Creating jobs through public spending

Scotland’s policies hailed in new report.

Scotland’s public sector is leading the way in using the purchase of goods and services to help people and communities.

A newly published independent review concludes that local businesses, communities and the environment are benefiting from the Scottish Government’s procurement policies, which make it easier for small firms to secure contracts and specify that bidders must show support for their local area.

An estimated 120,000 jobs were supported in 2020-21 with public sector spend worth £8.3 billion.

The review – Scotland’s Journey of Achieving Sustainable Procurement Outcomes 2002-2022 – states that “Scotland is regarded as a leader in the field of sustainable procurement”. 

It highlights specific cases where:

  • spend with Scottish food suppliers to provide meals to schools and care homes almost doubled in five years
  • a COVID-19 test kit sourced through Scottish businesses saved 182 tonnes of waste a year by reducing packaging
  • nearly 20,000 customers reduced energy bills through Warmer Homes Scotland efficiency measures installed by local suppliers
  • Scottish Prison Service contracts helped women leaving custody to find jobs

Business Minister Ivan McKee said:

“Public bodies spend £14.5 billion a year on procurement and it is important that local businesses and communities across Scotland are able to benefit.

“The Scottish Government’s policies help ensure that is the case, and make more effective use of public money.

“It is good to see this recognised as we continue our drive to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous economy for Scotland.”


Scotland’s Journey of Achieving Sustainable Procurement Outcomes 2002-2022.

The review by Harkins Research and Consultancy was commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, public bodies must consider and act on opportunities to achieve environmental, economic and social benefits through spending on goods and services.

The Scottish Government is consulting on Community Wealth Building legislation, to be introduced during this term of the Scottish Parliament, which further promotes the role of public procurement in supporting local businesses and transforming economies.


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