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Public Procurement Reform


In April 2015, the Public Procurement Reform Board (PPRB) published “Transforming Procurement, Accelerating Delivery”, a review of the second phase of public procurement reform 2010-2014.

The report recognised that the recommendations from John McClelland’s 2006 Review of Procurement in Scotland - Report and Recommendations were now effectively business as usual, with future emphasis shifting to a new set of strategic objectives that underpin a more succinct vision for procurement as it transitions from a programme environment:

“Delivering procurement that improves public services for a prosperous, fairer and more sustainable Scotland.”

Scotland’s approach to procurement in 2016 builds on the hallmarks of the procurement reform programme - business friendly, socially responsible procurement, making the purchase of services much quicker, cheaper and better, and supporting small and medium-sized businesses.  There has been a subtle shift from ‘government-led, public sector owned’ to a ‘truly collaborative approach’, in a period framed by legislative and regulatory changes.

What does this approach seek to achieve?

Public procurement in Scotland will deliver local economic, environmental and social benefits, at the same time contributing to our role in a global economy where ethical and sustainable procurement is demonstrated on a worldwide basis.

Promoting inclusive growth, our public procurement contracts will be amongst the most accessible in the world to micro, small, medium, and third sector organisations, providing an opportunity for Scotland’s SMEs and third sector organisations to benefit through public sector business both domestically and in other countries.

The supply chains that deliver goods and services supporting Scotland’s publicly funded services will be designed, competed, awarded and delivered efficiently and effectively, maximising opportunities for collaboration, while delivering excellent public services which meet the needs of local people.

With public sector finances continuing to be constrained, against the backdrop of an economy that is growing again, public procurement in Scotland will need to deliver savings and benefits that will enable our public services to continue to meet the demands which matter most to the people of Scotland.

What’s being done to support this approach?

An annual procurement work-plan that feeds in to wider economic plans for Scotland was endorsed by the Public Procurement Reform Board (PPRB) in 2015.

A report on the 2015 work-plan has been published which shows all of the high level milestones under each of the five strategic objectives of the Procurement Reform programme along with their expected completion date. All of the milestones are working towards the vision of Scottish Public Procurement “Delivering procurement that improves public services for a prosperous, fair and more sustainable Scotland."

The work-plan also provides an end of year progress update on each of the milestones. Each milestone is presented in a table with a progress update and a red, amber or green circle to show whether the milestone has been completed, is delayed or has not been progressed.

baseline document for 2016 has also been developed and will be managed by the Procurement Reform Delivery Group and Strategic Forums

There continues to be changes in governance to reflect the transition from a programme environment.  In October 2015, the PPRB became the Ministerial Strategic Group - Procurement (MSG-P), a leadership group which supports the Cabinet Secretary.

As a group of leaders, it draws from each publicly funded sector, industry, commerce and the third sector.  It provides strategic direction and contributes to ministerial decision making that delivers substantial benefits from the supply chains which supports and deliver Scotland’s public services.

What does it mean for me?

In the short term, individual organisations will be required to develop their working practices to align with the legislative and regulatory requirements introduced by the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and the implementation of the EU Directives.

Statutory guidance and models of best practice have been published to support organisations. They:

  • help public bodies meet their duty to prepare and publish procurement strategies and annual procurement reports

  • support contracting authorities meet their duty to comply with the sustainable procurement duty in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014

  • help public bodies to exploit the facility to use community benefits

  • help public bodies apply exclusion grounds, selection and award criterion for regulated and EU-regulated procurements

    In the medium term, outputs will be developed to support organisations in embedding sustainability through procurement, improve access for suppliers, increase collaborative working across the sectors, advance the capturing and recording of data and information, and support individuals and organisations to help procurement thrive.