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In Northern Ireland approximately £3bn of public money is spent every year on procurement, almost a quarter of the NI Executive’s total spend.
Across the island of Ireland it is about £16bn per year.
In effect this means vast sums of public money being paid to private companies each year to provide things like new schools, roads, housing, and services to our communities.
The vast amounts of money involved and the fact that it comes from the public provides government with an important opportunity.
This money can assist government to fulfil their human rights obligation to progressively realise the right to housing, health, employment and education. Government bodies can use their purchasing power to make private companies act in certain ways that are of benefit to disadvantaged groups and society as a whole.
Since 2008, PPR has worked with marginalised people to ensure that public and private investments provide positive social and economic outcomes for the most excluded in our society:
Girdwood Residents’ Jury and Lower Shankill Regeneration Board
Through our organising work with the Girdwood Residents' Jury and the Lower Shankill Regeneration Board we have assisted people experiencing entrenched socio-economic inequality to develop groundbreaking contract clauses, which can be inserted into government contracts with the private sector, and aim to maximise the power of public procurement. [insert link to LSRB Proposal and story]
Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure – Stadia Project
In 2012, the NI Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure formally requested the assistance of PPR in their work to develop contract clauses for multi-million pound stadia projects which have the potential to guarantee sustainable employment outcomes for the long-term unemployed. PPR specifically assisted the Minister in the development of contract language and the process of targeting existing inequalities. While this approach marks a significant break with traditional practice amongst NI Executive Departments, PPR continue to monitor the outcomes to ensure that implementation is effective. [insert link to PPR’s Targeting Inequalities Framework and DCAL’s document]
REAL JOBS NOW policy – Belfast City Council
In 2014 the PPR supported group of long term unemployed people, Right to Work: Right to Welfare (R2W) [insert link to campaign page] successfully campaigned to have a motion passed by Belfast City Council [insert link to campaign story] which guaranteed ring fenced and full paid apprenticeships for the long term unemployed through procurement contracts between Council and the private sector. It is the first time such a motion has been passed in the UK or Ireland. The REAL JOBS NOW motion stated:
“That this Council recognises the increasing social and economic hardship experienced by people in our communities as a result of growing unemployment and cuts to welfare benefit; council accepts it has a duty to use the powers available to it (including but not limited to planning, regulation and procurement powers), to generate positive outcomes for the most marginalised in our communities and hereby commits to include a ‘Real Jobs’ clause at every available opportunity, in contracts tendered by council to procure goods, services and capital works. The ‘Real Jobs clause’ will guarantee ring fenced, fully paid jobs and apprenticeships for the long-term unemployed (12+ months)”
Following a concerted efforts to ensure the motion was implemented, Belfast City Council have taken steps towards integrated elements of the REAL JOBS NOW motion into a variety of City Council sponsored developments. R2W continue to monitor implementation and the REAL JOBS NOW policy.