eInvoicing Directive to be transposed into Scots law
The EU published Directive 2014/55/EU on the introduction of electronic invoicing for public procurement on 16 April 2014. It requires contracting authorities to be able to automatically receive and process electronic invoices from suppliers.
This is the first time the eCommerce Service and Best Practice team has taken on the responsibility of transposing an EU Directive. The Scottish Government (SG) has rigorous procedures and guidance in place covering the transposition of EU Directives but it was a steep learning curve!
Although procurement is a devolved matter, on a number of occasions we discussed and exchanged views with the Cabinet Office, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly on the approaches being taken to transpose the Directive.
After engaging with colleagues from our legal team, procurement policy team and digital engagement team, a Business Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) was created. This assesses the likely costs, benefits and risks of any proposed primary or secondary legislation that may have an impact on public, private or third sector organisations.
To make sure interested stakeholders had the opportunity to comment on the introduction of eInvoicing, a public consultation took place over a 12 week period during 2018. Some challenges were identified but the overall response to the consultation was very positive. Work continued to finalise the Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) – the legal mechanism to transpose the Directive into Scots law.
The SSI was signed by Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 16 January 2019 and the SSI was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 18 January 2019.
Timescale for compliance
The Directive will come into force on 18 April 2019 through amendment to the Public Contracts, Utilities Contracts and Concessions Contracts Regulations. From that date, central contracting authorities, including some central government bodies and the NHS, will be obliged to comply with the Directive. All other contracting authorities, including local authorities, will have a further 12 months to comply.
The Scottish Government eInvoicing solution was initiated in 2013. Between then and January 2019 over 500,000 eInvoices have been processed delivering savings of approximately £6.5m.