Labour clauses in UK public procurement

Identifying, interpreting and implementing ‘social value’

Mat Johnson, The University of Manchester
Aristea Koukiadaki, The University of Manchester
Stephen Mustchin, The University of Manchester
Laura Watt, The University of Manchester

This paper explores the emergent role of labour clauses in public procurement in the UK following the implementation of two key pieces of legislation: the 2012 UK Social Value Act and the revised 2014 EU Procurement Directive. Drawing on an analytical framework which distinguishes between contestation within and between different social sub-systems involved in procurement (ie economic, legal and political), we assess the evolution of ‘social value’ procurement in UK local government. Preliminary evidence suggests that while the recent regulatory developments have mitigated the extent of jurisprudential contestation, there is continuing divergence in the scope and depth of labour clauses at local level.