engage magazine issue 003 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'07 - Page 54

54 sustainable PROCuReMent POliCY The policy will create more ethnic minority millionaires in the United Kingdom than at any other time in our history, of that I am absolutely sure. Lee Jasper (GLA). Q. What does this policy mean for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) enterprises and other minority-owned businesses in London. My own view is that we are very much where Atlanta (USA) was, in the early 70’s when the then African American mayor announced that he was going to build a new airport in Louisiana and decided to set a 25% target of black business suppliers for the airport. At that point in time, black businesses were around 4% of all Atlanta city contracts. Over a period of 30 years coming up to the present day, through Atlanta’s supplier diversity policies, which were backed by a legal framework - and one has to remember ours are not, - they grew from 4% to 38% of the entire business community in Atlanta. I see us as very much taking the very first steps down this road. I think that we’ve got a very low base in terms of existing companies and accessing city contracts and we are going to have to grow minority-owned organisations. We have the Olympics in 2012 and city authorities will spend £5 billion a year, every year, between now and 2012, so it’s a good opportunity for those micro-businesses to begin to raise their game, to think about mergers i.e., coming together to provide services in order to capture bigger contracts. We’re already seeing the evidence of tier I and tier II contractors actively looking around to engage with ethnic minority suppliers, so we’re at the beginning of a very long road but we have started it and it’s a hugely exciting policy. in all, the policy has the same sort of accountability that we have around our equality policies generally. Q. How will you bring this policy to life. How we will make it happen is not simply by policy. We are now procuring an electronic brokerage system for contractors, vendors and businesses. What that will do, is put the raft of public sector contracts on-line so businesses will be able to register on-line and get email alerts on all the contracts as they become available. Amongst other things, businesses will be able to see who has previously won contracts and be able to talk to the procurement officers involved in the contracts. Q. Its all very nice having policies, but what is the accountability structure and who will monitor. The accountability structure is quite simple, how many contracts that people from our communities get and win. The policy will be monitored centrally and we will have a contract procurement team who will monitor the extent of every single contract and “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the means have been made available and spearheaded by the Mayor of London. My concern now, is that the clarion call to black and minority ethnic businesses is such that people begin to consolidate...” we will be establishing operational targets in each of the major functional bodies, within the GLA group, dictating to what extent we expect to see improvements made in the penetration of city contracts. I will be producing an annual report to say how well we’ve done and what our aspirations are, year on year. So all Q. Have you put any milestones in place. I read that the GLA strategy was to become leader within the EU on sustainable procurement by 2009. Well that is our aim and our goal. We are ready to lead on supply side diversity. We had a recent conference with the International Labour Organisation which engage | uk ISSUE THREE 2007