Procurement activity: annual report 2021 to 2022

An overview of public procurement activity in Scotland for 2021 to 2022, based on information contained in individual annual procurement reports prepared by public bodies and other relevant information.

Ministerial Foreword

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to dominate the headlines and impact our day to day lives; an unprecedented, global event that brought a vast array of challenges, of which we are still seeing the impact today.

Procurement was at the forefront of keeping Scotland’s essential public services running; working with suppliers to protect the continuity of supply; managing increased demand; developing new and diversified supply chains; driving collaboration and making best use of innovation.

This report focuses on the years 2021 to 2022, a period which saw Scotland begin to emerge from the pandemic whilst facing new economic and social challenges that now faced the economy and society.

During the 12 month period outlined in this report, Scottish public bodies used their combined spending power of £16 billion to deliver a wide range of essential goods, works and services whilst also responding to the COVID-19 pandemic – procuring essential vaccinations, PPE and medical supplies, building new infrastructure to support services moving online and swiftly developing new ways of working in the hybrid world.

As we entered the next chapter in the pandemic and our recovery, we recognised this as an opportunity to introduce a bold and ambitious blueprint for Scotland’s future. We want to use our significant public spending power to make Scotland a better place to live, work and do business. Procurement plays a vital role in this. Our aim is to use our considerable spending power across the public sector to foster inclusive economic growth, to generate equal opportunities for all and to support and accelerate a just transition towards a net-zero economy.

This report is structured around the four key outcomes which underpin the delivery of public procurement in Scotland. As such, it demonstrates the steps that public bodies have taken over the course of the year to deliver their procurement activity in a manner that is good for businesses and their employees, good for society, good for places and communities, and open and connected. This period saw a range of new challenges for the Scottish public sector - From the reintroduction of services across the health sector; providing universities and colleges with online learning resources, hybrid classrooms and counselling services; helping public bodies safely start to implement hybrid functionality; working with social landlords to ensure routine services and overall maintenance were reintroduced; the enabling of testing and vaccination programmes throughout Scotland; ensuring the necessary support was reaching vulnerable homes and continually protecting critical services and functions.

As many public bodies and suppliers moved their operations online, the sector remained committed to being open and connected. This report also highlights examples of how public bodies continued to operate and engage on a local, national and international scale, not just in managing supply chains, but promoting the impact that innovative public procurement can make on wider sustainable outcomes. More locally, public bodies continued to engage with SMEs, supported businesses and third sector organisations within their supply chains. These efforts resulted in a significant amount of spend with Scottish-based SMEs.

As the Nation continued to deal with the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we were faced with new challenges from external factors, including the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, Brexit and the cost of living crisis. Throughout all this, Scotland maintained its focus by using procurement initiatives to create a vast range of positive economic, social and environmental outcomes for individuals and organisations, making Scotland a better place to live, work and do business.

Tom Arthur MSP – Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance



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