RÉSEAU GRAND OUEST
Since its founding in 2006, the network “Réseau Grand Ouest - Public Procurement and Sustainable Development” (RGO) unites communities willing to introduce social and environmental requirements in their procurement policy. It includes hundreds of public authorities from the regions Low-Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Poitou-Charentes and Limousin, Indre-et-Loire, and other public legal entities.
The main priority of the network is helping the participants (the public authorities) to integrate social and sustainable criteria in procurement. RGO’s overall goal is to stimulate exchange of good practice and knowledge between its members. Members of RGO pool resources and share expertise on the implementation of sustainable procurement policies, the integration of sustainable development in public procurement, and the evolution of offers of “responsible” products and services.
The objectives of the Network are to:
An average of two three-day training sessions on public procurement are held in partnership with the ADEME per year.
At the end of each working group period, a guide on good practice (circa 100 pages) is published which also contains legal recommendations on sustainable criteria that can be directly used by other members or municipalities. During the working groups there are meetings during which minutes are taken and later reports written. These reports are then available to members who can use the resources (criteria, experience, sections of code, etc.) until the final guide is written and published.
RGOs core activity is about giving advice. Participants can ask for guides, models of tenders, or if RGO has already worked on issues, etc. Applications are increasingly numerous.
R.G.O. had a working group on "Grouping Orders (joint procurement)" (2010-2011) and the city of Angers and Angers Loire Métropole are leading a joint procurement for fairtrade coffee.
A discussion forum on the private part of the RGO website offers members a chance to ask questions about procurement topics and receive support in specific tenders. For example, if a participant is planning launch a tender and wants to know more information on best practice, they can ask on the forum.
For each working group, a meeting with suppliers is held in order to discuss challenges, such as legal and supply issues. The goal is to lobby suppliers to adopt sustainable public procurement as well as to discuss their work. RGO considers it important to know the market and the supply and to know the difficulties faced by suppliers to respond to tenders. The meeting is an exchange with suppliers selected by the working group. Questions are asked about their environmental efforts, Corporate Social Responsibility and other sustainability issues.
Monitoring and reporting of the network activities includes both an analysis of time spent and an annual activity report. RGO uses a reporting tool to analyse time spent by employees in the different network activities. Additionally, RGO prepares an annual activity report which includes all activities, such as number of meetings, existing working groups, and tools and materials developed.
Working groups are the network's flagship activity. Themes of past, present and future working groups are:
Since joining the Procura+ campaign, R.G.O. has been trying to promote good practices in Europe, for instance the network had relations with the city of Ghent in the framework of the group on cleaning products, where Ghent shared an experience with probiotics.
As part of guidance published, RGO has many examples of best practices for each topic covered in working groups. Examples include: