Public Procurement and Property

Public Procurement Group (PPG) look back on 2021!

December 22, 2021 by No Comments | Category Procurement news, Public Procurement Group, Scottish Procurement

As 2021 draws to a close we take a look back at what has been achieved over the last year in Public Procurement in Scotland.

We asked members of the Public Procurement Group (PPG) to try and summarise their sectors 2021 achievements…

Angus Warren Chief Executive Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC) gave an update on the Higher Education/Further Education sector.

“Despite the challenges of Brexit, Covid and global supply disruptions, the (HE/FE) sectors’ procurement community across institutions and APUC worked to very tight timescales. Ensuring that institutions could make campuses both available and safe for students to attend campus for the beginning of the new term and at the same time have all the tools and systems available to deliver a huge portfolio of learning on line where appropriate, in parallel.

The Climate & Procurement Forum’s From Now To 2030 Category Planning & Reporting tools have been launched across the HE/FE sector with some institutional and APUC examples already in place by November 2021 (in some cases much earlier). APUC have been coordinating with stakeholders across the professional areas that have a material impact on supply chain climate change (Procurement, Sustainability Teams, ICT, Estates etc) to develop a HE/FE Sector Supply Chain Climate Strategy with a within-sector consultation draft due by the end of 2021.

Institutional Heads of Procurement have collaborated with APUC to develop a six month Future Leaders Programme to take aspiring procurement managers from across the sector and provide a development programme to move them to becoming the future Heads of Procurement. The first workshop for the programme commences mid-December 2021.”

Gordon Beattie Director of NHSS National Procurement at NHS National Services Scotland said:

“2021 has seen NHS National Procurement and our health board procurement teams rise to new challenges as we have responded to the ongoing Covid 19 emergency. Stepping through the year each quarter has seen incredible achievements across all areas of our activities. These include:

  • Delivering on the most successful mass vaccination programme Scotland has ever seen
  • Securing and commissioning two huge additional warehouses, tripling our storage capacity to ensure good supply to our frontline services
  • Ensuring our frontline colleagues have available PPE and critical care equipment and consumables to tackle Covid 19
  • Delivering on a predominantly Scottish supply chain for PPE with 88% now made in Scotland creating jobs and resilience in the process
  • Launching our Community Benefit Gateway to link up local projects with supplier ambitions to help
  • Delivering a substantial commercial programme with 150 separate projects covering over +£600m of NHSS spend
  • Equipping three regional testing labs and securing a resilient Scottish supply chain increasing more local jobs on a long term basis
  • Rolling our PECOS to over 4,000 Primary Care Contractors to order PPE
  • Specifying , procuring and rolling out a new national Inventory Management System to our hospitals on a ‘Once for Scotland’ basis
  • Establishing a sustainable procurement focus through a new national steering group to ensure NHSS’s procurement teams can meet our climate change, net-zero and fair work ambitions

And now as we head towards the end of the year our teams are responding again to ensure NHSS can manage the threat from the Omicron variant. Making sure our population can get their booster jabs, access testing and ensuring our frontline services are equipped and protected to be ready to meet the needs of our population.”

Julie Welsh Chief Executive of Scotland Excel said:

“The environment has been a key focus for us all and brought more into focus with COP26 in Glasgow. It was one of the main themes of our Annual Conference, which was delivered online to more than 300 delegates. All the sessions were recorded and can be viewed on our learning Academy.

And the green theme continued through our current campaign Supporting Scotland’s Green Recovery that shines a light on the work that our members and suppliers are doing to support the Scottish Government’s ambitions for a greener, Net Zero Scotland by 2045.

New build residential housing remains a priority for us, our members and the Scottish Government and we were delighted when work started on the first social housing developments at the start of the year. With many now nearing completion and several more in the pipeline, there have been more than 950 affordable homes built, generating £180m for the economy.

Covid-19 and Brexit have created supply chain issues that have affected all sectors. Our teams have worked tirelessly to mitigate price increases and supply shortages, particularly in construction and food, which truly demonstrates the value of collaborative procurement.”

Barry Graham, Scottish Government supporting Central Government (CG) capability:

“We may have thought 2021 would be a bit less difficult that 2020 however we have faced continuing challenges regarding Covid and also Brexit and have come through all of this and better prepared us to take on 2022.  There was a lot of catch up procurement work for CG bodies following the opening up of the economy and credit is due to all organisations who rose to this challenge.  The sector continue to do a great job supporting each other and advising Scottish Government.
We have adapted to operate remotely but if anything we have strengthened our relationships!
Running the annual capability event on-line was a big challenge, moving from a one day event to five mornings.  However it resulted in over 200 attending rather than the normal 70 or so attending the COSLA conference centre.  We had great speakers and covered a lot of ground.  We expect to run more on-line events in 2022. 

A lot of groundwork has been completed designing the PCIP assessment and we will be working with relevant bodies early in 2022 to help them prepare.  We also have six or so new CG bodies so we will give these organisations a bit of extra help.

In 2021 we have been doing more to support the Climate Change emergency and the CG Implementation Steering Group have been a big help supporting this work.  Implementation of new guidance will be a challenge as it always is but we will be looking at how we can collectively support the sector and make significant progress – a lot is expected of public procurement in this area and can make good progress and do this in an efficient manner if we continue to work together.

I also want take this opportunity to thank those bodies who have used our Shared Services be it purchasing or capability development.

Our thanks to Angus, Gordon, Julie and Barry for their reflections of 2021. Look out for Director of Scottish Procurement and Property, Nick Ford’s end of year vlog coming soon for his thoughts!

To find out more about Public Procurement in Scotland, please visit

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