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Ethical Procurement

Volume 636: debated on Wednesday 21 February 2018

The Government are committed to ethical procurement. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires commissioners to consider the social benefits of their approaches to procurement, and the industrial strategy requires Departments to consider wider social and economic factors in the design of major Government contracts.

Another recent report has commented on the link between ultra-processed food and cancer, rising levels of obesity, and the fact that only one in four adults is eating five a day. What more can the Government do through their public procurement processes to encourage healthy, sustainable eating, and to source it from British producers?

The hon. Lady has raised an important point. As I have said, the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 enables procurers to take those wider factors into account. We are also encouraging the adoption of a so-called balanced scorecard approach whereby, in the process of procurement, we consider those wider factors. We have rolled that out for all contracts worth more than £10 million, and have extended it to the Crown Commercial Service framework for facilities management.

One of the advantages of Brexit is that it will provide a wide range of opportunities to tailor our procurement rules to the needs of this country. Once we have left Europe, we will be considering exactly those measures.

What certainty does the Minister have that there is no direct or indirect gender discrimination anywhere in the Government’s supply chain?

In October last year, the Government produced a code of conduct relating to Government procurement which covered precisely those points.