Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Could Brent Labour follow Newcastle's lead on ethical procurement?

Brent Council during the apartheid era took action over severing links with companies that benefited from South African contracts.  More recently they declined to take similar action regarding the Public Realm contract with Veolia which at the time was providing infrastructure support to illegal settlements in Palestine.

Now the government is seeking to curtail the powers of local councils to have an ethical pesnions and procurement policy.

Newcastle City Labour Party has passed the following motion unanimously and expect to get it through Full Council.

I hope that Brent Labour group will take a similar stand.

Here is the motion which could easily be adapted for Brent:

Response to Government’s attack on a Councils’ right to follow an ethical policy in relation to procurement and Pensions Fund investments
Council notes with alarm the recent statement from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) confirming that new guidelines will be introduced early in the New Year which will curb councils’ powers to divest from or stop trading with organisations or countries they regard as unethical.
Council further notes that the new guidelines, which will amend Pensions and Procurement law, follow on from the government’s announcement made at the beginning of October 2015 that it was planning to introduce new rules to stop “politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns” (Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government).
Council recognises that the focus of these new measures may be on procurement and investment policies and that they may have profound implications for Councils’ ethical investment policies more generally.
Newcastle City Council is proud of its’ commitment to human rights and to putting this into practice through such measures as an ethical approach to its relationship with business as outlined under  Newcastle’s Social Value Commitment.
Council believes that the proposed measures now being outlined by the DCLG will seriously undermine the Council’s ability to implement its commitment to ethical procurement and pensions investments.
Council also notes that the new guidelines represent a further, serious attack on local democracy and decision-making through a further restriction on councils’ powers. This is directly contrary to the government’s own stated commitment to the principle of localism, given a statutory basis by the Localism Act of 2011, which holds that local authorities are best able to do their job when they have genuine freedom to respond to what local people want, not what they are told to do by government.
Newcastle City Council therefore resolves to take all legal measures possible to oppose these new measures, including:
·      Writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to express Council’s unequivocal opposition to the proposed changes as part of the consultation
·      Working with any other local authority, the NECA, the LGA or other appropriate forums as well other partner organisations (such as local trade unions and community groups) who share these concerns to raise awareness of the implications of the proposed measures and to campaign against their introduction

Newcastle City Council reaffirms its commitment to an ethical basis to its procurement and pensions investment policy.


  1. Soooo much easier to require ethical conduct from others.............

  2. We live in hope