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Parliament: Uniforms

Question for The Lord Chairman of Committees

UIN HL2688, tabled on 15 October 2015

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the process for procuring uniforms for parliamentary staff includes criteria for sustainable and ethical sourcing of textiles throughout the supply chain.

Answered on

29 October 2015

New uniforms are procured through a Parliamentary framework for corporate clothing. The new Procurement Regulations (Public Contracts Regulations 2015)which came into force earlier this yearallow the two Houses to specify much more by way of social and ethical criteria. In line with the values contained within the House of Lords Strategy for the Administration of "obtaining value for money while recognising our corporate responsibility to wider society” and "environmental sustainability", the framework for corporate clothing includes the following criteria relating to sustainable and ethical procurement:

  • All suppliers must have ISO certification or an acceptable environmental policy.
  • All suppliers must have an acceptable equal opportunities policy.
  • All clothing must be inclusive and take into consideration the needs of all groups particularly in relation to protected characteristics such as: disability, gender, religion, ethnicity and the provision of maternity wear.
  • The materials used must be ethically sourced, durable and hard wearing while retaining aesthetic and design elegance.
  • Within their business objectives the two Houses are aspiring to be seen both in the UK and abroad as a model of good practice. The contractor is required to support the two Houses to further develop these aims in relation to this contract i.e. to maximise responsible purchasing, ensuring compliance with employment legislation and good practice, and reducing environment impacts during the life of this contract.
  • To support the two Houses’ environmental aims and contribute to sustainability, it is preferable that the majority of garments supplied are machine washable at lower temperatures.
  • The contractor must ensure that any changes in suppliers used in the delivery of the contract will ensure full compliance with appropriate environment and equalities considerations as detailed in the specification.