On 28 January 2011, the European Commission published Guide to the application of the European Union rules on State aid, public procurement and the internal market to services of general economic interest, and in particular to social services of general interest. The guidance is intended to help public authorities, especially at local level, to provide high quality and efficient services in accordance with EU rules. It provides answers to a number of questions on the application of the legal framework.

On the same date the Commission also published Buying Social: a guide on taking account of social considerations in public procurement. This is intended to help public authorities buy goods and services in a socially responsible way consistent with EU rules, encouraging efficient use of public money. It also highlights the contribution that public procurement can make to stimulating greater social inclusion, although it does not go so far as to allow local labour clauses, in the strict sense, which remains a difficult issue.