Procurement - SME and third sector action plan 2024-2026: equality impact assessment

Equality impact assessment to support publication of our Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and third sector procurement action plan.

Policy Context

Current Scottish Government procurement policy and legislation identifies how Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Third Sector organisations are critical to the social, economic and environmental health of Scotland. There is currently a range of support and guidance provided to make it as easy as possible for SMEs and Third Sector organisations to bid for and win public contracts as well as to participate in local supply chains and promote innovation.

Recently we published the one-stop-shop Guidance on Public Procurement for SMEs and Third Sector Suppliers which summarises tools, sources of support, hints and tips and case studies to help suppliers engage with public procurement in Scotland. At present however there is not a plan of action with timelines for implementing and maintaining support to SMEs and Third Sector organisations.

Who will it affect?

SME’s and Third Sector organisations who engage or wish to engage with Public Sector Procurement. Specifically this includes:

  • SMEs and Third Sector Organisations, who are the intended beneficiaries
  • All other suppliers and potential suppliers to Scottish Government – while not the target audience of the plan, suppliers of all scales and sectors will be able to refer to the information and resources published within the plan.
  • Contracting organisations and agencies across the public sector, which will need to be aware of the contents of the Action Plan and have due regard for the actions contained.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

There may be challenges that prevent the desired outcome being achieved. These include, but are not limited to (together with compensating actions undertaken):

  • Low levels of adoption and awareness among the intended audience. This is being addressed through proactive engagement both across the public sector and with key external stakeholders and partners
  • Competing priorities and challenges in public sector procurement. All additional costs of the Action Plan have been minimised to make implementation cost-neutral and avoid creating any additional financial burden to stakeholders.
  • Social, Economic or Political change/disruption. The overarching nature of the Action Plan has been devised in order to allow it to be applicable in and responsive to future activities within Public Procurement.



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