Scottish government consults on procurement reforms

13 August 2012

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13 August 2012 | Adam Leach

The Scottish government has launched a consultation on its proposed procurement reforms that are designed to boost jobs and apprenticeships.

The consultation on the government's Procurement Reform Bill, announced last Friday, calls for those working in procurement in the country and those with an interest in how public money is spent to come forward with their thoughts on the reforms. In particular, the government is looking to increase the impact of public procurement on apprenticeships and getting the unemployed back into work.

Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, said in a statement: “Over £9 billion is spent each year through public sector contracts and this bill will mean that money works as hard as it can for our economy. That will include producing more training opportunities, for example through making apprenticeships an integral part of major public contracts.”

The government has achieved a commitment for 3,500 jobs through contracts it has let, and intends to increase this number and maximise the impact procurement can have on training those out of work. It suggests all companies that win a public contract be required to submit an apprenticeship work plan. Other approaches being considered include writing in requirements for contractors to provide training to local people and giving targeted support for businesses that are delivering benefits to communities.

The proposed reforms also call for changes in the way suppliers are assessed. The consultation said: “We propose to use the Bill to introduce provisions which will allow public bodies in Scotland to address poor performing suppliers and inappropriate conduct, both in relation to the delivery of contracts and business standards and behaviour.”

Other recommendations include: simplifying the procurement process and accompanying documents; further support for SMEs and local businesses; and refining the bidding process to allow for more innovation.

Those wishing to respond should complete the questionnaire and email it to procurementbillconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. The deadline for responses is 2 November 2012.

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