Discover the Latest Public Contracts Scotland Improvements

CPV Picker PCS Screenshot

Providing SMEs with tendering tips and training is what we do at the Supplier Development Programme (SDP) and one of the SDP courses that remains consistently popular is Using Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).

Suppliers are often keen to get to grips with PCS, the national website for advertising and bidding on Scottish public sector contracts, however, many find its interface daunting.

So the SDP team welcomed the latest Scottish Government announcement detailing improvements to the PCS user functionality. These changes will help suppliers like you more easily find those all-important contract opportunities.

PCS Changes

Enter for Search

When using PCS, you can now hit the ‘enter’ key to initiate a search on the Search Notices and Search Buyers page (as well as clicking the ‘search’ button) this is a small change that will save you vital time when looking for relevant contract opportunities.


Filter by CPV Code

To further help you find contracts relevant to your business or social enterprise, the category and subcategory search functions have been removed and a new option has been added to allow you to ‘filter by CPV (Common Procurement Vocabulary) code’. Once you understand the CPV codes included in the contracts you seek, this functionality can show you opportunities that you might have previously overlooked, due to misunderstanding the way in which they were labelled.


CPV Codes Explained

CPV is a numerical classification system used by authorities to describe the subject of procurement contracts.

The main CPV vocabulary is based on a tree structure, with up to 9 digits (an 8-digit code plus a check digit) associated with a wording that describes the type of goods, works or services forming the subject of the contract.

Buyers apply these codes in Contract Notices to standardise their classification. The CPV codes then filter through to the published Award Notices.

To best use the new ‘filter by CPV code’ functionality on PCS, you should input the keyword that describes the goods, works or services you provide, to enable PCS to provide the appropriate CPV codes. Then you check these CPV codes and ‘apply’ them to your search, so the portal returns the appropriate Contract Notices.


Browse Categories

Within PCS, you are now also able to click ‘browse categories’, to search opportunities by keyword and select categories. You can then click ‘add codes’ and press the enter key to filter your contract search results.

This functionality helps you quickly search for opportunities around which you already have some details, such as buyer name, contract area or description of goods, works or services.


Single Procurement Document (SPD) Module

Following feedback, the Single Procurement Document (SPD) module has also been updated on PCS, to make it easier for suppliers to complete.


SPD Explained

The Single Procurement Document (SPD) is a set of pre-qualification questions that cannot be altered, which helps buyers decide if your business is able to carry out the contract for which you are bidding.


Updates to the SPD Module in PCS


SPD Free Text Boxes

Formatted free text boxes have now been added, so that buyers and suppliers can use styles such as bulleted lists, bold fonts and headings, when typing up defining criteria and responses to SPD questions.

This formatting update helps you easily recognise buyers’ important points within the SDP questions, to which you must pay close attention and respond carefully. It also helps you highlight your important information to buyers, as you answer the SPD questions.


SPD Answer Automatic Recall

Under the new SPD module updates, you no longer need to manually recall your answers. Answers that you have saved will now be automatically recalled into your response. You can then edit and update the response before submitting. This change will again save you time and reduce your admin burden when bidding.


Help Using the SPD on PCS

While the latest updates to the SPD module on PCS will make it more intuitive, we understand that it can still be a challenge to those who don’t use it frequently.

If you would like further guidance on completing the SPD, then join our free SDP training Passing the Selection Stage – The Single Procurement Document (SPD) webinar, on Wednesday 29 May 2024, 1.30-3pm.


SDP Help using PCS

At SDP we also want to help you get the most out of using PCS in general, so we’d be delighted if you would join us for another free webinar Using Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) – How to Find and Bid for Opportunities, on Thursday 16 May 2024, 1.30-3pm.


For more information contact


Share this page

SDP Scotland logo Loading