Communicating your first steps in an SPP Action Plan
Throughout this first section of the toolkit, we have gone through some of the key approaches you can take when considering Open SPP implementation. We have shown how to assess the current enabling environment, how to prioritize procurement categories, set specific SPP goals effectively to track progress, and what you can do to build capabilities and facilitate implementation.
In each of these sections, we have explained the importance of openly communicating your chosen SPP approaches, the reasons behind your decision, and how these will be implemented. An SPP Action Plan is the key way to bring all this together.
Having an SPP Action Plan will allow you to communicate to procurement practitioners what the current framework for implementing SPP is, what this means for them, and what actions will be taken to further adapt this framework.
What you can include in an SPP Action Plan
For guidance regarding how to structure that plan, it can be useful to refer to the following Sample Action Plan created by UNEP, which you can access here:
Key Open SPP elements to include in your Action Plan
We have identified the key steps that you can take when getting started with Open SPP. Below we explain how you can communicate this in your Action Plan, and provide examples of how this has been done by public authorities across the world.
In every country, public procurement is regulated by different laws, rules, and frameworks. One of the key steps when getting started with Open SPP, is identifying these frameworks, and assessing the scope they leave for the implementation of SPP practices. We explain how you can do this in the section Establish an enabling environment.
Communicating the result of this exercise in your Action Plan is an opportunity to establish trust by clearly defining how suggested Open SPP approaches fit into the current rules. In particular, the Action Plan should focus on communicating:
- Relevant laws, policies, and plans, and how they can be interpreted for SPP implementation. This includes referencing current regulation regarding evaluation criteria, and any existing SPP regulatory enablers.
- Changes or adjustments that will be introduced in order to increase the implementation scope. This can include, for example, establishing reserved contracts, or targets, for certain types of businesses, such as SMEs; or setting a procurement threshold to facilitate Open SPP implementation.
In the section Prioritize, we have explained how this can be also useful to guide the development of sustainability criteria, and promote standard, and consistent, implementation of Open SPP. Once you have conducted this exercise, you can communicate the results in your Action Plan, including the following information:
- Procurement categories which have been prioritized, as well as transparently sharing the reasons that have led to this decision.
- Guidance regarding sustainability criteria that can be used for each of the prioritized areas. This can include guidance regarding which regulations, ecolabels, or sustainability requirements, such as energy efficiency, should be included in tender documents. You can also include information regarding where to access this information, as well as including any plans for developing standardized criteria at the national, regional, or local level.
On pages 21 to 57, the Plan includes specific information for each category. This includes information regarding specific regulations and policies that should be considered to procure more sustainably in each area, specific accreditations available, green tender examples, and key proposed actions for the implementation of green procurement practices.
An essential part of all Open SPP action plans are the goals, outcomes, and indicators that have been set, and the system that will be implemented to measure progress against these.
In the Action Plan, you should include information regarding the goals that are pursued when implementing Open SPP, such as reducing carbon emissions, or promoting gender inclusion; the results and indicators selected to measure progress against these missions; and information regarding how these are going to be measured, including frequency, and assigned responsibilities.
For more guidance see section on monitoring & evaluation.
In the section Build support and capabilities, we have introduced some of the operational mechanisms that can be established to facilitate and enable implementation. These can include, for example, creating specific sustainable supplier catalogs, and activities designed to build capabilities amongst public procurement practitioners, and local suppliers.
Each objective is associated with certain outcomes, and activities, which mostly refer to the creation of supporting mechanisms. These include for example, “Develop guidelines and specifications for prioritized goods”, or “Develop a variety of communication and training products and interventions aimed at City staff”.
The City has given each activity a timeframe for completion, which varies from 1-2 years, 3-5 years, and 6-10 years.
As well as presenting chosen SPP approaches, it is important to clearly communicate who will be responsible for the established SPP approaches, as well as the budget that will be allocated to carry these out:
The implementation of Open SPP is normally carried out by different institutional bodies, at the national level this often includes the Ministry of the Environment, and any relevant National Public Procurement authorities. The Action Plan should clearly allocate responsibilities and accountability between government agencies (and any other relevant stakeholders).
The leading public authority is the National Public Procurement Agency (SERCOP) with support from the Ministry of the Environment. These two will also receive support from a working group which includes other ministries, such as the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), and the Ministry of Agriculture (MAGAP).
On page 28, a timeline with the activities that will be carried on during the first year of the plan is presented, assigning responsibilities to the different public authorities.
Many of the activities associated with the implementation of Open SPP practices will need government funding. The Action Plan should openly share the financial estimated costs associated with the implementation of the activities that will be carried out in order to develop the needed supporting and capability-building mechanisms, as well as to monitor and communicate results.
Consider how your Action Plan will evolve
Action Plans are often published every 3 to 5 years, although they can be reviewed and updated yearly if needed to measure progress against objectives and targets. When designing your first Open SPP Action Plan, it is important to also consider what is the current scope and ambition of Open SPP practices, and how these will evolve in the future. The aspects extracted from page 87 of the World Bank’s GPP Handbook, can be useful when considering the scope and ambition of your Open SPP Action Plan:
Many countries start by working on the implementation of Open SPP in specific institutions, such as selected central governments, and gradually expand the scope to include all central governments, autonomous agencies and local authorities.
Although countries start by selecting specific procurement categories to focus SPP efforts, which are usually those which result less complicated and can have the highest impact, these can be expanded to include those which result more complex. For more information on the prioritization process, see this section.
Environmental criteria recommended for inclusion in public procurement processes can also evolve in scope and complexity. Many countries start by recommending the use of environmental labels, and then include other calculations, such as GHG emissions, or Life Cycle Costing (LCC). This will mainly depend on the resources available, and market capability. For more information on recommending standardized sustainability criteria see this section.
- World Bank Group. 2021. Green Public Procurement: An overview of green reforms in country procurement systems.
- UNEP. 2021. Sustainable Public Procurement How to “Wake the Sleeping Giant”: Introducing the United Nations Environment Programme’s Approach.
- UNEP. Terms of Reference for the SPP Policy and Action Plan Expert.