NAVCA signs up to LGA procurement pledge


NAVCA has turned down an invitation to sign up to the Government’s recently launched Procurement Pledge, drawn up by the Cabinet Office.  Instead, NAVCA is supporting an alternative Local Government Association (LGA) pledge and is urging other voluntary organisations to follow their lead. The government procurement pledge takes a top down approach that places too much emphasis on multi million pound companies to the detriment of the voluntary sector and local businesses. The LGA’s draft pledge, which is currently out for consultation, starts with users and citizens and gives a greater emphasis to voluntary organisations.

The LGA, which is the voice of local government in England and Wales, shares NAVCA’s concerns about the government pledge. On their website they say that it is geared ‘much more towards Big Business. In contrast, local government purchases a much greater percentage of goods and services locally, and often up to 80 per cent or more from SMEs’. Therefore the LGA has created their own pledge, the LGA Procurement Pledge for Local Authorities. This pledge focuses on engagement and co-production and contains a greater focus on SMEs and the voluntary sector. NAVCA believes this pledge is more suitable for the voluntary sector, as the majority of voluntary sector providers supply services at the local level.

Whilst NAVCA supports the LGA pledge, it is also calling for a recognition that competitive procurement processes are unnecessary and do not deliver value for money for community based services that respond to the needs of individual citizens. These are the types of services that small local charities tend to deliver. Evidence supports NAVCA’s view that grant funding is the most efficient and cost effective way to commission these services.

Joe Irvin, NAVCA’s Chief Executive, said

“The government’s pledge is a good idea that has been executed badly. The LGA’s pledge is much more voluntary sector friendly which is why NAVCA is happy to support it. In fact, in these days of localism, as the LGA pledge is backed up by local government, it is more relevant to the work of the voluntary sector.”

“As well as the pledge, we really welcome the recognition from the LGA that there is currently a risk-averse approach to public sector procurement that requires a change in culture at local government level. We believe that the voluntary sector and the LGA have many shared interests and look forward to others in the voluntary sector getting behind this pledge.”

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