Scottish procurement reform to help small businesses

Changes to Scottish procurement rules will make it easier for small businesses to bid for public sector contracts, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Procurement Reform Bill aims to improve the way the public sector buys goods, work and services from businesses.

Key reforms included in the bill include:

  • Consideration of a tender's use of employee contracts, such as 'inappropriate' zero-hours contracts or low pay, and whether this would affect the quality of service it would provide
  • Regulations governing how public sector buyers assess the suitability of potential bidders, addressing 'unacceptable' practices such as blacklisting
  • Greater use of community benefits clauses in high-value contracts, such as training, apprenticeships and opportunities for disabled people and the long term unemployed
  • Easier access to public contracts for small businesses.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the changes would also help boost the Scottish economy and employment: "Changes to public procurement rules will ensure Scotland retains its place as a world leader in public procurement reform, promoting an approach that is both business friendly and socially responsible."

"This Bill will provide a national legislative framework for sustainable public procurement, ensuring that we maximise the economic benefit brought to Scotland from effective and efficient public procurement spend."