Labour pledges contract exclusivity to social enterprises

Councils would be encouraged to offer some contracts exclusively to social enterprises under any future Labour government.

In a speech today, Chi Onwurah, the party’s shadow cabinet office minister, said that Lbour would make use of EU rules that give the government the right give contracts only to organisations “in the pursuit of a public service missions“.

Onwurah, who is leading Labour’s digital government review, said the move would help to reduce the dominance of big ICT suppliers to government.

She said: “We want to make it easier for social enterprises to win government contracts. To help drive that, a Labour government in 2015 will enable departments and local authorities to offer some contracts exclusively for social enterprises.”

Onwurah said that the move could play a part in the Labour Party’s devolution agenda, which aims to put an emphasis on locally-led public services.

She added: “Rooted in their communities, social enterprises can identify new, more effective and enterprising ways of delivering public services.

“We want to see a comprehensive change in the social enterprise landscape. We want services to be less transactional, focused on individuals and delivered at the most local level possible.

“Labour will make social enterprises the new innovative frontline of the public sector.”

In March a report by the Office for Fair Trading found that competition between software suppliers in a number of local government policy areas is not working, with the largest one or two suppliers hogging up to 80 per cent of the market.

Colin Marrs

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