Public Procurement

Respond, Reset, Restart and Recovery

May 12, 2020 by No Comments | Category COVID-19, Scottish Procurement

Over the past month, buyers across the country have been working hard to support their organisations, suppliers and their communities. A lot has been achieved, yet there is no doubt that we will be dealing with the uncertainty and challenges associated with this virus for the foreseeable future.

While the return to our new normal is anything but clear, work is already underway across the public sector on what actions will be needed to help re-start our economy. On 21 April, Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture announced the government’s four step economic plan which focusses on the ‘4 Rs’ – Response, Reset, Restart and Recover.

We thought it might be useful to summarise some of the work delivered to date against this framework and highlight where our plans are evolving

Respond & Reset

We are simplifying our processes to ensure that we make the best use of our resources and have the flexibility to respond quickly to emerging challenges and priorities. In support we have:

  • Issued a Scottish Public Procurement Policy Note, highlighting the flexibility buyers have within the current rules to place contracts at this time;
  • Streamlined procedures to give deputy directors, and above, in Scottish Government greater autonomy to approve urgent contract awards up to £50,000 without competition;
  • Published guidance, offering hints and tips on simplification and reminding public bodies of the range of procurement procedures available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Released a Construction Policy Note, which offers the opportunity for electronic signatures on trust documents for project bank accounts (PBAs);
  • Issued guidance to allow public bodies to apply for up to one year extensions, to leases due to expire during the current Covid-19 crisis .

We are supporting our suppliers through the crisis by offering relief, including helping to address potential cash flow issues. In support, we have:

  • Published guidance, promoting prompt payment of invoices and highlighting options to help suppliers at risk because of the current crisis;
  • Maintained a focus on prompt payment with earlier intervention on invoices not cleared for payment and supporting SG business areas to advise them on how to deal with contractors seeking supplier relief.
  • Issued tailored policy guidance for construction procurements which also supports the COVID-19: Guidance For Construction Sector;
  • Amended Scottish legislation to extend the period of time before Landlords may apply to end commercial property leases for non-payment of rent, from 14 days to 14 weeks

We are focused on supply chain continuity, leveraging existing cross sector collaboration at this critical time.

  • We are working closely with colleagues in the NHS, Central Government, Local Authority and Higher and Further Education communities to address common challenges, including the procurement and distribution of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and testing;
  • We have actively risk assessed SG contracts, are continuing to work closely with suppliers through this period , considering options to provide relief for critical suppliers at risk;
  • We have been dealing with a number of accelerated Covid-specific and urgent procurements.
  • Our collaborative agreements can provide a quick and easy route to secure common goods and services, full details can be found on our contracts directory.

Next Steps

Over coming weeks, our focus will increasingly turn to Restart and Recover. We’re working on developing our strategies and plans alongside our Scottish Government Economy and Policy colleagues, the procurement Centres of Expertise and industry representatives. Whilst it’s early days, work is currently evolving along the following lines:

Restart

  • National policy guidance
  • Alignment of contracting plans
  • Construction industry support

Recovery

  • Identifying and targeting emerging priorities
  • Clarifying construction pipelines
  • Cross-functional/organisational interventions

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