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Local solution improves Ramsjö's public meal program

Ljusdal, Sweden

A local entrepreneur in Ramsjö village has taken over public meal provision for elderly residents – a service which was previously a municipal responsibility. Residents’ satisfaction with the service has increased since the new solution has been implemented and the social interaction enabled by the local approach has had a positive effect on well-being. The more localised approach has also had a positive effect on local development through jobs creation and increased revenues for the local food store.

Innovative public procurement

Ramsjö pilot project was implemented as part of the project Innovation Procurement X. The overall aim of the project was to explore and test how innovative public procurement can be used as a tool for finding new methods for meeting societal challenges. The Ramsjö pilot project focused specifically on improving the way that public meals are provided to elderly residents.

Public services run by local actors

Provision of public meals for elderly residents, previously a municipal responsibility, has now been outsourced to a local entrepreneur in Ramsjö village. As a result all public meals eaten in Ramsjö are cooked locally and distributed to residents daily. Previously the public meals were cooked in Ljusdal (60 km away) and delivered to elderly residents only once per week. All public purchases of food in the village are now being made through the local food shop. The municipality is currently carrying out a feasibility study exploring whether all public services in the Ramsjö district could be outsourced and run by local actors.

Satisfied service users and new jobs in the village

The new solution has increased residents’ satisfaction with the service with respect to taste, quality and increased variety of food. The new solution also provides an opportunity for the elderly to eat meals together. Increased social interaction with the staff and other community members has also had a positive effect on well-being of the elderly. Positive implications of the change for local development include job creation and increased revenue for the local food store.

Daring to try new ways of service delivery

The knowledge and capacity-building support that have been provided by the project leader, Inköp Gävleborg, has been invaluable to the initiative’s success. The pilot project provided the opportunity to collect extensive data on the actual needs of service users prior to the development of the solution. The willingness to innovate and the courage to try out new solutions by the social care staff, municipal authorities, and the local entrepreneur have also been a key ingredient.

Knowledge and capacity-building

Resources were required to build the knowledge and capacity of municipal actors and social care providers on innovative public procurement. Vinnova funding has been used to finance the Innovation Procurement X project, which generated knowledge to inform the pilot. The implementation of the pilot project was financed with municipal funds.

Key learnings for municipalities

Innovative public procurement is an effective tool through which to facilitate the emergence of innovative solutions to public service provision. It creates possibilities to develop solutions that truly respond to end-users’ needs, be more efficient from a cost benefit perspective, and facilitate involvement of private and third sector actors in services provision. This process requires local and regional actors who are knowledgeable about public procurement as a tool for social innovation, as well politicians who have the courage and commitment to test new solutions.

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Page last updated September 2016.