Project presents findings at conferences in Nottingham and Germany
Project researcher Dr Katharina Sarter has recently presented two papers on the research findings at conferences in Schwerin, Germany and Nottingham, UK focusing on the promotion of public procurement as a policy tool by the governments in Scotland and Wales.
At the conference of the Section Welfare State Research of the German Association of Political Science (DVPW) and the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), held in Schwerin in June, Katharina presented a paper that examined the growing role of public procurement in a multi-level perspective. The presentation focused on the role of public procurement as a lever for influencing employment and working conditions in Wales and Scotland. The findings highlight that in the light of an absence of devolved regulatory powers over employment and labour conditions, public procurement is gaining importance as a tool for regulating working conditions in the devolved nations.
Katharina also gave a paper on the theme of ‘Public Procurement as a Policy Tool for Advancing Equality: Developments in Scotland and Wales’ to the Social Policy Association conference held at Nottingham University in July 2023. The presentation focused on the distinct legal environments for using procurement to address equality goals in the two nations, explaining the intention to promote fairness and in particular fair work in Scotland and on improving the well-being of future generations in Wales. The findings from the expert interviews revealed that the emphasis of policy interventions using public procurement tended to be on addressing socio-economic disadvantage and improving opportunities for those at a distance from the labour market, rather than the protected characteristics of gender, race, disability, among others, covered by the Equality Act 2010. However these categories may intersect to compound disadvantage, for example in the case of lone parents who are predominantly women and often face socio-economic disadvantage through limited opportunities for employment. Thus in Scotland, the index of multiple deprivation is used to identify priority groups to target for action on increasing employment opportunities, using procurement among other measures, and lone parents are one such priority.
The full findings of the research, together with a toolkit on how to include equality and diversity aims within public procurement, will be released at an online conference in October 2023. Sign up to our mailing list to receive further details.