Public procurement at Barcelona City Council could be a real political-economy tool. It generates thousands of jobs and a large number of contracts that pour millions of euros into the city's economy. This potential must be used to bring about a general improvement in the environmental and working conditions of the productive sectors, fostering the common good and offering support to small and medium-sized businesses, which comprise the hub of economic activity in Barcelona.

That is the City Council's aim in presenting a social public procurement guide for the first time. A guide that specifies social-inclusion measures and ensures functional diversity and gender-equality principles, by requires tendering companies to comply with minimum responsibility criteria. It also promotes a business model based on decent wages and stable employment contracts and includes criteria that encourage employers to hire people who are unemployed and in a situation of social exclusion. On top of that it envisages contracts reserved for special work centres and social insertion enterprises, as well as other non-profit organisations, and promotes the role of social economy enterprises.

This guide is the result of discussion and consensus with business sectors, trade unions, associations and citizen organisations. Their contribution has been a key factor in moving towards out joint goal of sustainable and inclusive development, which sees public procurement as a social and economic transformation tool for a production model that respects the rights of people while seeking maximum social and economic return.

We want Barcelona to be a benchmark city, which guarantees equal opportunities for all, along with social and environmental rights. This guide is an example of democratic participation and aims to build an innovative and more humane city, where economic activity has a social responsibility and public investment helps foster a fair and balanced society.

Ada Colau
Mayor of Barcelona


Every year, Barcelona City Council awards contracts worth 590 million euros for goods and services (nearly a quarter of its budget).
That'smore than 1 billion euros, if you take into account the whole municipal group.

12,830 Contracts made by the Barcelona City Council

Barcelona City Council wants this economic driver to help to change the economic and social model.

How? By encouraging contractors to opt for a bigger social return with a participatory business model, showing concern for the area and the people who live there.

So it is promoting the Social Public Procurement Guide, a social and economic transformation tool for people and the common good that expands the range of companies able to take part in public tendering processes, so ensuring financial security.

This guide has to be applied by the entire City Council and all the companies and other bodies with a majority stake in the municipal group.

New social criteria

Social rights

  • Gender equality

    Contract-performance requirement: the contractor must submit a gender equality plan and measures.

  • Joint responsibility
    for work-life balance

    Contract-performance requirement: that means ensuring workers can reconcile work with their family and personal life.

  • Universal accessibility

    Contract-performance requirement: whether the contractor has the corresponding measures in place has to be verified.

  • Workers with disabilities

    Contract-performance requirement: whether companies so required are complying with the minimum requirement that 2% of their workforce are people with disabilities has to be verified.

Workers' rights

  • Sticking to the sector agreement's terms and conditions

    Contract-performance requirement:
    that the contractor maintains the sector's wages and working conditions.

  • Stable workforce

    Award criterion:
    evaluation of the company's employment policy in employing workers on open-ended contracts.

  • Fair wages

    Award criterion:
    that the company offers higher wages than those set by the sector agreement.

  • Transferring workers
    over to the new contract

    Contract-performance requirement:
    certain contracts will guarantee that the people who were already providing the service will be kept on.

  • Evaluation of the price

    Award criterion:
    price does not always have to be a deciding factor in making an award.

New economic model

  • Boost for the cooperative, social and solidarity economy

    Contract-performance requirement:
    depending on the type, part of the contract must be subcontracted to a company in this sector.

  • Ethical public procurement

    Contract-performance requirement:
    compliance with social and working regulations in the production process and commercial distribution.

  • Protecting small and medium-sized businesses

    Contract-performance requirement:
    the City Council will pay the subcontractor directly if the main contractor defaults.

New governance

  • Social participation in public procurement

    Representative social organisations may be invited to take part in evaluating the offers.

For sustainable and inclusive growth

Participants in drawing up the guide

The organisations and bodies that took part in defining the Social Public Procurement Guide are:

  • Catalan Association of Cleaning Companies (ASCEN)
  • Catalan Association of Support Services and Multiservices (ADEDSA)
  • Catalan Association of Leisure, Education and Culture Companies (ACELLEC)
  • Spanish Association for the Competitiveness of SMEs (AECPYMES)
  • Barcelona Chamber of Commerce
  • Catalan Chamber of Public Works Contractors (CCOC)
  • Cecot
  • Comissions Obreres de Catalunya (CCOO)
  • Confederation of Cooperatives of Catalonia (COOPCAT)
  • Intellectual Disability Catalonia (Dincat)
  • Catalan Social Action Entities (ECAS)
  • Barcelona Federation of Residents' Associations (FAVB)
  • Federation of Insertion Companies of Catalonia (FEICAT)
  • Catalan Federation of Special Work Centres (FECETC)
  • Federation of Worker Cooperatives of Catalonia
  • Foment del Treball Nacional
  • International Foundation of Women Entrepreneurs (FIDEM)
  • Gremi de Constructors d’Obres
  • La Confederació - Coordinadora d’Entitats del Tercer Sector
  • Patronal Micro, Petita i Mitjana Empresa de Catalunya (PIMEC)
  • Unió General de Treballadors de Catalunya (UGT)
  • Solidarity Economy Network (XES)
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