Awarding Contracts

9.1 Contract Award Recommendation 

9.2 Authority to award contracts

9.3 Conditions of contract 

9.4 Commitment of a contract 

9.1 Contract Award Recommendation

A contract award recommendation is required for all purchases over £60,000. This satisfies audit requirements, but also demonstrates that contracts have been awarded fairly and that project objectives have been met. The recommendation will be produced by Procurement Services and is normally submitted to the Project Sponsor/Owner for approval (in some cases the authority to approve contract award recommendations may elsewhere, e.g. a Project Board or the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB)).

  • For purchases under £60,000, the purchaser will be responsible for making the award decision, ensuring always that the successful bidder has met the specification in full, and that it offers best overall value for money.

9.2 Authority to award contracts

Only purchasers with specific written Purchasing Authority at the appropriate level and for the specific goods/services can award contracts. The exception is for goods called off from a centrally negotiated contract, or made within budgetary authority only. All contracts must be in writing.

9.3 Conditions of contract

  • All contracts let on behalf of the SPCB should be subject to Scots Law. Any proposal to the contrary, or any attempt by a supplier to make any other law applicable, must be referred to Procurement Services. All contracts must be in writing.

Procurement Services holds a suite of Standard Conditions of Contract. These conditions should be used for all straightforward or routine purchases. Supplementary clauses have been developed for inclusion in more complex requirements. In all other cases, and in cases of doubt, advice should be sought from Procurement Services.

The appropriate Conditions of Contract should be supplied with the Invitation to Quote/Tender and also incorporated into the final contract or, if a Purchase Order has been raised, issued to the supplier if requested. Any special requirements should be covered by supplementary Conditions of Contract, which must be approved in advance by Procurement Services.

9.4 Commitment of a contract

Under Scots law, a contract is an agreement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law. There is no fundamental difference between a “purchase”, an “agreement”, or a “contract”.

A contract can be deemed to have been made by word of mouth, or implied by the action of the parties, even though no formal written contract exists. If the contract contains the essential elements of a legally binding agreement then neither party can escape from its contractual obligations and responsibilities except by mutual consent.

Consequential costs when contracts go wrong can far exceed the “contract value” in some circumstances. Care is therefore required to ensure that contracts are not entered into prematurely or by accident.