Procurement Reform Bill progresses through Parliament

31.01.2014

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill should continue to progress through the Scottish Parliament, is the conclusion in a report published today by the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.

The Bill seeks to establish a national legislative framework for public procurement that supports Scotland’s economic growth by delivering social and environmental benefits. It seeks to support innovation and promote public procurement processes and systems which are transparent, streamlined, standardised, proportionate, fair and business-friendly.

Convener of the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee Maureen Watt MSP said:

“Our Committee believes that legislation is required to improve the situation for those attempting to access public contracts. The proposed Bill will establish a national procurement framework for Scotland that will improve consistency and transparency. We therefore recommend that the Scottish Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Bill and allows it to continue its passage through Parliament.

“We have received assurances from the Scottish Government that, should the Bill progress, it will seek to exempt health and social care contracts and address the particular circumstances faced by universities and colleges. These were important areas of concern expressed by stakeholders during our evidence taking and the Committee welcomed this assurance.”               

Within the Report, the Committee seeks the view of the Scottish Government in response to the argument that there is benefit to bringing Scottish Water into the scope of the bill, where its smaller contracts could be subject to provisions such as the sustainable procurement duty and procurement strategies.

The Committee also:

  • Supports the provision on procurement strategies and asks the Scottish Government to clarify how they could be used to provide, in general terms, advance notice of contracts.
  • Invites the Scottish Government’s comments on the role of the Accounts Commission and the Auditor General for Scotland in monitoring the performance of contracting authorities via their procurement strategies and procurement annual reports.
  • Notes the Scottish Government’s position on the living wage. However, given the extent to which the encouragement of its payment will rest within the guidance to be published under the Bill. The  Committee requests further information on how it intends to address this matter.
  • Notes that the approach to be taken by the Bill to eliminate blacklisting via regulations will support the existing guidance and welcomes the Scottish Government’s ongoing dialogue with the trade unions on this matter.
  • Welcomes the commitment by the Scottish Government to pursue opportunities to drive greener public procurement and expand the market for recycled and recyclable materials.

Background

Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Nicola Sturgeon MSP on 3 October 2013. It aims to make provision about the procedures relating to the award of certain public contracts including - a sustainable procurement duty and community benefit requirement;  a requirement for certain authorities to produce procurement strategies and annual reports; and for connected purposes.

Stage 1 is due to be completed by 21 February 2014. Following the publication of the Committee’s report, a date will be set for its debate in Parliament by the full Chamber.

To see more about the stages of a bill, click here:
Understanding the Legislative Process

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