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About Making Spend Matter

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European Union, URBACT and Making Spend Matter logos


Making Spend Matter is a network of 7 European cities (Preston (UK), Pamplona (Spain), Vila Nova de Famalicão (Portugal), Bistriţa (Romania), Kavala (Greece), Koszalin (Poland) and Schaerbeek (Belgium) that have worked together to take a more strategic approach to public procurement to enhance the sustainable impact of their public spend and help tackle social, economic, and environmental challenges.

The Making Spend Matter network forms one of 24 URBACT - Transfer Networks. These networks are a collection of European cities that come together to create, share, adapt and reuse Good Practice learning tools to promote integrated and sustainable urban development.

The Network has been funded by the URBACT III Programme through the European Regional Development Fund.

Where did the idea come from?

The Making Spend Matter network forms part of the URBACT - Transfer Networks, which are a collection of European cities that come together to create, share, adapt and reuse Good Practice learning tools to promote integrated and sustainable urban development.

URBACT (a programme promoting collaborative city working to identify good practice and improve urban policies) awarded 97 cities from across Europe with the Good Practice Label.

Amongst them, Preston was recognised for its work with anchor institutions around progressive public procurement and spend analysis.

Each Good Practice City was invited to apply to lead a Transfer Network through which they could transfer their experience to other (Transfer) Cities interested in the good practice

The Making Spend Matter network forms one of 23 other Transfer Networks funded through the URBACT III Programme by the European Regional Development Fund.

Making Spend Matter's motto is "changing procurement, changing cities!"

To find out more about Preston's procurement journey view the  Preston's procurement journey timeline (PDF) [875KB] .

Who are the Making Spend Matter Partners?

  • Good Practice City: Preston, (United Kingdom)
  • Transfer Cities: Bistrița (Romania), Kavala (Greece), Koszalin (Poland), Pamplona (Spain), Schaerbeek (Belgium) and Vila Nova de Famalicão (Portugal).
  • Network Expert: Matthew Baqueriza-Jackson
  • Ad-hoc Experts: Emma Clarence and John Watt

What is the Good Practice about?

The Good Practice aims to transfer 3 things:

  • A methodology
  • A way of cooperating
  • A way of enabling change

Analysing public spend

It is about analysing and understanding where public spend goes collectively across anchor institutions (organisations which are rooted in a place).

The analysis involves a detailed look at spend data to understand:

  • How goods, services and works are purchased
  • Where they are purchased geographically, in which sector, with whom and with what type of businesses. E.g. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and social enterprises.

Using analysis to procure strategically

The analysis can then be used as an evidence base to:

  • Create public procurement strategies
  • Change procurement practices
  • Embed more social and environmental criteria
  • Better understand and engage with the supply chain
  • Identify gaps in the market to be filled with innovative and alternative business models

The Good Practice's objective is to change how we cooperate across stakeholders, citizens, anchor institutions but also SMEs, how we can change behaviour, how we do procurement and how all of this influences and impacts places and people.

Adapting and re-using Good Practice across Transfer Cities and locally

The Transfer Network helps each Transfer City successfully adapt Preston's Good Practice to their city.

From a Good Practice City's view, this network is also about looking at how the Good Practice around spend analysis can be improved and taken forward locally.

The exchange and learning will be a reciprocal transfer, as all cities have experience and expertise to share and other practices to learn from.

Each city is different, starting from different points, with their own specific challenges and objectives to meet.

To allow for each city to understand, explore and adapt the Good Practice at their own pace, the information below outlines how the network activities have been structured into core and optional learning and transfer options.

The core transfer

  • Engage with anchor institutions based in city
  • Discuss as a municipality the importance of public procurement
  • Apply the basic spend analysis
  • Develop recommendation for how public procurement processes can change in the Municipality
  • Share the spend analysis findings with anchor institutions based in city

The optional transfer

  • Application of basic spend analysis by other anchor institutions in city
  • Development of collective Municipality and anchor institution recommendations
  • Application of advanced spend analysis
  • Development of social value focused procurement strategy
  • Making changes to Municipality procurement processes and practices
  • Application of 3,4 and 5 to anchor institutions based in partner city
  • Application of basic spend analysis at second point during transfer network

Supporting transnational aspects of the exchange and learning

The transnational aspect will be supported at each city level by:

  • Creation of a Transfer Plan setting out the actions and measures to be adopted locally;
  • Work and collaboration of local stakeholders and anchor institutions as part of an URBACT local group - monitoring and recording of the key outcomes, challenges and successes of the Transfer at each city level.

For more details view the  Making Spend Matter Transfer Network (PDF) [523KB]  document.

Making Spend Matter toolkit - helping cities and public organisations procure strategically

The Making Spend Matter Toolkit brings together the guidance, lessons learned and recommendations from the Transfer Network to enable other cities and public organisations to start their own strategic procurement journey.

From understanding the strategic importance of public procurement to analysing procurement spend and its impact, progressing practices and implementing change, the toolkit covers a range of best practice advice and tips around making spend matter.

Preston - the good practice city video

The following video explains more about Preston being the Good Practice City from the Making Spend Matter lead partner coordinator - Tamar Reay:

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