Procurement activity: annual report 2019 to 2020

Overview of public procurement activity in Scotland for 2019 to 2020, based on information contained in individual annual procurement reports prepared by public bodies and other relevant information.


1 The term ‘public bodies’ refers to all organisations which are subject to public procurement laws. This includes central government, local government, universities and colleges, health bodies and registered social landlords.

2 A regulated procurement is any procedure carried out by a public body in relation to the award of a proposed contract with an estimated value of £50,000 and above for goods and services and of £2 million and above for works.

3 The information on the Hub relates only to spend figures for suppliers that were classed as commercial organisations or as non-trade social care providers, and with whom individual public bodies have spent £1,000 or more in aggregate in that year.

4 The spend data from the Hub and the majority of annual procurement reports data relates to the financial year April 2019 to March 2020. However, the financial year for universities and colleges runs from August 2019 to July 2020 and this is reflected in the data. Second, the bulk of the spend data from the Hub referred to in this report relates to spend in Scotland only (i.e. with suppliers in Scotland, based on known postcodes which are obtained from a supplier’s invoice address) unless otherwise stated, while the annual procurement reports cover contracts with all suppliers regardless of location. Third, much (but not all) of the data from the annual procurement reports covers spend on regulated procurements only, while the Hub data is based on accounts payable spend. Last, not all public bodies which submitted an annual procurement report had their spend data published on the Hub, and vice versa.

5 ‘ONS region’ is a reference to regional boundaries determined by areas specified by the Office for National Statistics.

6 The Scottish Government later issued a series of SPPNs and a separate series of Construction Policy Notices during the COVID-19 outbreak to provide guidance to public bodies and support ongoing goods, services and works-related matters during the pandemic.

7 The Input-Output model provides an overview of the flows of goods and services in the Scottish onshore economy over a given year, providing information about the relationship between producers and consumers and the interdependencies of industries. For more information, see the Scottish Government website.

8 Note that one supplier registration does not necessarily equate to one supplier. This is because more than one registration can be received from the same supplier.

9 As at March 2020.

10 Information on the number of Scottish public procurement suppliers is based on clustered groupings of a combination of supplier name, address or classification information, not the legal entity for each supplier. Therefore this figure is an estimate.

11 On the Hub, in order for procurement spend to be classified as registered charity spend, the relevant supplier’s website must contain information stating they are a registered charity (for example by including the relevant charity number), or the supplier must be identified as a registered charity when using information from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and/or the Charity Commission.

12 The business categories are based on the ‘vCode’ classification, which was developed and is owned by the third party supplier responsible for providing the Scottish Procurement Information Hub. This classification is used by the Hub to analyse spend with suppliers in different business categories. The coding of suppliers to the different business categories is based on the supplier’s main area of business and not the specific goods and services purchased under any given contract.

13 For more information on the procurement of PPE from March 2020 onwards, please see a report published by Audit Scotland on the subject.

14 The combined total supplier figures referred to in this section may not represent unique suppliers. A supplier may be awarded a regulated contract by more than one public body, in which case they would be counted once by each public body they have been contracted by.

15 The urban/rural classification provides a standard definition of urban and rural areas in Scotland. The classification is available in a variety of forms, such as the basic two-fold classification which defines postcode areas as simply ‘urban’ or ‘rural’. The classification takes into account population size in different postcode areas and, where relevant, distance (drive time) from nearby settlements.

16 Based on data provided by 86 public bodies. Note that when combined, the figures add up to more than 100% because many public bodies reported delivering more than one type of community benefit during the reporting year.

17 For examples of the guidance issued during the reporting year by the Scottish Government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, see SPPN 04/2020 and SPPN 05/2020.

18 The four Centres of Expertise are: Scotland Excel (for the local government sector); the Scottish Government (for central government bodies); APUC Limited (for universities and colleges); and NHS National Procurement (for health bodies).

19 Figures for the universities and colleges sector are based on academic years – some past reports were compiled based on fiscal years so may be reported slightly differently.



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