Scottish procurement: open contracting strategy

Strategy to enable us to publish information about our procurement exercises, ensuring greater transparency on how we spend public money.


The Scottish Government recognises and values the importance of the open government principles of openness, transparency and citizen participation, and has been an active participant in the open government community. As a result, Scotland has been chosen to be part of the Open Government Partnership pioneer programme. The commitments published in our resulting action plan will help us to meet the First Minister's aim to be the "the most open and accessible government that Scotland has had". [1]

A key component of Open Government is greater transparency around public spending to ensure that the people of Scotland have a better understanding about how government works. As part of our action plan, we committed to developing an Open Contracting Strategy and publishing procurement information in accordance with international standards. This strategy will result in procurement information being proactively provided in a coherent, consistent form that is easy to understand for communities, the third sector and citizens.

Open Contracting is defined by the Open Contracting Partnership as:

"publishing and using open, accessible and timely information on government contracting to engage citizens and businesses in identifying and fixing problems" [2]

We have an established track record for making procurement information available through the Public Contracts Scotland website. Making more information available in a way that allows it to be easily re-used and shared is a new way of approaching the publication of information and will require us to take further action. A recent survey by the Scottish Information Commissioner shows that 84% of people agreed that public bodies should publish information on their contracts [3] .

In recognising the importance of open and accessible information we published our Open Data Strategy in 2015. This set out our ambition for making data open and available for others to use and reuse and affirmed the adoption of the G8 Open Data Principles: Open Data by Default; Quality and Quantity; Useable by All; Releasing Data for Improved Governance and Releasing Data for Innovation.

This strategy, once implemented, will enable us to publish regular information in relation to our procurement exercises, ensuring greater transparency on how the Scottish Government spends public money. By 2019, we will publish more information in an open format in one central place. This will include the invitation to tender documents and other relevant contract documentation.

Whilst this Open Contracting Strategy is for Scottish Procurement, other public bodies may also find it useful when developing their own strategies for making procurement and contract information more open and transparent.


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