3. Public procurement in Scotland and key strategic priorities
The Scottish public sector spends over £11 billion a year buying goods, works and services. Through improvements to what we buy and how we buy, public contracts can help to support our shared purpose of creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
This is underpinned by the National Performance Framework, by Scotland's Economic Strategy and our annual Programme for Government which sets out our plan for policy delivery and legislation over the next year. The whole of the public sector in Scotland is expected to contribute to the Purpose. Public bodies are now working towards shared goals which are defined in terms of benefit to the people of Scotland rather than simple efficient service delivery.
Figure 2: National Performance Framework
To meet this expectation the sustainable procurement duty has been aligned with the National Performance Framework.
The sustainable procurement duty tools reflect the National Performance Framework and provide a structured approach to what public bodies buy. They help to identify opportunities to include economic, social and environmental considerations in contracts and show how procurement activity across Scotland contributes to the National Outcomes. Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty is the mechanism through which public procurement contributes to and tracks its contribution to the Scottish Government's Purpose and priorities.
Key priorities are defined in Scotland's Economic Strategy as:
- promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through a fair and inclusive jobs market and regional cohesion
- investment in our people and our infrastructure in a sustainable way
- fostering a culture of innovation and research and development
- promoting Scotland on the international stage to boost our trade and investment, influence and networks
We design our contract and procurement processes to contribute to these priorities as far as is practical and in a way that achieves value for money and makes contracts accessible to businesses, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the third sector and supported businesses.
There has been a substantial programme of activity across the public sector in Scotland to help improve public procurement since 2006. We have moved from a centrally led programme to a more collaborative landscape with a shared common vision, underpinned by the 2014 Act. That Act provides clear direction to public bodies and sets out clear procurement responsibilities and accountabilities, promoting local decision making.