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Positive impacts of procurement unveiled

Research demonstrates success of community benefits in public contracts.

The positive impacts of using community benefit clauses in procurement by the public sector has been proven through research published recently.

The research shows that community benefit clauses are increasingly used across Scotland and the use of these has resulted in a high level of jobs and training opportunities that would not have happened otherwise.

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

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, Keith Brown, welcomed the findings and said:

“This research supports our commitment to use public contracts to deliver tangible community benefits. Using public spending to boost training, employment and sub-contracting opportunities underpins the Scottish Government’s main priority of creating a more successful country through sustainable economic growth.

“Over 1000 individuals from priority groups such as young people not in employment, education or training were recruited across the 24 sample contracts that the research examined. It was estimated 38% of these would not have been recruited without the community benefit clause. In addition, 75% of these people were still employed at the time of the research. This is very positive and indicates that people can gain longer term employment opportunities thanks to community benefit clauses.”

Also welcoming the research findings, Pamela Smith, Depute Chair of the Scottish Local Authorities Economic Development Group (SLAED) said:

“This is welcome evidence that these clauses do make a difference, bringing employment opportunities to the heart of Scottish communities. The key findings of this report will contribute to the delivery of the Economic Footprint of Scottish Local Government and help to encourage wider uptake of the good practice identified in the use of community benefit clauses.”

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 requires public bodies to consider the use of community benefit clauses in all contracts over £4 million.

Notes To Editors

The research was conducted by the Training and Employment Research Unit at the University of Glasgow. It will be used alongside responses to the recent public consultation, to inform forthcoming statutory guidance on community benefits.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Over 1000 individuals from priority groups[i] were recruited across the 24 sample contracts that were examined. Where data was available, 38% of the job opportunities for priority groups were estimated to be additional (i.e. would not have been recruited without the CB clause) and 75% were sustained (i.e. employed at the time of the research).
  • Over 200 apprentices from priority groups were recruited. Where data was available, 78% of the apprentices were estimated to be additional and 100% were sustained.
  • More than 650 work placements were offered to priority groups. Where data was available, 72% of the work placements for priority groups were estimated to be additional (i.e. would not have been offered without the CB clause).

To view other publications relating to Community Benefits in Public Procurement visit:

The Scottish public sector was seen as an exemplar in a 2014 report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation about Community Benefits in public procurement.

[i] Each procuring organisation sets its own priority groups but these are commonly unemployed people or young people not in employment, education or training. The report makes recommendations for defining priority groups more precisely with a view to capturing, for example, those captured by the protected characteristics of Equality legislation.


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