4. Some other key policies and principles linked to public procurement
Sustainable procurement duty
The 2014 Act describes the sustainable procurement duty as “the duty of a contracting authority —
before carrying out a regulated procurement, to consider how in conducting the procurement process it can —
improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the authority’s area;
facilitate the involvement of small and medium enterprises, third sector bodies and supported businesses in the process;
promote innovation, and
in carrying out the procurement, to act with a view to securing such improvements identified as a result of paragraph (a)(i).”
This means that public bodies need to think about how each regulated procurement process carried out by them can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area as well as facilitating the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses and supporting innovation and to act on their findings.
Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty ensures that procurement activity is aligned to a range of policy priorities that are described in the National Performance Framework. The relationship between Scottish Government priorities and the sustainable procurement duty is described in more detail at section 2 of this document. Compliance with the duty also helps us to meet other legal obligations on procurement including human rights, equality and climate change obligations.
Human rights and equality
The Scottish Government is clear that individuals must be able to enjoy their human rights in full, must be treated fairly and without discrimination and must be able to make properly informed choices. This includes being able to participate effectively where decisions are made by a public body which impact upon their rights, whether services are delivered directly or are procured from third parties. We are committed to meeting our obligations under international human rights treaties. We are also working to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights ( UNGPs) which cover situations where the state either contracts with, or legislates for, business enterprises to provide services that may impact upon the enjoyment of human rights.
The Equality Act 2010 imposes both general and specific duties on public bodies including the Scottish Government. In essence, these duties require the Scottish Government, when delivering policy, to have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination;
- advance equality of opportunity; and
- foster good relations between people who share protected characteristics  and people who do not.
In common with wider human rights obligations the responsibilities imposed by the Equality Act 2010 cannot be transferred or delegated. More information about how equality considerations apply in our procurement process is available on our website.
Our approach to the sustainable procurement duty provides a mechanism to ensure consistent identification of opportunities to advance equality and reduce inequality. In addition the Scotland Act 1998 in combination with the Human Rights Act 1998 ensures that both Scottish legislation and the actions of public bodies are subject to an overriding legal requirement to comply with core human rights standards contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. Public bodies are also expected to act consistently with the requirements of other instruments, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the European Social Charter. A list of relevant treaties ratified by the UK can be found on the websites of the UN, Council of Europe and International Labour Organization. Also, in April 2017 provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 came into force for listed public authorities, which reinforce our commitment to consider how to support improved outcomes in relation to children’s rights.
Climate change targets
Our procurements contribute towards delivering the targets in climate change legislation. A core component of sustainable procurement is the reinforcement of other Scottish Government policies such as the Circular Economy Strategy, ‘Making Things Last’. The sustainable procurement tools identify opportunities to make appropriate use of and to protect Scotland’s natural resources in the following areas:
- Climate change in the form of low carbon initiatives.
- People and nature in the form of biodiversity, landscapes and natural heritage initiatives.
- Consumption and production in the form of waste reduction and energy efficiency initiatives.