7 Procurement Policy
In such a sensitive area as expenditure funded from the public purse, and given the level and diversity of procurement transactions and legislative requirements, it is fundamental that strong policy guidance is provided to those responsible for procurement in the public sector. There is a current practice of developing and issuing policy guidance and the area of tendering practices in the context of EU legislation has featured strongly in this.
Whilst policy documents are issued their significance is not fully appreciated and compliance appears to be inconsistent. There is a tendency to treat these policy documents as guidance for optional implementation rather than a requirement tied to the provision of funding.
A public sector-wide Procurement Policy Handbook should be established offering a standard and well-documented approach to be utilised across all of the public sector. Updates should be made as required and always in a timely manner.
The Policy contents of the handbook should be mandatory for implementation across all public-sector organisations and compliance measured and reported upon during audits and other reviews.
The responsibility for developing and issuing policy statements and guidelines and maintenance of the handbook should be formally confirmed to be with the Scottish Executive's Procurement Directorate.