Scottish procurement policy handbook

This handbook provides guidance on the rules and policies that apply to the procurement activities of public bodies in Scotland and highlights some key legal obligations.

4. Continuous improvement

Public bodies should regularly assess their procurement capability to continuously improve the procurement and commercial skills of their staff. People involved in awarding and managing contracts should have the right level of professional skills, knowledge, qualifications or experience. This means seeing learning and development as an investment and tailoring it to individual and organisational needs. Doing so can increase the strategic impact of procurement spending decisions while keeping them legally compliant and delivering VfM. This can be achieved through training courses, coaching, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, job-shadowing and other forms of continuous professional development.

The Procurement & Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP)

Procurement Officers should be aware of the Procurement & Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP), which is a key tool for encouraging and enabling continuous improvement in Scottish public sector procurement. The PCIP assessment process is not an audit but provides a means of measuring and reporting on the procurement and commercial capability of public bodies. The relevant Centre of Expertise will confirm (in agreement with each public body) which level of PCIP assessment is required and when.

Professional skills

The National Procurement Development Framework tool can be used to assess skills, identify training and development needs, and support career planning. This free-to-use online tool hosts the national competency framework for the procurement profession in Scotland. It signposts related training available through the national procurement and commercial training frameworks and also from professional bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), the Association for Project Management (APM) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). The global standards of these professional bodies are also aligned in the tool to the national competency standards for Scotland.

Recruitment and retention

Public bodies should review their resourcing and talent management plans regularly. Attracting, retaining and developing procurement staff allows for longer term strategic planning, builds capability and protects against skills gaps in the future.

The Procurement People of Tomorrow (PPoT) programme focuses on encouraging, enabling and developing new entrants in the procurement profession across Scotland. Public bodies can benefit from modern apprenticeships, graduate programmes, internships, student placements and other programmes which encourage more diverse entrants into their procurement functions.



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