Posted in: General News
Procurement process streamlined.
The number of public sector contract awards being won by Scottish companies through the Public Contracts Scotland portal has more than doubled from 6,000 to over 12,000 in two years, thanks to measures to simplify procurement processes.
Improvements to procurement procedures are giving companies the opportunity to gain access to public contracts and the £10 billion the public sector spends annually.
In addition, the introduction of a community benefit clause, which makes training, employment and investment in local communities a contractual requirement, has created over 3,500 apprenticeships and training opportunities since 2008.
Next month the Scottish Government’s online advertising portal PCS will merge with the Glasgow Business Portal to make it even easier for businesses to search for and bid for all public contract opportunities in Scotland.
Currently there are over 65,000 supplier registrations with PCS of which 86 per cent are small and medium sized businesses.
Speaking at the National Procurement Conference in Glasgow, Finance Secretary John Swinney underlined the Scottish Government’s commitment to making Scotland the best place in Europe to do business with the public sector. He said:
“Scotland’s model of procurement is recognised internationally as a benchmark of excellence. Measures to simplify and streamline processes are giving thousands of businesses across Scotland an opportunity to flourish.
“Through our community benefit clauses, we have given communities a guarantee that they will get something back from businesses operating in their area. As a result, thousands of young people are being trained and equipped with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
“The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 shows that we are doing all we can to ensure as many people as possible benefit from the Living Wage. The Act enables us to issue statutory guidance, which will mean that public bodies will be able to evaluate each contractor’s approach to workforce-related matters, including paying the Living Wage.
“This approach is demonstrated by the award of a new catering contract for the Scottish Government which means that employees working on that contract will be paid the Living Wage. This comes on top of our work setting up the Fair Work Convention which will aim to exert greater Scottish influence over the minimum wage.”
Around 40 per cent of Maxi Construction Ltd’s £8.5 million turnover comes from public sector contracts. The Livingston company’s managing director says the PCS has been a great money saving tool for the business.
John Aitchison, said:
“The use of the PCS service has given Maxi Construction access to public sector contracts we may otherwise not have been aware of and the business has benefited from being included on framework agreements for numerous public sector organisations including East Lothian Council and the City of Edinburgh Council.
“PCS has been a benefit to the business, with an increase in efficiency thanks to the electronic exchange of pre-qualification and tender documents.”
Kirkcaldy based company Frew Conservation has also benefitted from the PCS service.
The company’s director Craig Frew said:
“PCS offers a direct route for us to access relevant contract opportunities and compete on a level playing field with larger competitors.
“The fact that we can, and do, compete in the public sector marketplace had paid off – since establishing our building conservation consultancy and training business two years ago, we have successfully secured and delivered seven significant contracts with public sector organisations.”
Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) was established to support an open, transparent and competitive market environment through a single public sector ‘electronic portal’. The portal connects public and private sector business, providing free access, as well alerts to contract opportunities.
The figures are taken from 2011 and 2013 and are a comparison of Scottish companies accessing the Public Contracts Scotland portal. In 2011 the figure for Scottish companies was 6,100 and 12,377 in 2013.
Community benefit clauses will be a requirement for all major public contracts under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.
The Scottish Government wants greater powers over pay to be determined in Scotland. Proposals have been submitted to the Smith Commission that recommends the minimum wage should be decided by the Scottish Parliament.
The Fair Work Convention will be a stakeholder body which will provide leadership on Scottish industrial relations, and which will promote the principles behind fair work. It will encourage dialogue between unions, employers public sector bodies and government and strengthen the Scottish Government’s commitment to living wage policy and fair working conditions for all.