SDP's top achievements in 2021
2021 has been a challenging and successful year for the Supplier Development Programme, and by continuing to work in partnership, we are proud to have offered uninterrupted services and support to connect suppliers with opportunities related to public sector tendering.
SDP thanks you for all your support throughout the year. We also wanted to share with you some of our biggest collective achievements!
1. Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, and Highland held a first Talking Tenders webinar which turned out to be the largest!
“The Commercial and Procurement Shared Service for Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Highland Councils arranged our first ever Talking Tenders event with the Supplier Development Programme to introduce suppliers to how we work, offer useful guidance as to how they can better engage with our Councils, and give early notice of upcoming contract opportunities. Our partnership with the Supplier Development Programme was critical to the success of this engagement event, from advertising to event management through to hosting and collation of supplier feedback.
You can read all about it on the SDP website!
2. Scotland's biggest national Meet the Buyer event was held virtually for the first time.
This year, the Supplier Development Programme hosted the nation's biggest national event virtually for the first time! Meet the Buyer 2021 took place in June and included headline partners the Scottish Government and Scotland Excel. Meet the Buyer 2021 allowed suppliers to engage with virtual exhibitors from the public sector, private contractors, and business support providers. It was scheduled in the alternative format, as a virtual event, and aimed to support efforts towards economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
There was a lot of interest in this event, as it was the first time since the pandemic began that suppliers interested in national and local contract opportunities were able to speak face-to-face with buyers. In total, 1,051 suppliers pre-registered interest on the SDP website. On the day, there was a fantastic turnout, as 1,161 people logged onto the online portal, including both exhibitors and individual suppliers. In total, 822 suppliers attended the event, and of those 650 were Scottish SME unique businesses. There were 36 virtual stands, which not only included public sector buyers but also some supply chain contractors including SDP corporate members RJ McLeod and Robertson Facilities Management, amongst others.
After the event, SDP received some great feedback. Here’s what suppliers like you had to say:
- “I thought the queuing system to speak to exhibitors was excellent. I had more success in meeting the people I wanted than I would have had at a live event where the crowd can get in the way.”
- “The opportunity to engage on a 1-2-1 basis online was so much more beneficial than when holding a public event, as we got to have a conversation without the usual distractions.”
Meet the Buyer 2022 event will be taking place on 15 June. Visit the event page and save the date!
3. Meet the Buyer North was held virtually for second year in a row.
The Supplier Development Programme held the 4th Annual Meet the Buyer North event as a fully virtual event at the beginning of September. As it is every year, Meet the Buyer North was a fantastic opportunity for businesses in the North of Scotland to meet one-to-one, virtually, with public and private sector buyers, contractors with supply chains and business support services in the Highlands and Islands. In total, 1,020 people registered on the SDP website to attend the event. There were 441 actual attendees on the day, which was made up of 224 Scottish unique businesses and 108 buyers/exhibiting staff.
After the event, suppliers said:
- “The virtual Meet the Buyer North event was great for us. It was easy to make quick contact and, in a few words, establish if our offering was of interest and share contact details. Very time efficient way of networking.”
- “Great opportunity to remain connected to the public sector in these difficult times.”
Save the date for Meet the Buyer North on 7 September 2022! You can book a free place on the event page.
4. SDP smashed a record in supporting regional Meet the Buyer events across Scotland!
In addition to hosting the National and North Meet the Buyer events, SDP also worked in partnership with nine Scottish local authority organisations to organise four regional Meet the Buyer events. Traditionally organised by each local authority, SDP offered this additional service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to support full membership organisations in engaging with hard-hit local suppliers for upcoming public sector contracts and community wealth building opportunities.
Ayrshire Meet the Buyer
In April 2021, East Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council, in partnership with the Supplier Development Programme, hosted a pan-Ayrshire ‘Meet the Buyer’ as an online event. The theme of the event was Community Wealth Building. Prior to the event, there were 659 suppliers registered on the SDP website. On the day there was a terrific turnout with 391 participants, made up of 317 supplier attendees and 74 exhibitors/speakers/public sector colleagues. You can check out the full outcomes for Ayrshire Meet the Buyer in the media section of the SDP website.
Forth Valley Meet the Buyer
Falkirk Council, Stirling Council and Clackmannanshire Council, in partnership with the Supplier Development Programme, hosted Forth Valley Meet the Buyer in June. The event covered upcoming activities related to the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal worth £214m and the Falkirk Growth Deal worth £90m. Prior to the event, there were 273 suppliers registered to attend the event. On the day, 204 people joined the online portal. Of these, 159 were made up of suppliers and 45 exhibitors/speakers/public sector colleagues. Read the full outcomes for Forth Valley Meet the Buyer!
Fife Council Meet the Buyer 2021: Dunfermline Learning Campus and Levenmouth Railway Link Supply Chain Opportunities
The Fife Council Meet the Buyer 2021: Dunfermline Learning Campus and Levenmouth Railway Link Supply Chain Opportunities was held as a fully virtual event at the beginning of November 2021. This Meet the Buyer event was a little different from the rest! The aim was to help local businesses find out what contract opportunities were available through Community Wealth Building and supply chains as part of the Dunfermline Learning Campus (DLC) worth £200m and the Levenmouth Railway Link project delivery, worth £70m. Fife Council Economic Development hosted the event in partnership with hub East Central Scotland, Fife College, BAM Construction, Balfour Beatty, Network Rail, and the Supplier Development Programme. Read the full outcomes for the 2021 Fife Council Meet the Buyer event in the media section of the SDP website.
Lanarkshire Meet the “Real” Buyer
Lanarkshire Meet the “Real” Buyer was jointly hosted by North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Council, in partnership with the Supplier Development Programme at the end of November 2021. The aim of the event was to give suppliers who wished to do business in Lanarkshire, unprecedented access to leading contractors and local authority services that commission the actual work and to hear about upcoming contract opportunities. Outcomes will soon be available from the Lanarkshire Meet the “Real” Buyer event!
5. Refresh of SDP Training Content
This year SDP updated our core course content, so that you as a supplier can keep up-to-date with all the new policies and procedures. To ensure that Scottish SMEs, supported businesses and third sector organisations are ‘tender ready’ for current and upcoming changes in procurement, SDP has integrated Net Zero and Fair Work practices into tender training and online resources. Browse the SDP event calendar to see what training is coming up in 2022!
SDP training is split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels, and includes:
1.1 Working with the
Public Sector – All You Need to Know
1.2 Using Public Contract Scotland (PCS) – How to Find and Bid for Opportunities
1.3 Getting Your Business Tender Ready – The Checklist
1.4 Planning Your Bid – Time and Resources
1.5 Pricing Your Tender – A Sustainable Approach
Passing the Selection Stage – The Single Procurement Document (SPD)
2.2 How to Write Outstanding Tenders – The Invitation to Tender (ITT) stage
2.3 Understanding and Bidding – Frameworks and Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS)
2.4 Improving Your Bid Score – Increase Your Tender Win Rate
2.5 Responding to Tender Policy Requirements – Power of Procurement
Understanding Your Role in Contract Management – Critical Success Factors
3.2 Expanding Your Business Globally – Tendering in New Markets
6. Launch of SDP eLearning on Demand!
This year, SDP has transformed some of our core courses into eLearning modules. The aim of eLearning is to have a set of modules that you as a suppliers can work through at your own pace. You will be able work through the modules reading definition and explanations of each topic, watch tutorials videos by our expert trainers and test your knowledge with questions throughout the modules. eLearning courses currently available (with more to come in 2022!) include:
Quick Quotes Made Easy
1.1 Working with the
1.2 Using Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) – How to Find and Bid for Opportunities
1.4 Planning Your Bid – Timing and Resources
7. Six New SDP Membership Organisations
SDP is delighted to welcome six new members in 2021, including: hub East Central Scotland, Social Security Scotland, South of Scotland Enterprise, Zero Waste Scotland, Robertson Facilities Services Management Ltd and Levenseat Ltd.
hub East Central Scotland
hub East Central Scotland is a public/private partnership organisation that delivers new community infrastructure across Falkirk, Stirling, Perth & Kinross, Fife, Dundee, Tayside and Angus. It focuses on supporting the local economy within communities through the supply chain. Around 65% of its project work is delivered by local residents, and over £175 million of work has been undertaken by businesses within the hub territory. hub East Central Scotland has partnered in the Fife Council Meet the Buyer event and a Meet the Contractor event with SDP in 2021. At both events, the organisation got the chance to speak 1-to-1 with suppliers interested in working with them. You can watch the full presentation from the Fife Council Meet the Buyer on the SDP YouTube Channel.
Social Security Scotland
Social Security Scotland is an Executive Agency of Scottish Government established in 2018. It provides face-to-face support based in communities across every local authority area in Scotland. Natalie McCrindle, Head of Procurement & Commercial at Social Security Scotland, delivered a presentation at the Meet the Buyer North event in September 2021. You can watch the full presentation on the SDP YouTube Channel!
South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE)
SOSE was established by the Scottish Government in recognition of the unique circumstances of the South of Scotland, and the need for a fresh approach to drive inclusive growth across the area. The South of Scotland Enterprise Act 2019 was passed by Scottish Parliament in June 2019 and provides the legal framework. SDP is working with SOSE and other partners including Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council to host a Meet the Buyer South for the first time in 2022. You can find out more information on the Meet the Buyer South event page.
Zero Waste Scotland
Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Steven Menzies, Head of Procurement and Grants, joined the Let’s Do Net Zero stage at Meet the Buyer North event to deliver a presentation on reducing consumption. You can watch the full presentation on the SDP YouTube Channel.
Robertson Facilities Management ltd
Robertson Facilities Management (FM) is one of the UK's largest family-owned construction, infrastructure, and support services businesses. It has offices across Scotland, the North of England, and the Midlands. After becoming a member of SDP, Robertson FM delivered a presentation on the Community Wealth Building (Supply Chain) Stage at the 2021 Meet the Buyer event. Followed by a live Q&A session, this gave an introduction into who Robertson FM is and how suppliers can work in its supply chain. You can watch the Robertson FM presentation and Q&A session on the SDP YouTube Channel.
A fully integrated site providing recycling and waste management solutions, Levenseat's services include Mixed Waste Recycling, Food and Garden Waste Recycling, Energy from Waste, Aggregate Recovery and Waste Disposal. Levenseat joined SDP at the end of November. Keep a look out for how we work with Levenseat in 2022!
In 2022, the Supplier Development Programme will be working with all of our members, both new and seasoned, to deliver aligned training and events so your business is "tender ready" for their future opportunities!
8. SDP welcomed 32 Local Authorities for Scotland-wide supplier service.
Okay, so it's kind of a repeat of number 1 - but it's so exciting, we think it's worthy of another mention! In 2021, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Highland Council joined SDP as full members. This means SDP welcomed all 32 local authorities as full members of the Supplier Development Programme. You can see a list of all members on SDP membership organisations page!
9. Social Media Success
Following an 8% increase in followers on Twitter, a 58% increase on Facebook, a 54% increase on LinkedIn and a 59% increase on YouTube in the previous financial year, the Supplier Development Programme became Verified Account Certified on our Twitter account! A "blue tick" is the best way to distinguish the authenticity of accounts. It gives Twitter users confirmation that they are getting information from the correct organisations. Receiving a blue tick helps SDP demonstrate best practices communication, and helps to ensure our communications remain open, transparent and trustworthy.
10. SDP Hosted a Data Lab Position for the First Time!
In 2021, the Supplier Development Programme hosted its first ever Data Lab position as an Industry Sponsor. The purpose of the placement was to analyse SDP's historical Meet the Buyer data and develop data visualisation models, which were placed as a dashboard for use by all 32 Scottish local authorities as SDP membership organisations. The data dashboard more easily helps individuals visualise data and feedback from SDP's Meet the Buyer events, including Meet the Buyer North and the regional Meet the Buyer events. It allows SDP membership organisations to easily access the data, compare their performance from previous years and compare their performance against other councils. The data dashboard will continually be added to after every Meet the Buyer event, and work continues with analysing trends and patterns within the SDP's datasets to show how effective SDP’s existing activities are within the wider procurement landscape.
A cheeky extra: GO Awards Success from 2020!
At the end of 2020, SDP won two Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards Scotland. Sure, it happened late in 2020 - which is why we've been celebrating all year during 2021!
SDP won one GO Award in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council for Best Procurement Leadership. We received this award for the pioneering work we did delivering a series of SDP tender training workshops to build the skills and confidence of childcare providers and nursery businesses in North Lanarkshire in preparation for the expansion to 1140 hours in public sector procurement - and then rolled it out as a model for success in other local authority areas.
The other GO Award was won in partnership with Scottish Borders Council in the ‘Best Procurement Delivery’ category. The Council approached SDP to promote and deliver free tender training for a multi-trade framework for a reactive repairs and maintenance service to a wide-ranging property estate over 800 buildings throughout the region, with an estimated budget £4.7 million. More details can be found on the SDP website!
Thank you to all of SDP's partners for achieving these milestones during a difficult year for so many. We look forward to working with suppliers in 2022!
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