Scottish procurement policy handbook

Rules and standards for public procurement. This document has been replaced with an updated Policy Handbook, published in May 2024.

10 Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR) in public procurement (including sustainable procurement) is essentially about how, as part of overall value for money and affordability considerations, contracting authorities take account of the economic, social, environmental and equality impacts of their purchasing activity, maximising the positive outcomes and minimising the negative.

It is essential that when contracting authorities buy goods, services and works they spend public funds in a way that achieves value for money. Contracting authorities and end-users can make a significant contribution towards meeting wider CSR objectives by including, wherever it is sensible and legitimate to do so, such objectives within the overall assessment of value for money and affordability. Generally CSR issues can be taken into account only where they are directly related to the subject matter of the particular contract in question. It is generally not permissible to take into account aspects such an organisation's overall company policy on Corporate Social Responsibilities or the environment, where such policies are not directly relevant to the performance of a particular contract.

A short introduction to incorporating CSR in procurement is available at:

Guidance on how to incorporate environmental issues in public procurement is available at:

Guidance on how to incorporate social issues in public procurement has been published by the Scottish Procurement Directorate and is available at:

The key messages are that it is possible and very often desirable to incorporate economic, social and environmental issues in public procurement 22 , provided that doing so offers a value for money outcome, complies with legislative requirements and is directly related to the subject matter of the contract. The greatest impact will be gained by considering such issues at the outset and building them in at the beginning of the procurement process. Further guidance on CSR issues is available at:

The Office of Government Commerce's Centre of Expertise on Sustainable Procurement can be accessed using the following link:

Further information on the EU Green Public Procurement initiative is available at:

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