The Sustainable Procurement Bill passing through the Scottish Parliament aims to open up new public sector opportunities by making the public sector tender process more standardised and transparent.
Complaints in the construction industry were a major driving force behind this bill. Industry leaders have been complaining that the existing construction tender rules were unfit for purpose and exacerbating the decline of the sector.
The Scottish government claims that the Sustainable Procurement Bill would ensure that:
- contract opportunities are advertised or awarded through Public Contracts Scotland;
- public bodies adopt streamlined procurement processes friendly to Scottish businesses;
- smaller and medium companies have more opportunities to win public sector tenders.
Alex Neil (MSP) also emphasised that community benefit clauses will be an important part of the new procurement rules. He stated that the “bill will seek to ensure that major public contracts deliver training and employment opportunities”.
If it passes this bill will obviously offer advantages to Scottish businesses aiming for construction tenders. However, the simpler public sector tender processes ought to make it easier for other companies as well, especially those that emphasise their CSR and training programmes.