The social impact of public procurement - can the EU do more?

The aim of this study is to present the possibilities offered by Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement for the achievement of social goals and to analyse how these possibilities have been transposed into national law and implemented by contracting authorities across the EU. Another aim is to identify obstacles to the use of existing provisions and make recommendations with regards to possible future EU action.
This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Employment and Social affairs (EMPL Committee).

Seven years after its entry into force, it is legitimate to wonder what kind of social impact this Directive might have produced and to what extent SRPP is used in the EU. Until now, there has been no evaluation of this Directive from the European Commission. This study attempts to fill this gap and provide some answers on the state of play of SRPP in the EU.

5 useful steps to create cooperations between local governments and community organisations

Successful cooperation and the creation of meaningful synergies between local authorities and community organisations is an effective way to improve the quality of life and well-being of local people, while creating new opportunities in the area.

By exploring good practices in several European countries – Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Portugal and Cyprus – and examining examples that should be avoided, various actions and steps for developing an effective approach to cooperation are summarised in the report “Tools for enhancing cooperation between local governments and community-based youth organisations“. Benefits of strong collaborative practices between local government municipalities and non-governmental organisations are manyfold and well-recognised, and should benefit all involved parties, including community organisations, municipalities, and intermediate organisations.

The report starts by describing the results of a needs analysis to help understand the challenges and needs related to building cooperation between community-based organisations working with young people or aiming to improve young people’s lives and local authorities. Next, the steps to develop a shared vision when forming a partnership are identified. 

Five steps to help build meaningful and sustainable cooperations:

  1. Define and articulate a common outcome
  2. Establish mutually reinforcing or joint strategies
  3. Agree on roles and responsibilities 
  4. Establish compatible policies, procedures and other means to operate across organisational boundaries
  5. Develop mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results.

Furthermore, local authorities can support NGOs and local social enterprises through financial relationships: funding, grants and subsidies or even through service contracts (public procurement), but also by providing government resources, consulting and other creative ways of cooperation. The report examines the following legal forms of cooperation:

  1. Public procurement of services 
  2. The municipality provides space and resources
  3. Project funding 

For each of these steps and types of cooperation explanations, suggestions and useful resources to help to prepare for cooperation, as well as examples of partnerships between different organisations are offered.

At the end of the report, potential issues in forming a partnership are discussed, and how to avoid them so that the experience of working together is a positive one for all parties involved.

Read more about cooperation between local authorities and community-based organisations HERE.

The above mentioned outputs were created in the context of the project “Enhancing youth capacity in municipalities and encouraging mutual cooperation using social entrepreneurship as a tool, LOCAL-Y-MPACT” The objective of the project “LOCAL-Y-MPACT” is to strengthen the cooperation between community based youth organisations and social enterprises and local municipalities, and promoting social entrepreneurship as an effective tool for reducing economic inequality, promoting social inclusion and integration, creating resilient society and fostering active participation within local communities.

Toolbox available in:


New peer learning network for Swedish-Baltic social entrepreneurs

Reach for Change Sweden, Social Enterprise Estonia Estonia, Social Entrepreneurship Association Latvia and the Lithuanian Social Business Association will pilot The Baltic Sea Impact Network - a new transnational network for peer learning between social entrepreneurs from the Baltic Sea region.  

The network is one of the 23 cooperation projects in the region supported with seed funding by The Swedish Institute. All four organizations collaborating on the project have years of experience in supporting social entrepreneurs and have proven their ability to mobilize entrepreneurs and stakeholders at a national level in their respective countries.

“The obstacles faced by social entrepreneurs are largely comparable across the wider Baltic Sea region - they struggle with a lack of specialized funding, low visibility, and few opportunities for long-term capacity building. Our joint experience has proven that peer network and cooperation opportunities are crucial for the development of social entrepreneurs, as it allows for shared problem-solving and replication of best practices.”, says Kristine Verpeja - Baltic Program and Partnership Manager at Reach for Change and coordinator of the project.

“During the current time of uncertainty, there is an urgent need to support social entrepreneurs and innovators with such cooperation as this. We are happy for this partnership and are going to put possible efforts and resources to make this pilot a success story for a long-lasting format for the future,” shares Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Director of the Lithuanian Social Business Association.

30 social entrepreneurs from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be invited to join the network. They will undergo a self-assessment to best determine their needs and interests, and over the course of 13 months they will be guided through a programme of monthly peer learning sessions and expert workshops (for ex. with public sector authorities, corporates, impact investors). In August 2023, all network members will be invited to meet in-person in Riga, Latvia for the project’s final event. 

The aim is to help the network members learn new skills, connect with like-minded peers from neighboring countries and increase the access of  social entrepreneurs to relevant stakeholders. 

The ongoing feedback by the network members will assist the consortium partners in adjusting the network model and gathering initial results on its impact. The long-term ambition would be to formalize the concept, pitch it for further funding, and eventually replicate and expand it across additional markets in the Nordic region and wider Europe.