Fulfilling its Promise? Strategic Public Procurement and the Impact of Equality Considerations on Employers’ Behaviour in Scotland

E.K. Sarter, Emily Thomson

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    Abstract

    Public administration is an important force influencing the state of equality in today’s society. Like budgetary choices, public procurement has increasingly gained attention as a means to promote equality. Yet, important gaps in knowledge pertain, especially regarding the impact of equality requirements in public procurement on company behaviour. This article sheds first light on the impact strategic public procurement has on employers’ behaviour by constructing a business ‘benefit’. Based on empirical research, his article highlights that companies’ perceive a limited prevalence of equality stipulations in Scottish public procurement practices and raises doubts about the impact of public procurement practices to create a successful business case for equality.

    Over the last few decades, equality considerations have gained increasing importance in public procurement. Yet, an important gap in knowledge exists regarding the impact of equality sensitive public procurement on companies’ behaviour. This paper sheds light on the impact of public procurement practices as a lever for incentivising companies to adopt equality related measures. Focusing on Scotland, this article raises doubts about the prevalence of equality considerations in public procurement practices and on the impact that using public procurement to create a business case has on company behaviour if it is not accompanied by supplementary measures. This article will have resonance for policy-makers at different levels who seek to utilise public procurement as a lever to promote equality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-445
    Number of pages9
    JournalPublic Money and Management
    Volume40
    Issue number6
    Early online date11 Nov 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Keywords

    • Gender equality
    • public procurement
    • public sector equality duty
    • business case
    • Scotland

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