Post-legislative scrutiny - Call for Views

Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014

Post-legislative scrutiny

Call for views

Under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (‘2014 Act’), public bodies are required by law to consider how their procurement activity can be used to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their area and how they will facilitate the involvement of SMEs, third sector and supported businesses and promote innovation.

The 2014 Act is just one part of the legislative framework covering procurement in Scotland. The Act created a legal framework for contracts below the EU thresholds, complementing regulations derived from EU directives on procurement.

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee has heard evidence about the key role of public procurement in the Scottish economy and has agreed to carry out post-legislative scrutiny of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act (2014) (‘the 2014 Act’).  The Committee invites you to submit written evidence on how the act has impacted procurement in Scotland since it came into force in April 2016. The Committee will then consider the written evidence received and hold an evidence session with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture to explore the issues raised. 

The deadline for submitting evidence is 18 December.

Background

The 2014 Act places a number of general duties on public bodies regarding their procurement activities and also places some administrative requirements on higher spending public bodies to publish procurement strategies and annual procurement reports.

Sustainable procurement duty - background

The sustainable procurement duty, outlined in the 2014 Act, requires that before a contracting authority buys good or services, it must think about how it can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which it operates, with a particular focus on reducing inequality

Questions

1. Has the sustainable procurement duty helped to improve social, environmental and economic wellbeing and to reduce inequality?

2. What are the barriers to the successful application of the sustainable procurement duty, and what changes could be made to improve its impact?

3. How can the impact of the sustainable procurement duty be measured?

4. How has the Act affected public bodies consideration of climate policies and the circular economy through their procurement activity?

Community benefit requirements - background

Under the 2014 Act, all Scottish public bodies must consider the use of community benefit requirements for regulated procurements where the estimated value of the contract is £4 million or more.  A community benefit is a contractual requirement which can relate to training and recruitment or the availability of sub-contracting opportunities. Alternatively, a community benefit can be intended to improve the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the authority's area. Contracting authorities must state the community benefit requirements in the contract notice, or where a requirement is not imposed must state the reasons for not doing so. Contracting authorities will have to report on their community benefit activities in the procurement annual reports.

Questions

1. How successful has the 2014 Act been in promoting community benefits through procurement?

2. What steps could be taken to improve the use of community benefit requirements in the public procurement system?

Fair work – background
Statutory Guidance on Addressing Fair Work Practices, including the Living Wage, requires public bodies to consider, before undertaking a procurement exercise, whether it is relevant and proportionate to include a question on fair work practices, to be evaluated along with other relevant criteria.

Public bodies are required to include in their organisational procurement strategy a statement on their general policy on "the payment of a living wage to persons involved in producing, providing or constructing the subject matter of regulated procurements". Annual procurement reports are required to include a review of whether those procurements complied with the body's procurement strategy, including compliance with this general policy statement.

Questions

1. What impact has the 2014 Act had on promoting fair work as part of public procurement contracts?

2. How measurable is that impact?

3. How has the 2014 Act promoted the payment of the real Living Wage?

4. What more could be done through procurement activity to promote the real Living Wage and other fair work practices?

Supporting SMEs and local supply chains - background

The sustainable procurement duty under the 2014 Act requires public bodies to consider how they might facilitate the involvement of SMEs, the third sector and supported businesses in their procurements and which should be designed in a way that encourages them to be involved.

Questions

1. How is the 2014 Act supporting SMEs and local supply chains since it came into force in 2016? Are there any changes that would promote increased involvement of SMEs and local supply chains in public procurement contracts?

2. How accessible is the public procurement process in Scotland to SMEs and local supply chains?

3. Have SMEs gained an increased share of public procurement contracts as a result of the 2014 Act?

Prompt payment

The 2014 Act requires Scottish public bodies to set out their prompt payment policy in their procurement strategies.

Questions

1. What has been the impact of this prompt payment policy requirement?

2. Are businesses experiencing improved prompt payment as a result of this policy?

Process and guidance

1. What steps is the Scottish Government taking to ensure that procurement manuals and guidance are adhered to?

2. How can long-term value be promoted through the public procurement process (rather than lowest cost)?

3. How can the Scottish Government ensure that SMEs are supported in their efforts to bid for public sector work?

4. How can the Scottish Government ensure that procuring public authorities have access to the necessary skills to support bidders? 

Closing date and how to submit your views

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Friday 22 January 2021.

Your response does not need to cover all questions and could focus on just those most relevant to you or your organisation.

Written responses should be sent electronically in Word format (not PDF) to the following address: [email protected].

We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit evidence. We also welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language.

Please also note that submissions with defamatory content, references to ongoing court cases or third parties’ personal information will not be published online. 

If you wish to request that your submission be published without your name, please contact us ([email protected]).

If you cannot submit electronically you may send in a hard copy written submission to:

Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee

Room T3.40
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP

Please follow the Committee on Twitter (@SP_Economy) or email the Committee at [email protected] for more information.

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