1. This Scottish Procurement policy note (SPPN) provides details of how a contracting authority should notify Scottish Ministers of the publication of its annual procurement report, including completing and submitting the template provided at Annex A. This SPPN also provides information on notifying Scottish Ministers of the publication of a revised procurement strategy.
2. All contracting authorities with an annual regulated procurement spend of £5 million and above must produce an organisational procurement strategy under section 15 of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”).
3. It requires a contracting authority, which is obliged to prepare or revise a procurement strategy in relation to a financial year, to publish an annual procurement report on its regulated procurement activities as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that financial year.
4. The 2014 Act also requires Scottish Ministers to publish an annual report on procurement activity in Scotland; the first such report was published on 4 April 2019. It provides an overview of public procurement activity and is informed by the individual annual procurement reports published in 2018 by contracting authorities in Scotland. This report does not touch on all areas where public procurement can have an impact, but it does support increased transparency and visibility of public procurements.
Action required when publishing an annual procurement report
5. While a contracting authority needs to be given sufficient time to prepare and publish its individual annual procurement report, the 2014 Act requires that it does so as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of its financial year. This is important, as doing so will support increased transparency by ensuring, for example, that its stakeholders have early visibility of the regulated procurements that it expects to commence in the next two financial years.
6. The timing of the publication of individual annual procurement reports is also an important consideration in the preparation of the Scottish Ministers' annual report on procurement activity in Scotland. This is because the Ministers’ report will be based on information contained within annual procurement reports published by individual contracting authorities.
7. Based upon experience of reports published by contracting authorities during 2018, it is not unreasonable to expect an annual procurement report to be published no later than five months following the end of the authority’s financial year. For example:
- if a contracting authority’s financial year runs from April to March, then it is expected that its annual procurement report will be published no later than the end of August
- if a contracting authority’s financial year runs from August to July, then it is expected that its annual procurement report will be published no later than the end of December
8. Last year, the expectation was that reports be published within four months of the financial year end. Whilst the majority of authorities managed to publish their report within that time frame not all did, and that experience suggests that five months is more realistic.
9. All annual procurement reports published within five months of the end of the relevant authority’s financial year will therefore be included in a high-level analysis that will be carried out in preparation for the Scottish Ministers' annual report on procurement activity in Scotland. Individual annual procurement reports not published within this timescale may not be included in the analysis.
10. Annual procurement reports must be published and made available online. On publishing the report, the 2014 Act requires a contracting authority to notify Scottish Ministers by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to where the report can be accessed. Contracting authorities should also complete the template attached as Annex A and include it with their email enclosing a link to where their annual procurement report can be accessed.
11. While individual annual procurement reports meet legislative requirements set by the 2014 Act, they will also describe the organisational aims and objectives of individual contracting authorities. This means that there is some necessary variation in the content of the published reports. At the same time though, it is important to ensure consistency of the information that will be common to all annual procurement reports, which will be helpful to the reader of individual annual procurement reports, and for the analysis of those reports. The template has been developed following our experience of analysing individual annual procurement reports published in 2018.
Action required when publishing a revised procurement strategy
12. A contracting authority which expects to have procurement expenditure of £5 million or more in the next financial year must, before the start of that year, review its procurement strategy, make such revisions to it as the authority considers appropriate and publish its revised strategy.
13. Revised procurement strategies must be published and made available online. On publishing a revised procurement strategy, a contracting authority must then notify Scottish Ministers by sending an e-mail to ProcurementStrategies@gov.scot with a link to where the revised strategy can be accessed.
14. For guidance on the content of an annual procurement report or procurement strategy, please consult the relevant chapter of the Statutory Guidance Supplementary guidance for an annual procurement report and a procurement strategy are available from the Procurement Journey
15. Please bring this SPPN to the attention of all relevant staff, including those in Agencies, Non-Departmental Public Bodies and other sponsored public bodies within your area of responsibility.
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The Scottish Government
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