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 Open Contracting Data Standard ( OCDS) ( figure 1) is an internationally recognised standard that has been developed by The Open Contracting Partnership. There are two main components: the type of information we publish and the format (aligned with the 5* open data schema).

Adoption of the standard enables users around the world to publish information in machine readable formats, which facilitates its re-use and linking with other data, and the creation of tools to further analyse or share the information.

Planning the release of information in line with the Open Contracting Data Standard will help Scottish Procurement to measure its progress against a recognised standard, and to structure and prioritise the release of procurement and contract information.

Figure 1 Open Contracting Data Standard
Figure 1 Open Contracting Data Standard

Our current publications place us at point 1 in the diagram as we publish a basic level of procurement information (contract notices, tender documents) in a 3* format ( XML, CSV). As illustrated in the diagram above, this strategy recommends that we breakdown implementation into four phases to gradually increase the type and format of information we publish. We aim to reach point 4 by the end of 2019, this will mean publishing additional information in a 4* format.

When publishing this information we will adhere to the principles of FOISA and the Data Protection Act, recognising the need to protect commercial confidentiality and personal information.

It is recognised that the publication of more information may have an impact on resources. It is therefore recommended that an implementation team is established to take forward the recommendations in Annex 1 as well as provide a source of support to Scottish Procurement staff.

We will mitigate the resource impact by:

  • Carrying out a prioritisation exercise to identify the timeline of publication focusing on information that is publication ready or will require minimal buyer intervention. This will complement the phased approach to implementation and allow information to be published in a structured way.
  • Building open contracting principles into our existing systems, policies and processes. This will allow minimal disruption and may even identify areas for future efficiencies. Further supporting information is available in Annex 2.
  • Reviewing the current systems to enable the release of information in an open format where possible.
  • Regular communications and engagement including
  • Creating and issuing supporting guidance

By phasing the release of information, the implementation of this strategy will be less onerous and will help with managing any revised processes to become embedded within Scottish Procurement.


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