Our e-update of 8 October reported that the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill 2013 includes a new duty on contracting authorities to prepare and publish procurement strategies and annual procurement reports.

Currently, contracting authorities are not expressly obliged to consider their procurement approach beyond the application of the rules in the procuring of a single contract/framework agreement.  However, the Scottish Government has stated that this obligation "will support better information, increase transparency and visibility, provide a better basis for engagement and remove unnecessary inconsistencies."

These obligations will only apply to contracting authorities who expect to have a "significant procurement spend" (£5m or more).

So what are the requirements?

Contracting authorities would be required to prepare annual procurement strategies (either from scratch or by amending previous procurement strategies) setting out how the contracting authority intends to carry out regulated procurements.  This can be done by the contracting authority on its own or it can join with another contracting authority/ authorities and prepare a joint strategy.

From then on the contracting authority/ authorities are required to comply with the strategies set, so far as reasonably practicable.

The Bill also includes an obligation for the contracting authority to produce an annual procurement report on its regulated procurement activities.  The report should be completed as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that financial year and include:

  • A summary of the years regulated procurements
  • A review of whether the regulated procurements complied with the contracting authorities strategy, and if not a statement of how the contracting authority intends to ensure that future regulated procurements comply
  • A summary of regulated procurements to be undertaken in the following two years
  • Any additional information as the Scottish Ministers may by order specify

The contracting authority is required to publish both the report and the strategy and notify the Scottish Ministers when they have done this.

Assuming these provisions are enacted into legislation, the public sector will have to build this new strategic component into existing governance.