Scottish procurement policy handbook

Rules and standards for public procurement. This document is under review and whilst it reflects general process, references to legislation may not be current. Please see the Procurement Journey for our latest guidance.

6 Competition

Competition promotes efficiency and effectiveness in public expenditure. Awarding contracts on the basis of value for money following competition contributes to the competitiveness of suppliers.

Goods, services and works should be acquired by effective competition, including adequate publication of the contract opportunity, unless there are convincing and justifiable reasons to the contrary.

Subject to any relevant legal obligations, for example under the EC procurement rules, the form of competition should be appropriate to the value and complexity of the goods, services or works to be acquired. Contracting authorities should keep bidding costs to the minimum necessary for effective competition and should remove barriers to participation by, for example small firms, the self-employed and the third sector without discriminating against others. Consistent with legal obligations, during competition any minimum standards required should be proportionate to the contract in question.

Guidance on publication of contract opportunities is available on the SPD website:

To facilitate compliance with the requirement for adequate publicity, the public sector in Scotland has access to a national advertising portal called Public Contracts Scotland through which advertisements for contracts of all levels can be placed. The portal enables free of charge access to public sector contracts for potential suppliers, thereby providing a means of stimulating competition.

The portal is available at:

Contracting authorities may also publish advertisements on their own websites or other portals and in trade or other relevant publications or journals.

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