duties on contracting authorities; what the timetable is for the production of the non-legislative toolkit; and whether small firms will be consulted before its introduction. (315617)

A regulatory impact assessment has been produced on the creation of a single set of specific equality duties to underpin the new integrated public sector equality duty and to regulate procurement by some public authorities. This was published as part of the specific duties consultation document; Equality Bill: Making it work, Policy proposals for specific duties: A consultation.

It is important to note that the specific duties fall on the contracting authority and not on the private sector, and also apply only to above EU threshold contracts and to the lead contractor.

The non-legislative Toolkit is being produced by the Office of Government Commerce. The Toolkit will update and build on OGC's existing guidance, 'Make Equality Count', to provide more detailed and accessible advice to procurers on when and how they can incorporate equality considerations in their public procurement activities in line with procurement law. The Toolkit is designed to be a 'living' tool, allowing for new content, for example, best practice case studies and any changes in relevant legislation and other material to be added in future to ensure that public procurers are provided with up to date advice and guidance. An initial draft is currently available for consultation until 12 March on the OGC website and small firms are welcome to contribute.