Scotland's journey of achieving sustainable procurement outcomes 2002-2022: independent review

An independent review that looks back over the past twenty years of sustainable public procurement in Scotland and other parts of the UK. The findings showcase how the progressive approach to sustainable procurement in Scotland has achieved jobs, training and other positive outcomes.

Appendix 1: Topic Guide

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  • Details of role, length of time in the organisation, main duties etc
  • Their role in the procurement process/journey (PROBE FOR DETAILS AND REFINE INTERVIEW ACCORDINGLY)

History of procurement

  • Could we begin by discussing your understanding of the evolving role of procurement, and specifically, sustainable procurement leading to social impact within Scotland? And in the UK in general?
  • What have been your experiences in this area? (Probe for differences if have worked for more than one contracting authority)
  • What have been the key learnings/solutions?
  • What have been the key facets to moving this work forward e.g., policy/legislation/embedding/promotion/sharing of results/buy in at senior level?
  • What have been the main barriers?
    • what solutions have been put in place to overcome these barriers?
    • which ones still exist?

Current procurement practice

  • How would you rate the effectiveness of the current processes in place in procurement policy and legislation with respect to facilitating and driving wider economic, social and environmental benefits? PROBE
    • accessibility
    • threshold
    • frameworks
    • outcomes focused approach rather than monetary value
    • support provided via e.g., Procurement Journey and Supplier Journey, SPPNs, Climate and Procurement Forum etc.
  • What your opinions of the associated tools and guidance?
  • What resources/practices have been enablers?
  • How would you rate the support provided to SMEs and third sector organisation to be procurement ready? (Supplier Development Programme, Partnership for Procurement)

To what extent do you agree that

  • sustainable procurement outcomes are being integrated?
  • sustainable procurement outcomes are achieving significant positive impacts in Scotland?
  • Why do you say that?

And are you aware of how this information is recorded, shared, promoted?

What good looks like?

  • In your opinion, what does good look like in terms of sustainable procurement leading to social impact?
  • Do you have any feedback/evidence on the long-term impact of procurement in terms of sustainable outcomes?
  • What are the key factors that would define this?

Do you have any instances of best practice that you think should be shared? In relation to

  • social impact/community benefits/developing the supply chain
  • other sustainable procurements outcomes
  • Fair Work practices
  • innovative ways of engaging with communities to set local, as well as meet national priorities
  • considering equality and the impact on particular target/vulnerable groups
  • social impact being at the centre of the organisation's approach to procurement
  • social impact/community benefit and procurement being embedded in BAU activity within contractors (including roles created to support this)
  • collaboration leading to maximised outcomes – early engagement
  • how benefits relate to National Performance Framework
  • procurement of sub-contractors
  • contract management

And what are the key learning/themes that we should pull from this?

What are the best ways to promote/share this information so it can be implemented?

How can we be innovative in this approach?


What barriers exist? PROBE

  • buy in, negative perceptions
  • size of organisation – fair competition
  • measuring impact, additionality and sustainability
    • resources, cost and capability within organisation
    • detailing who has ownership for this once the contract ends
    • lack of evidence base of long-term outcomes
    • need for systematic monitoring
    • awareness of how social impact/community benefit relate to procurement
    • wide scope of what constitutes social impact and sustainability, consistent measures to indicate this
    • balancing local and national priorities
    • lack of clarity on definitions
    • perception that community benefit mainly relates to construction (generally short-term contracts so how does this link to sustainability?)
    • targeting of specific disadvantaged groups
    • accountability in delivery of outcomes

Learning from the UK

**refine depending on individual's role/awareness/understanding of UK policy and practice and repeat above questions accordingly

  • What is your understanding/awareness of how procurement works in other parts of the UK?
    What could we learn from this practice/these areas?
  • And what should the UK learn from what Scotland is doing?

Do you have any other comments in relation to sustainable procurement that we have not covered?



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