Main Content

Following best practice in our procurement processes to ensure value for money

This page gives you a guide to our policy and procedures. You can also find out more about how to tender for contracts, or see where recent contracts have been awarded.

We follow a code of conduct laid out in the Scottish Government’s Suppliers Charter, which aims to make the process easier and fairer on both sides.

Scottish Government's Suppliers Charter

Procurement strategy 2018-2019 (Word, 121Kb)

Annual report 2017-2018 (Word, 203Kb)

Procurement procedures

Procedures depend on the value and nature of what is being purchased. Sometimes competitive quoting/tendering is not necessary, for example when:

  • Timescales are too short
  • We need to commission a specific organisation to satisfy continuity or IP issues
  • Only one supplier can meet our needs

This page provides the information you need to understand our procurement process.

Below £50,000

Commissions are generally awarded via ‘Quick Quotes’. Three suppliers registered on Public Contracts Scotland will receive requests to quote.

Above £50,000

Contracts are advertised on Public Contracts Scotland and in trade journals or national press where appropriate. Suppliers must formally apply for the contract, and applicants will be considered in terms of their capacity and capability.

Higher values

Higher value commissions for goods, services and construction contracts are governed by EU Directives. As a public sector organisation, we must comply with these rules.

Commissions over £181,302 (ex VAT) for goods and services, or £4,551,413 (ex VAT) for construction will be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Communities, as well as on the Public Contracts Scotland website. We may also advertise these opportunities in national newspapers and trade journals.

Public Contracts Scotland

Scottish Government Procurement Directorate

Procurement forward planning

We publish our planned procurement activity in the Scottish Enterprise Procurement Forward Plan for procurements over £50,000, excluding VAT. This provides greater transparency and allows suppliers to identify sub-contracting opportunities.

The register covers known requirements for the following 24 months and is updated every 6 months. Our planned activity is subject to review and may not necessarily proceed or meet the timescales stated.

Our current Procurement Forward Plan (Excel doc, 17kB)

We publish contract award noticed for our completed procurements through the Public Contracts Scotland portal

Tendering for contracts

Public sector contracts are advertised on Public Contracts Scotland. The site shows all relevant contracts. Suppliers can register for notifications of opportunities as they arise.

More advice and guidance is available from the following websites.

Some contracts take the shape of framework agreements. These are arrangements with specific suppliers to provide goods or services over a set period. They offer us better value for money where we have repetitive or frequent requirements and ensure we can monitor supplier performance more easily by keeping numbers manageable.

The frameworks are set up using a competitive tendering process unless there are valid business reasons for not doing so.

Successful awards are published on Public Contracts Scotland. Find out more about framework agreements in the public sector on the following websites.

Our current framework agreements and suppliers

Our sustainable procurement strategy (Word, 290kB)

Collaborative bidding

If you are interested in collaborative bidding, you may wish to explore consortium working – this is one of the ways in which businesses can work together for a shared purpose. You can contact Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) to find out more.

CDS is the arm of Scottish Enterprise, working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models. Consortium co-operatives are established when businesses come together for a shared purpose; eg to buy or sell in scale, market more effectively, share facilities or jointly bid for contracts. 

For further information call 0141 951 3055 or visit our CDS service page

Terms and conditions

We have standard terms and conditions for contracts with our suppliers. They are defined in the documents you can download from this page. Our terms and conditions have recently been reviewed and we now share risk in a more equal manner with our suppliers.

Working together

Like all public sector organisations, we must comply with complex legislation, which can mean things like procurement become lengthy processes.

But we’re working with the Scottish Government and other public sector bodies to make these processes easier. For example, we’re developing an electronic registration system to reduce the amount of work for suppliers.

We’ve simplified our tender documentation to make it easier to read, and revised our terms and conditions to share risk more equally with suppliers.

Our evaluation criteria are set to be proportionate and relevant to our needs to make sure smaller suppliers are not disadvantaged.

Contact us

We always provide feedback on tenders. If you have further questions about our procurement process or want to speak to someone in our procurement team, contact us