Gender-responsive Public Procurement
Regular collaboration between gender equality bodies/departments and public procurement offices is in place
The use of GRPP to address gender equality successfully also depends on the extent of regular and informed collaboration between gender equality bodies and contracting authorities. Such collaboration can take the form of consultation, whereby the contracting authority (automatically) involves gender equality bodies when initiating the public procurement cycle. Likewise, gender equality bodies reach out to the public authorities with their knowledge and advice about gender mainstreaming and how to apply GRPP at specific stages of the procurement cycle.
Within contracting authorities, interdepartmental cooperation is often needed to make GRPP a success. For example, the procurement office may need to work with the team/department identifying the need for products or services, as well as those responsible for gender equality and citizen engagement, to plan and execute GRPP tenders.
Example of coordination between gender equality bodies and public procurement policies and processes: Spain
In Spain, socially responsible public procurement goes hand in hand with a gender perspective. In most cases, when a public administration applies social criteria in its public contracts, it includes the gender perspective. The Institute of Women, an autonomous body responsible for gender equality, has given guidance on GRPP and does so systematically. Other bodies in charge of gender equality (e.g. in the Basque government, Catalan government, Zaragoza City Council, Barcelona City Council, Gipuzkoa Provincial Council and Vitoria City Council) have led and achieved the systematic integration of the gender perspective in public procurement. The role of the gender equality body has proved to be important for the promotion of GRPP, including coordination, awareness raising, training, drafting of guides, preparation of materials, and collaboration on the drafting of the relevant instruments with various public administrations.
How to act
Create interservice GRPP working groups that meet to ensure information exchange and mutual support.
Organise regular training on GRPP with participants from relevant ministries / public authorities and gender equality bodies.
Create a media platform that facilitates collaboration among public procurement and gender equality practitioners and policymakers.
Mistakes to avoid
Avoid developing a policy to promote GRPP (e.g. public procurement strategies or gender equality action plans) without identifying the institution(s), body (or bodies) and/or department(s) responsible for implementation.
Avoid planning and implementing policies by adopting a silo approach (gender equality / public procurement / social and employment policies) without developing synergies.
Refrain from developing GRPP policies or strategies that are not coupled with capacity-building programmes and help desks / support structures.