Public procurement: priorities 2021 to March 2024

The Public Procurement Priorities were decommissioned in April 2023 upon the publication of the Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland.


The Public Procurement Priorities were decommissioned in April 2023 upon the publication of the Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland. The below page reflects the Public Procurement Priorities as they operated from May 2021-April 2023.

In this time, the priorities operated as a set of pragmatic considerations which enabled procurement leaders to align in their response to Covid, Brexit and the supply chain challenges which emerged as a result. The Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland builds on the foundations established by the Public Procurement Priorities in its establishment of clear strategic objectives which all public bodies can align to and deliver against.

In May 2021, following consultation across the public sector and with representatives from business and the third sector, the Public Procurement Group (PPG) published a set of seven priorities for all public procurement leaders across Scotland. Following a period of review, these have now been updated for 2022-23, with minor changes to the previous year.

In October 2021, we engaged with a number of Heads of Procurement in order to capture a snapshot of cross-sector progress against the priorities. Thank you to those that provided responses. This facilitated the production of the Heads of Procurement Progress Reporting Against the Public Procurement Priorities Report (2021-22). The report was shared with Heads of Procurement in April 2022 in order to support the identification of priority areas where performance was strong, as well as, priority areas where there was scope for improvement.

A similar request will be issued to Heads of Procurement towards the end of this year to capture progress against the Public Procurement Priorities for 2022-23. The priorities are as follows:


Leadership and visibility

High level aims:

  • engage and influence organisation leaders and stakeholders
  • raise profile with better communications internally and externally
  • identify and own escalated issues

Delivery/ success statement for all Procurement Leaders

We will increase the visibility of procurement, reviewing and refreshing our existing engagement with key stakeholders internally and externally, improving our communications and ensuring that all leaders understand their role in driving and enabling impactful procurement.

We will identify, mitigate and manage risks and issues acting on the outcomes of the various reviews on the impact of the sustainable procurement duty - including feedback from suppliers. We will continue to actively support cross-sector working.

Sustainable economic recovery

High-level aims:

  • mainstream sustainable procurement and related tools
  • use of intelligent data & local partnerships
  • inclusive and responsible supply chains
  • understand what good looks like, tracking performance and tackling opportunities to deliver better outcomes

Delivery/ success statement for all procurement leaders

We will, where appropriate, broaden the impact of the Sustainable Procurement Duty, seeking to deliver wider socio-economic benefits for the communities which we are part of and which are part of our supply chains. This will support responsible procurement practices, including inclusive environmental and economic wellbeing, identifying and pursuing equality outcomes in relevant procurements and embedding Fair Work First principles in more contracts and supply chains.

We will continue to maximise opportunities for local and third sector businesses to bid for and win contracts, and support public bodies to maximise their procurement spend locally through the intelligent use of procurement data.

Supply chain resilience (Public Sector)

High-level aims:

  • manage business continuity through supply chain shocks
  • build/support immediate and longer term resilience in critical supply chains
  • collaborate on opportunities to grow capacity and capability in targeted sustainable supply chains

Delivery/ success statement for all procurement leaders

We will assess and mitigate key commercial risks associated with geopolitical, societal and health developments to assure supply chains that underpin public and / or private sector services, mitigating and managing risk.

We will ensure immediate and longer term resilience is embedded in to critical supply chains and identify opportunities to target, create or grow sustainable supply chains through collaborative working, including implementing targeted guidance on building, growing, and maintaining critical supply chains within the rules.

Maximise impact of the sustainable duty

High-level aims:

  • understand and exploit any flexibility within current rules and our international obligations to support economic recovery
  • explore further options to maximise priority outcomes and financial wellbeing to ensure Scotland maintains its competitive position in the world

Delivery/ Success statement for all Procurement Leaders

We will assess the coordinated feedback from a range of targeted approaches to test the impact of the sustainable duty.

We will assess what’s desirable and possible practically, legally and politically, and develop a plan to address the findings as appropriate through targeted leadership, capability, policy, tools, data and effective reporting and/or other appropriate vehicles.

Climate emergency (including carbon reduction and a circular economy)

High-level aims:

  • embed climate considerations in a  ‘whether’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘how much’ we buy approach
  • integrate climate action in contract and supplier management activities.
  • seek local leaders, stakeholders and suppliers commitment to developing cross-functional roadmaps that exploit opportunities for economic development while delivering on our climate ambitions

Delivery/ success statement for all procurement leaders

We will mobilise the public sector’s £14.6bn procurement spend to support our climate change and circular economy obligations. We will take part in an aligned cross-sectoral approach, building on existing networks to secure high-level buy-in, clarify expectations and gain traction on the call to action.

We will identify and mitigate risks, exploiting opportunities and priorities through in-sector and cross-sectoral ways of working.
We will develop integrated cross-functional climate impact reduction roadmaps (ie construction, heat, travel, fleet etc) that may also exploit opportunities for economic development in delivering our climate ambitions.

We will benchmark industry best practice and work collaboratively across the public sector to develop practical approaches and buyer capability to influence a green recovery and wider climate and circular economy ambitions.

Achieving professional excellence (against national policy and standards)

High-level aims:

  • create and develop the talent we require now and in the future to deliver on our ambitions
  • develop and/or implement collaborative targeted capability programmes to build skills and competencies, driving consistency in approaches
  • ensure that training and professional development continues to be available to the sector during the pandemic and post-pandemic period

Delivery/ success statement for all procurement leaders

We will work to champion, support and enable the professionalisation agenda including talent creation, where we will collaboratively plan, scope and consider next steps on national entry scheme options; and grow, support and enable a diverse PPoT community.

This will include working to support and encourage ‘conversion’ from other disciplines or from private to public; and talent development, where we will understand and address national priorities; develop, map and signpost targeted offerings and events, exploiting the ‘CoAction’/ masterclass concept, commercial capability offerings and sharing sector approaches; and champion CPD/accreditations to underpin the commercial competence of buyers across Scotland.

We will support professional standards for recruitment and development (aligned to the Competency Framework), improving policy into practice and application, raising and applying a high consistent standard this will include.

As Public Procurement leaders we will work collaboratively to explore people development approaches and tools already in place across sectors; and will co-develop leading people development approaches and programmes that can be utilised on a cross- sector basis.

We will continue to support and facilitate, and as individuals undertake, the training required by procurement professionals and those spending public money to deliver public value.

Develop our use of systems to drive sustainable outcomes and support reporting

High-level aims:

  • embed national and tailored sectoral systems and best practice tools across the Scottish public sector and supply base
  • increase the visibility / use of other systems in use across sectors
  • develop a strategy to enable the sharing of these systems and tools across sectors to enhance outcomes

Delivery/ success statement for all procurement leaders

We will encourage and support use of collaboratively developed national and sectoral systems and best practice tools to exploit sustainable outcomes, support national reporting and bring benefit across public bodies.

CoEs will ensure that there is visibility of system solutions in use or available to use and their strategic development (such as PCS, PCS-T, Procurement Hub and PECOS) and maximise efficiency and effectiveness, where possible, making them available for use across the public sector. 

Utilising “shared solutions to shared needs” will be the aim wherever possible, whilst recognising that one size does not fit all and that niche requirements may not be fulfilled by the available systems.


If you have any questions about the Public Procurement Priorities or attendant progress reporting activity, please contact

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