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Procurement in 2021 is brought to you by the Letters S, D, and P

10DR juggling SDP

Jennifer Payne, a Development Officer at the Supplier Development Programme, has contributed a blog on acronyms coming to public sector procurement in 2021.

The creation, duplication and juxtaposition of acronyms is hardly new, and something we see in procurement practice on a regular basis.

Indeed, the Supplier Development Programme (or 'SDP' to those who are old hat) has a well utilised, searchable jargon buster for Scottish SMEs and supported businesses that helps break down the extensive lexicon of terminology, acronyms and abbreviations associated with tendering in the public sector.

However, 2021 will be a year like no other, not the least for search engines trying to find appropriate resources with the letters 'S', 'D' and 'P' - a topic we at the Supplier Development Programme have a keen interest in, quite understandably.

With Brexit comes the first challenge and a seemingly minor change: the Scottish Government plans to re-name the the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) to the Single Procurement Document (SPD). There will also be some minor changes made to the document.

Fast fingers could easily type 'SPD' instead of 'SDP' - and the reverse is also just as likely. However, it becomes even more complicated when an additional new acronym is introduced into the procurement world.

A Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is an electronic system of pre-qualified suppliers, for commonly used purchases from which the Scottish public sector can invite tenders. SDP has been providing training on this procurement practice since 2017, but it is still a relatively new concept to many suppliers.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the upcoming implementation of a new e-Sourcing platform, the Defence Sourcing Portal (DSP) in 2021.

Small changes in a wider context

Since the McClelland review in 2006, public procurement evolved and good practice was enshrined in law through the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act in 2014. The Act defined ‘how’ the public sector would buy goods, works and services, which is measured against the National Performance Framework, which gives a shared purpose and set of values for Scotland.

Buyers are at the heart of encouraging better procurement practices. The 'Power of Procurement' is a term buyers and suppliers alike are hearing more regularly, and seeing on social media - and means that procurement will improve:

  • The economy
  • Society
  • The environment

For a very small programme, SDP supports the very big goal that Scotland's public sector uses its spending power in a way that is good for business in Scotland, and is also good for the employees of those businesses.

This is achieved through Fair Work, fair and timely payment for goods, works and services delivered. It is also achieved - which is one of our favourite things to talk about, incidentally - through public sector buyers supporting local businesses in every opportunity to bid for and win contracts.

SDP's communication with suppliers - and the free tender training we provide - reflect these strategic aims. It is the Power of SDP. Operationally, our training and engagement activities are led by the 32 Scottish local authorities, and supported by the Scottish Government and other public sector bodies - all dedicated to contributing to a fairer Scotland at home and on the world stage.

S - D - P

So, is a new acronym on its own *that* big of a deal in the wider context of public sector procurement? Probably not - not the least because SDP works to continuously develop our bidding resources to ensure terminology is current and understood by suppliers.

However, as a communications specialist, it does give me pause when a handful of procurement acronyms have the same repeating letters. It runs the very real risk of making the public sector a little less easy to do business with - in a society that is very much dedicated to open, connected, accessible and transparent procurement.

For suppliers that want to break down the jargon to the bottom line, expert training is as easy as S - D - P. Visit the training and events section on to book a free place, learn the jargon and take the next steps for your business to find, win and keep public sector contracts.

And when you win your first contract opportunity that may or may not require filling in the SPD, whether it's a place on a DPS with a public sector buyer in Scotland or through the new DSP with the MOD - be sure to let us know here at SDP.

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