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.

Annex 1 – Workstreams

Policies and processes

To facilitate the publication of more procurement information in line with OCDS, the following changes will be made to existing policies and processes that will allow us to more efficiently publish additional information to achieve greater transparency:

  • A standard transparency clause will be added to all contracts to make our intentions regarding the publication of information clear to suppliers.
  • As not all spend is associated with a contract, standard wording will also be included as default within Scottish Government purchase orders to ensure that all suppliers are aware that we may publish their information.
  • Supporting guidance may be produced.
  • Procurement information should be reviewed to identify areas which can be proactively published to help us reach the OCDS intermediate level of information published. For example, publication of contract documents. Research and consultation with buyers has demonstrated that the time taken to redact contract information ranges from 30 minutes for simple contracts up to a couple of days for the most complex.
  • The formats of existing publications should be, where applicable, updated to reflect open data formats

eCommerce Shared Service

We will review Scottish Government eCommerce systems in order to proactively publish more procurement information and implement open data standards. This will ensure that the systems facilitate the publication of more information and enable it to be published in an open format in line with OCDS.

The key components of this are:

  • The Open Government License will be applied to information published by Scottish Government via our eCommerce Systems
  • Open data standards will be built into applicable systems including open APIs, allowing us to reach the 4 star level on the OCDS.
  • Existing reporting functionality within systems will be reviewed and, where possible, will be made publically available in line with relevant legislation and privacy policies.
  • Information we publish will be freely available without the need to register to access it.
  • The requirement to comply with and enable open data standards will be built into all future procurement exercises for eCommerce systems going forward.
  • The terms and conditions and privacy notices of all eCommerce systems will be reviewed and updated, to ensure that users are made aware of how their information will be used and published in accordance with Freedom of Information and Data Protection legislation.

The target date for implementation of these actions is December 2018.

Open contracting portal

We recognise that it would be preferable to have published information available in one place as it facilitates the joining of information from various sources and enables more engagement. To achieve this we will develop an open contracting portal in order to provide a central location for our procurement information. Planned activities include:

  • Specifying, building and maintaining an Open Contracting portal.
  • Consulting widely to understand what information needs to be available to ensure that the open contracting portal is useful and presenting the information in a way which is accessible to all audiences with meaningful visualisations.
  • Providing information from relevant SG eCommerce systems automatically via application programming interfaces ( API), this is consistent with the 4 star publication levels on OCDS.
  • Providing the opportunity to include other complimentary information, for example our Annual Procurement Strategy

Our aim is to launch a beta version of the Open Contracting portal in 2018.


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