Scotland has outlawed favouring the purely cheapest bid in tender competitions.
These new regulations came into effect 18 April and mean that public sector contracts can no longer be awarded on the sole basis of price or cost.
Companies and suppliers bidding for public sector work will now be required to demonstrate how their bids demonstrate wider benefits for local communities, through the provision of community benefits such as apprenticeship and training, employment and educational opportunities.
The new regulations also aim to promote fair work practices – such as the prohibition of blacklisting and the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, as well as the exclusion of businesses who fail to meet their tax and social security obligations.
Small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will also be encouraged to bid for public sector work, with public bodies now required to break down large contracts into smaller lots and new procedures put in place to support SMEs as they bid for work.
Scotland Excel Director, Julie Welsh, believes that the introduction of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 and Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016, together with the provisions of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act can empower public bodies to deliver effective, sustainable procurement with lasting benefits for communities the length and breadth of Scotland.
She said: “I believe in procurement as an agent for positive change and the new procurement rules that have come into force this week act have the capacity to accelerate a transformation in public sector procurement.
“Scotland Excel has pioneered many of the reforms contained in the new regulations. As our portfolio has grown from £100 million in 2008 to almost £700m today, we are not just helping councils to deliver savings and improve efficiencies, we are supporting them in the delivery of a range of social, economic and environmental improvements.
“Procurement is now so much more than just the buying of goods and services. It goes far beyond that, realising added value for our communities in the form of opportunities for local business supporting the creation of jobs and apprenticeships and helping make Scotland a fairer, greener place.”