Scottish Government procurement annual report: 2018

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

5. Sustainable procurement and our approach to engaging SMEs, the Third Sector and supported businesses

Improving access to public contracts for SMEs, the Third Sector and supported businesses is a key part of our approach to meeting the sustainable procurement duty. We also implement low carbon solutions where appropriate.


We continue to develop our procurement strategies to make our contracts more accessible for SMEs. As a result, in our collaborative procurements we consider splitting up larger value contracts and frameworks into specialist or geographical requirements. We also consider placing multi-supplier frameworks in order to create other supply chain opportunities wherever possible. These approaches enhance the opportunities for smaller firms that otherwise might not be able to bid.

For example:

  • We awarded five multi-supplier marketing services frameworks in summer 2017. All 23 suppliers are SMEs operating in Scotland.
  • Scottish SMEs won our Interpreting and Translation Services framework.

As a direct result of Scottish Government procurement activity:

  • Over 200 SMEs were awarded contracts with a value of £250 million in this reporting period.
  • Almost 700 SMEs were involved in our supply chain as sub-contractors, increasing our spend through SMEs by a further £114 million.

To help SME and Third Sector organisations who wish to tender for public sector contracts, we developed an updated Supplier Journey. This includes guidance on bidding for goods, services, health and social care contracts. It also includes information on where suppliers, from all sectors, can seek further support and training.

The Third Sector

The Ready for Business Register of social enterprises has been reviewed and updated. We worked with the Third Sector to include organisations that identify as supported businesses and incorporated this information into the Social Enterprise Register. The register is available on the Partnership for Procurement website.

We awarded contracts to three Third Sector organisations worth around £9 million in total. In addition to awarding contracts to Third Sector organisations, all national collaborative framework agreements placed by the Scottish Government are open for use by Third Sector organisations. For example, 68 charities and housing associations use the national framework for the supply of electricity.

We continue to fund ' Partnership for Procurement', a programme that provides a range of support specifically to Third Sector organisations wishing to form consortia to bid for public sector contracts. We also deliver support and training in tender writing for Third Sector organisations linked to the Just Enterprise Third Sector programme.

Supported Businesses

Our Procurement Strategy highlighted the importance we place on providing opportunities for supported businesses to participate in public procurement. Procurement legislation defines supported businesses as businesses for which the core purpose is the social and professional integration of disabled or disadvantaged persons and where at least 30% of the employees of those businesses are disabled or disadvantaged persons.

We extended our Supported Business Framework until September 2018. The framework provides an easier route for public bodies to contract with supported businesses on that framework for the following goods and services:

  • Textiles and Personal Protective Equipment ( PPE).
  • Furniture and associated products.
  • Signage.
  • Document management.

Within the reporting period, we awarded 13 contracts to supported businesses at a value of £9.7 million. In addition there are four subcontractors on live contracts which are supported businesses.

This has included the award of Fair Start Scotland contracts and Work First Scotland contract to two supported businesses providing employment for disabled and disadvantaged workers at a value of £33.8 million over a three-year period.

Low carbon solutions

Examples of where we considered low carbon solutions include the following contracts:

Warmer Homes Scotland

During the 2017/18 financial year, just over 4,900 Scottish households benefited from an installation under Warmer Homes Scotland, leading to an average CO2 reduction of 1.6 tonnes per household. This equates to a total CO2 saving of just over 7750 tonnes.

Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency

The Framework for Non-Domestic Energy Efficiency comprises 12 suppliers, each able to deliver energy efficiency works and services via a range of technical solutions that will provide guaranteed energy performance.

The framework supports the delivery of Scotland's Climate Change Plan by helping public bodies reduce CO2 output and achieve carbon reduction commitments ( CRC).

In the reporting period, we awarded seven contracts under the framework. The estimated capital spend on these projects is approximately £8 million, with projected savings of around £1 million.

IT Consumables

Our Framework for IT consumables includes targets for the recycling of ink cartridges. In the first year of the framework the supplier recycled 41% of cartridges which contributes to the Scottish Government's overall sustainable procurement policies.


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