Public Procurement and Property

Participation Framework Agreement

February 1, 2024 by No Comments | Category Contract Notices, Prior Information Notice, Procurement news, SMEs, Supplier Development Programme


“Scottish Government’s vision for public participation is that people can be involved in the decisions that affect them, making Scotland a more inclusive, sustainable and successful place” – George Adam MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business, 2023.

Since the Christie Commission on the future of public services concluded that services must be designed and built through collaboration, the Scottish Government has committed to increasing the use of participatory approaches.

‘Participation’ describes how people get involved in decisions which affect or are important to them.

Participatory democracy improves government decision making as people are involved in determining the outcomes that will impact them, their families and their communities. It is also a vital driver for public service reform.

The Scottish Government has made progress to involve people in the development of government policies, services and legislation. We have developed a participation guide and the Scottish Approach to Service Design for public sector staff to support the public to actively participate in the definition, design and delivery stages of government decisions.

We have also adopted a version of the International Association of Public Participation’s (IAP2) Spectrum of Public Participation to guide the organisation’s approach to engaging with the public:

  • Inform: To provide the public with balanced and objective information
  • Consult: To obtain feedback on analysis, alternatives, proposals and/or decisions
  • Involve: To work directly with participants throughout the policy/decision making process to ensure that their concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered
  • Collaborate: To partner with participants in each aspect of the decision, including defining the issues, developing alternatives and identifying preferred solutions
  • Delegate: To place final decision-making in the hands of the participants

Improving public participation has been a key priority in each of Scotland’s Open Government Action Plans. Scotland’s Community Empowerment Act has also enabled individuals and communities to have a greater say in the decisions that affect public services.

To support further meeting our ambitions for public participation, we have carried out a number of innovative participatory approaches to involve people in the work of government. These methods have included:

  • two Citizens’ Assemblies
  • Citizens’ Juries
  • mini-publics
  • lived experience panels and
  • participatory budgeting

In 2021, we also convened the Institutionalising Participative and Deliberative Democracy (IPDD) Working Group to provide recommendations on how Scotland can establish infrastructure for high quality participatory and deliberative engagements.

We responded to each recommendation outlined in the report, and confirmed that we will adopt the values, principles and standards as advised by the working group.

Participation Framework Agreement

To further advance our commitment to increasing the use of participatory processes and to establish a person-centered approach across government, the Scottish Government announced its intention to commission a Participation Framework Agreement in December 2023.

This follows the development of the Children and Young People Participation Framework Agreement that was established to support the growing need for children and young people’s participation in decision-making and policy design at Scottish Government.

The Participation Framework Agreement will aim to create a co-ordinated approach to commissioning participatory work with adults at the Scottish Government.

The Framework will appoint suppliers who are assessed as having the skills and expertise to design and deliver high quality and inclusive engagements with a wide range of people – particularly those identified as being seldom heard and furthest from decision making.

It is anticipated that the appointed suppliers will be both organisations operating at a national level and those working within specific communities. These organisations will engage with and represent a diverse range of people, using both digital and in person participatory approaches.

Register your interest

To find out more information about the Participation Framework Agreement please see the Prior Information Notice on Public Contracts Scotland.

Here you can register your interest to the Participation Framework, and have the opportunity to respond to a survey to help inform next steps in how we develop the Framework’s specification and engagement with the market.

The deadline to complete this survey is Wednesday 7 February 2024.

To take part in the procurement process you must be registered on Public Contracts Scotland. We would like to ensure organisations that aren’t currently registered with Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) have access to this new opportunity. To assist new suppliers to register to PCS, the Supplier Development Programme offers expert training, support and information to Scottish SMEs and third sector organisations interested in working with the public sector.

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