Scottish Government procurement annual report: 2018

Report on the procurement activity of the Scottish Government from January 2017 to March 2018.

3. Key Priorities

Procurement is a key part of The Scottish Government's approach to achieving its purpose of creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. This is underpinned by the National Performance Framework , by Scotland's Economic Strategy and our annual Programme for Government which sets out our plan for policy delivery and legislation over the next year.

The sustainable procurement duty has been aligned with the National Performance Framework. The National Outcomes and Indicators are embedded in the sustainable procurement tools which provide a structured approach to what we procure. They help to identify opportunities to include economic, social and environmental considerations in contracts and show how our procurement activity contributes to the National Outcomes and, in turn, to Scotland's Economic Strategy.

We develop sourcing strategies that are supported by the Sustainability Test and the Sustainable Public Procurement Prioritisation Tool (SPPPT) for each procurement project valued at £50,000 or more.

Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty is how we contribute to and track our contribution to the Scottish Government's purpose and priorities. Key priorities are defined in Scotland's Economic Strategy as:

  • Promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through a fair and inclusive jobs market and regional cohesion.
  • Investment in our people and our infrastructure in a sustainable way.
  • Fostering a culture of innovation and research and development.
  • Promoting Scotland on the international stage to boost our trade and investment, influence and networks.

3.1 Inclusive growth

We have defined inclusive growth as 'growth that combines increased prosperity with tackling inequality; that creates opportunities for all and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity fairly'.

Procurement contributed to inclusive growth by:

  • Providing training and employment opportunities.
  • Driving fair work practices.
  • Promoting equality and tackling inequality through improving access to our contract opportunities for SMEs, the Third Sector and Supported Businesses.
  • Seeking low carbon solutions.

3.2 Investment

Infrastructure investment in support of better and modern public services and growth in the Scottish economy remains a top priority for the Scottish Government. Our infrastructure investment project pipeline was updated in March 2018.

Procurement underpins our investment in people, infrastructure and assets. We used well-designed procurement of goods, services, and works as a driver of business growth and innovation with many of our procurement projects directly enabling the Scottish Government's wider ambition in this regard. One example includes Next Generation Broadband.

In December 2017, we advertised plans for a Competitive Dialogue procurement process for Next Generation Access ( NGA) Infrastructure as part of the wider reaching 100% Superfast Broadband Programme to be conducted during 2018. The resulting contracts will deliver access to NGA broadband infrastructure capable of delivering speeds of at least 30Mbps to as many premises in Scotland as possible by the end of 2021. Aligned activity will ensure the 100% commitment is delivered.

Public sector procurement bodies undertaking infrastructure investment related projects are also subject to the requirements of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and will be issuing their own Annual Reports.

3.3 Innovation

Public procurement has a key role to play in supporting and promoting innovation in the way public sector services are provided in Scotland.

Our CivTech® Programme addresses public service challenges in an innovative way, rather than relying on established methods. The project involves public organisations setting civic challenges which smaller businesses are encouraged to tackle using innovative solutions. It enables the rapid development of creative, cost-effective solutions delivered by those businesses. CivTech® is providing pathways for tech SMEs and start-up businesses to secure public sector contracts. It offers real opportunities to deliver even better services for people and even better value for service providers.

The CivTech® approach is valued in procurement because of the innovative way it finds solutions to challenges and helps solve the problem of "how do we procure technology that we don't know exists?".

Started in 2016 as a pilot, CivTech® was the first pan-public sector tech accelerator of its kind. It has already demonstrated its ability to build businesses and create jobs, while driving improvement in the delivery of public services as well as enhancing our international reputation for innovation. Following its successful pilot, the second phase of CivTech® was launched during the reporting period, with challenges ranging from a smarter booking system for outpatient appointments, to using data to improve global perceptions of Scotland, to combatting bird of prey persecution. CivTech® 3.0 launched in June with ten challenges ranging from tackling illicit trading; improving hospital waiting times; to driving up standards in social housing and protecting the digital footprint of young people.

We also introduced a Dynamic Purchasing System ( DPS) for Digital Services. This innovative and completely electronic approach encourages SME participation (the DPS has over 260 suppliers of which over 80% are SMEs) and drives wider competition for digital projects, resources and cyber services.

3.4 Internationalisation

Our approach to improving public procurement is recognised internationally, whether it be in developing suppliers, leading innovation, or through our international engagement in supporting the development and sharing of best practice.

Our involvement with suppliers and their supply chains is aimed at developing their potential to bid for public contracts, whether they are advertised in Scotland, the UK, further afield in Europe or the rest of the world.

Within the reporting period;

  • We were a 'subnational pioneer country' as part of the international initiative under the Open Government Partnership. This is aimed at government and civil society working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms, one of which relates to public procurement. As part of the Open Government Partnership Scottish National Action Plan 2017 we developed the Scottish Procurement Open Contracting Strategy. The open contracting strategy states our intention to publish even more coherent and consistent procurement information in a format that is useful and easily understood. We also outlined our phased approach to implementation where we gradually increase the amounts and types of information we publish.

As part of our open contracting work, we took steps to make sure that the procurement information published on the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) website is in line with the internationally recognised Open Contracting Data Standard by:

  • Applying the Open Government Licence to Scottish Government information published on PCS. This encourages information to be re-used by third parties under a royalty free, perpetual licence.
  • Further promoting re-use of our contract notices and award notices by making them available to download in an open data format.
  • Making sure that, where the PCS mailbox is being used, procurement documents are now permanently available after the closing date for receipt of tenders.

We are regularly asked to participate in international programmes, conferences and events. We also regularly host visits from other governments and this reporting period was no different.

During the reporting period we were active participants in the 'European Commission's Multi-Stakeholders Expert Group' on eProcurement which assists and advises Member States and the Commission in implementing the provisions of the new public procurement Directives relating to electronic procurement, in particular influencing the revised European Single Procurement Document model published by the Commission.

We were an active member of the European Commission's Expert Procurement Stakeholder Group, supporting its efforts to develop a strategy and approach to underpin the "Professionalisation of Procurement" in Europe. Scotland is prominently represented in the library of good practices and tools accompanying the European Commission's ' Recommendation (EU) 2017/1805 on the professionalisation of public procurement — Building an architecture for the professionalisation of public procurement', which focuses on the effective uptake of new provisions in the public procurement Directives to modernise, professionalise and digitalise public procurement practice. Four case studies from our Scottish Government Model of Procurement are highlighted in the accompanying document as exemplars of best practice:

  • (Case 19) SCOTLAND – Procurement Competency Framework including the global strands set out by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply;
  • (Case 40) SCOTLAND – Procurement People of Tomorrow programme;
  • (Case 45) SCOTLAND – eCommerce Shared Services; and
  • (Case 49) SCOTLAND – Procurement Journey: An online step-by-step guidance.


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