Background to the programme
The Department of Solidarity Procurement (CMS) was born in 2012 when the associations Streets of Sustainable Development (RDD), Culture and Cooperation (C & C) and Inter Network Integration through Economic Activity (IRIAE) formed a solidarity group and collectively responded to a call for projects which was launched as part of the Social and Solidarity Economy Cooperation Programme (PROCESS) framework. Since 2010, these associations have participated in the ESS impact assessment study in South Loire which was conducted by the Mife South Loire and also in the establishment of the ESS strategic development plan in South Loire: PROCESS 2012-2015 .
Objectives of the programme
=> Strengthen the expertise and independence of ESS actors through the implementation of a complete support service.
=> Encourage connections between ESS organisations, public authorities and traditional businesses in the area to promote socially responsible business.
The launch in 2013 of the first support system for ESS structures in South Loire to response to public and private procurement. The main services offered to organisations are:
• a qualitative assessment of calls for public and private procurement contracts that are likely to interest them,
• a service for information, training and networking for structures from Social and Solidarity Economy to promote cooperation and group responses
• individual or collective support service in response to procurement.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
During these first two years, we have been able to demonstrate the interest of CMS in:
- Promoting and encouraging group responses and synergy between economic actors;
- Develop an approach within ESS which is collaborative rather than competitive;
- Improve the clarity and relevance of ESS organisations in the eyes of purchasers.
The 2013 assessment in a few figures:
- 41 organizations met for a first analysis.
- 5 organisations supported in procurements that were targeted by CMS including 1 contract won by the association.
The project's originality lies both in the assembly and formation of a solidarity group and in changing the organisation and operation of the parties involved. This new organisation gives priority to cooperation, participation and the pooling of resources for the benefit of local, sustainable development in South Loire territory. During the first year of experiments (2013), CMS created and developed a scalable tool that is capable of adapting to changes that encourage the promotion of socially responsible business.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
The project is part of a cooperative approach. The added value lies in the search for real consistency and synergy through the development of local and regional partnerships. Main partners: C & C - IRIAE - Saint Etienne Métropole - Rhône Alpes - The Centre for Information, Training and Employment - The Scop La Peniche - CRESS - The Centre for Employment and Training.
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
At the beginning of the action, most of the structures encountered were reluctant or even hostile to this new way of financing. CMS worked in a thorough manner to promote a participatory approach, in which each of the services proposed was adjusted to the needs and expectations of the actors.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
CMS chose to offer free services in order to not add additional impediments to remote organisations under public or private control. Instead of compartmentalising the organisation, CMS opens its services to actors outside of ESS such as freelancers, the self-employed and micro-businesses. The only requirement is that their approach falls within the principles of ESS (social purpose, limited profit, democratic governance ...)
Suggestions for future improvement :
In the years 2014-2016, CMS aims to develop the support and the procurements that have been won. The services offered will expand to include unpublished public procurement (below the thresholds) and private procurement from businesses in the Loire.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
The project is replicable in other local authorities who choose to promote socially responsible public procurement through local networks of ESS offices.
Key factors for its success:
- Strong political will to make ESS a policy priority.
- The network dynamic and synergy between the members on the project team.
- A permanent team and a resources team who are competent, qualified and capable of responding quickly to all types of request whatever the field of activity.
- A good knowledge of local networks in the territory and through ESS.
- Responsiveness and availability of the project team.
- The flexibility of local actors and meetings between them.