Almost fifty procurement managers, sustainability managers, academics, students and representatives from NGOs and civil society gathered at the fourth annual Socially Responsible Public Procurement Symposium at the University of Greenwich on Friday, 26 January. The event, jointly organised by LUPC and the Business, Human Rights and Environment Research Group in the School of Law at the University of Greenwich, was held at the historic Old Royal Naval College. The event brought together representatives from Home Office, NHS, local government, London Fire Brigade, the Crown Commercial Service and others to assess the state of play for socially responsible procurement in the public sector. Baroness Young of Hornsey, who introduced a Private Member’s Bill to extend transparency obligations of the Modern Slavery Act to public authorities, was also in attendance.
After a state-of-the-nation presentation [slides here] by LUPC Director Andy Davies, with a legal context set by Clyde & Co’s David Hansom, a panel discussed latest developments, that kicked off a lively discussion. The event also marked the launch of the suite of eLearning topics based on the popular guidance document Protecting Human Rights in the Supply Chain, published by LUPC, the University of Greenwich, APUC and CIPS and a bonus topic on Preparing an Annual Statement on Slavery and Human Trafficking. The eLearning, which is free to all public authorities and non-profit organisations, will be accessible through this and other websites soon. Universities and other institutions with a Learning Management System can download free SCORM files on application to LUPC or APUC.
Andy Davies called for HM Government to adopt a leadership role in managing the risk of human rights abuses in public supply chains. “They’ve explained clearly when we can exclude bidders for violating environmental, social and labour laws, now we need them to provide the tools, the training and the leadership to fulfil our obligation under international law to carry out due diligence in our supply chains.