Gender-responsive Public Procurement
Contracting authorities may report on GRPP to funding bodies, gender equality bodies, national procurement authorities or others. They may also engage in public reporting. There are opportunities to link reporting on GRPP to broader policies relating to gender equality and strategic procurement. Less formal reporting, for example through the publication of case studies or news items on GRPP, can help to increase uptake by other public bodies and build understanding of what is being done.
Setting targets for GRPP, at the national, regional or organisational level, may also help to promote its take-up. For example, targets may refer to the number or percentage of contracts that include GRPP criteria, the levels of participation of women-owned or -operated businesses in public tendering, or the gender balance within the workforce delivering public contracts. The application of such targets can help to measure the impact of GRPP and make the link to broader policies, for example regarding the employment of women in skilled positions.
The 2014 EU procurement directives and the financial regulation include a number of provisions relating to reporting on contract awards and providing statistics to the European Commission. While this includes reporting on the number of contracts awarded to SMEs, there is currently no requirement to report on gender aspects of contracts, for example the proportion awarded to women-led businesses.
Example: Reporting on GRPP
Fictitious example. Two or more local authorities, government departments or state agencies could decide to cooperate and set up mutual reporting on GRPP. This might include (1) establishing each organisation’s baseline in terms of the current gender balance, pay gap and percentage of women-owned businesses among the suppliers, (2) setting targets to improve each of these indicators against the baseline and (3) sharing reports and results on a regular basis. Additional activities, such as joint market engagement to build capacity among suppliers for GRPP, could support progress towards the targets.
How to act
Consider setting targets that refer to the number/value of contracts, including gender equality measures and the impact of contracts on outcomes (e.g. the number of women employed in skilled positions, verified compliance with equal pay legislation and audited compliance with ILO conventions along the supply chain).
Mention public procurement or GRPP as an instrument to pursue gender equality goals when revising gender equality actions plans or strategies.
Mistake to avoid
In some cases, public bodies are reluctant to report on GRPP (or other strategic procurement measures) when it is not deemed to have been completely successful, for example if bidders had difficulty complying with GRPP criteria included in a tender or did not score well under the award criteria. However, not reporting on these cases should be avoided, as these cases can be particularly valuable for helping to refine and improve the results in future tenders including GRPP. Public and/or internal reporting can help to draw attention to the need for further market engagement, capacity building, etc.