Making procurement more inclusive

Procurement may never be sexy, but it can be a power – perhaps *the* power – for change, especially in the public sector.

In May 2020, an LB Southwark procurement that was well-intentioned and run by the rules ended with no Black-led firms out of the 110 architecture practices appointed – in a borough with 25% Black and 46% non-white population, there was no way that wouldn’t be controversial. The procurement is being expanded to tackle the problem proactively, but the questions it highlighted simmer on.

Many in the sector lament ongoing structural or professional bias, especially for architecture and aspects of development. Others call for clearer guidance on running inclusive procurement that doesn’t fall afoul of OJEU or other rules, as diversity ‘set-asides’ would (much more in this Guardian article). Many say both are to blame, and that we must tackle current bias and systemic rigidity as well as attitudes and access at fundamental community and education levels.

The question right now is: As a sector, how do we make procurement more inclusive?

That is THE question that guided an Oct 22nd roundtable with established and up-and-coming practitioners, part of LHC’s free 2020 Public Sector Procurement conference. This dynamic group of speakers shared best practice and pitfalls, tools, strategies and guidance on making procurement deliver the best possible outcomes.

If you want more equitable opportunities to come through your council, suppliers and partners – or just the places where you live and work – check back here for a link to the video and/or see the resources below.

Thanks to our excellent speakers!

  • Bola Abisogun OBE, FRICS – Executive Director, DiverseCity Surveyors; CEO, Urbanis
  • Yẹmí Aládérun – Architect; Major Project Manager, Islington & Shoreditch HA
  • Claire Bennie – Director, Municipal
  • Jennifer Castle – Regional Manager – London, LHC
  • Joseph Henry – Principal Project Officer (Regeneration & Economic Development), GLA
  • Chloë Phelps – Head of Design & Deputy CEO Commercial, Brick x Brick
  • Nnenna Urum-Eke – Head of Development, LB Enfield
  • Lisa Taylor – Executive Director, Future of London; Director, Coherent Cities (chair)

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