Public Procurement and Property

Public Procurement Priorities for Scotland: End-of-Cycle and transition to the Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland

June 21, 2023 by No Comments | Category Plan for the Future, Procurement news, Public Procurement Group

In April 2023, we published the first-ever published Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland. This strategy has been developed collaboratively, and sets out a high-level vision and route ahead for Scottish Public Procurement over the next five years. We’re thrilled by the feedback received to date and we look forward to opportunities that will emerge from an increasingly aligned public sector.

New beginnings such as this also serve as a point from which to look back, reflect on what has brought us to this point, celebrate good practice and identify areas of learning to facilitate more such practice in future. The Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland builds upon the success noted in the 20-year sustainable procurement review. The strategy was built on the foundations of the  Public Procurement Priorities, in operation from May 2021 – April 2023, which have now been superseded by the strategy.

The Public Procurement Priorities established a set of pragmatic considerations which enabled procurement leaders to align in their response to Covid, Brexit and the supply chain challenges which emerged as a result. The 7 Priorities included:

  • Leadership & Visibility
  • Sustainable Economic Recovery
  • Supply Chain Resilience
  • Maximising the Impact of the Sustainable Procurement Duty
  • Climate Emergency
  • Achieving Professional Excellence
  • Using Systems to Drive Sustainable Outcomes and Support Reporting

In addressing each of the above in recent years, a number of instances of cross sector good practice emerged. For example, in promoting a Sustainable Economic Recovery, the Provision of Carers and Winter Benefits Contract enabled associated procurement activity to have an impact on targeted communities; creating 6 apprenticeships, with recruitment of apprentices directed, where possible to postcodes within the 10% most deprived areas of Scotland.

In Maximising the impact of the Sustainable Procurement Duty, NHS Scotland’s National Distribution Service Logistics (NDS) hub leveraged its status as an anchor institution to create a number of well-paid full-time employment opportunities; this supporting broader efforts to leverage the £2.5bn of third party spend processed through NHS facilities such as the NDS logistics hub and comparable facilities.

Likewise, the prioritisation of impactful procurement can also be observed in the higher & further education sector, where the University of Strathclyde’s re-development of campus buildings and the student union was able to facilitate circa 260 employment opportunities, a variety of mentoring and student accreditation opportunities, and over £10k raised for charity.

Equally as impressive was the project’s delivery of 67% embodied Co2 savings as compared with a new build of equivalent scope, this amounted to the volume of energy required to power 3,350 Scottish homes for a year. In addition, the project ensured 6.8 million tonnes of waste were recycled, with 97% of this being diverted from landfill.

There is tremendous scope to broaden and build on good practice such as this as we transition to the era of the Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland. Such development is facilitated by the strategy in it reflecting an expansive view of what will be required to place procurement at the heart of a sustainable economy and maximise value for the people of Scotland. The strategy builds on the strong foundations of the Public Procurement Priorities through its establishment of clear objectives which all public bodies can align to and deliver against.

Where the Public Procurement Priorities and Public Procurement Strategy for Scotland present continuity is that they are not static, and will continue to evolve as appropriate to best address the needs and considerations of the period. This was the approach embodied by the priorities as the Scottish public sector turned from facing a health crises to an economic one; and will likewise be the approach required if the strategy is to maintain relevance, applicability and effectiveness across its five year life-cycle.

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