Scotland's community benefit clauses 'underpin sustainable growth'

2 July 2015

Community benefit clauses in public sector procurement contracts have had a positive impact in Scotland, research published by the Scottish Government has found.

According to the training and employment research unit at the University of Glasgow, the clauses - which aim to make contracts more sustainable - are increasingly used across Scotland.

They ask for targeted recruitment and training, small business and social enterprise development and community engagement and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requires public bodies to consider using them in all contracts of over £4 million.

The research, which surveyed public organisations and examined 24 contracts, said in the sample examined, the clauses had resulted in a high level of jobs and training opportunities that would not have happened otherwise. It found more than 1,000 people from priority groups such as young people not in employment, education or training were recruited for them and estimated 38 per cent of these would not have been recruited without the clauses.

Of the more than 200 apprentices from priority groups who were recruited, 78 per cent were estimated to be additional apprenticeships due to the clauses.

There were also more than 650 work placements for priority groups and 72 per cent of these were estimated to be as a result of the community benefit clauses. Three of the 24 contracts included community benefit clauses related to developing the supply chain, with a focus on supporting local businesses and social enterprises.

Two thirds of the public organisations surveyed used the clauses in procurement from 2009 to 2014.

Cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities Keith Brown said: “Using public spending to boost training, employment and subcontracting opportunities underpins the Scottish government’s main priority of creating a more successful country through sustainable economic growth.”

The report also made recommendations about how the clauses should be monitored and reported on to ensure their continued use.

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