Scottish government outlines sustainable procurement goal

7 February 2012

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7 February 2012 | Adam Leach

Scottish businesses will get greater access to public sector contracts through a new law that will standardise procurement.

Speaking yesterday, Alex Neil MSP, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, said the Sustainable Procurement Bill would aim to open up public sector contract opportunities by making the tender process more standardised, transparent and better promoted.

The bill, which is still to be passed, will ensure that; all contract opportunities are advertised or awarded through Public Contracts Scotland, that public bodies adopt transparent, streamlined and business friendly procurement processes, and that all businesses are informed about the contract award decision so they may challenge them.

Neil, said: “We have already announced our intention to introduce a sustainable procurement bill during the life of this parliament and this bill will seek to ensure that major public contracts deliver training and employment opportunities through the inclusion of community benefit clauses [such as a bidding company commits to provide a certain number of apprenticeships if it wins a contract].

“Having listened to businesses’ concerns about procurement I can announce that the bill will also seek to ensure that all public bodies in Scotland adopt transparent, streamlined, and standardised procurement processes that are friendly to Scottish businesses.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses have been working with the government in identifying and implementing improvements to public sector procurement processes. There still, however, remains much work to be done and the need to quicken the pace of introducing this change.”

Yesterday, the first report by think tank The Jimmy Reid Foundation called for further reforms to Scottish procurement. One recommendation was for the government to carry out forward procurement. This would involve the identification of products or services that would meet a present or future need of the government that is currently unavailable and would offer a guaranteed amount of business to any company that could develop a solution that fits the requirements.

The report also called for Scottish purchasing organisations not to use British framework agreements unless they provide a good reason, and for splitting/unbundling contracts to become the norm in public procurement.


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