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SDP and COVID-19 Procurement Guidance

With most parts of Scotland now back in lock down, SDP have put together this short notice as a reminder of the procurement guidance issued by the Scottish Government in their Scottish Procurement Policy Notice's (SPPN) earlier in the pandemic. There are three main areas of guidance that still remain valid as of 17 February 2021: the on-going support relief that is available for suppliers, how to make the best of procurement resources, and procurement regulations.

Supplier Relief

Public bodies are working in partnership with their suppliers in an open and transparent manner to develop transition plans to be implemented as soon as possible and in line with the opening up of markets and the Scottish Government's Route Map through and out of lockdown. For more detail on this read the SPPN 8/2020 (which adds to and extends earlier guidance SPPN 5/2020. However, at the time of issue, SPPN 8/2020 recognised the possibility of future lock downs, stating:

“Where any element of supplier relief arrangements is required to remain in place, or to be put in place, this should be subject to ongoing and regular review and with a view to transitioning out of supplier relief measures as soon as relevant restrictions are lifted. This must take into account the impact of on-going Government advice, including where restrictions may need to be reapplied to respond to potential periodic epidemics.”

Key points of support relief include:

  • SPPN 8/2020 applies to goods, works and services contracts. CPN 1/2020 (and by extension CPN 5/2020) applies to construction contracts. A contracting authority may still wish to have regard to relevant contents of CPN 1/2020, notwithstanding expiry on 30 September 2020 per CPN 5/2020, if it considers the principles of good practice therein to presently be relevant and useful.
  • The public body will have the final decision on whether supplier relief is required to support the continuity of a contract and the form of any relief that is necessary, appropriate and affordable - complying with local governance requirements.
  • Suppliers to the public sector are not automatically entitled to payment or other relief under SPPN 8/2020 or SPPN 5/2020.
  • In any event, it is important for public bodies to maintain, and where possible improve, prompt and accelerated payment practices.

SPPN8/2020 does not have an expiration date, this will be kept under review with updates to follow.

Making the Best Use of Procurement Resources During COVID-19 Outbreak

With this hiatus of some organisations possibly not being able to do business, it is a good time to see what procurement resources there are and how they could work for you.

The SPPN 6/2020 highlights a range of procurement procedures available to public bodies and describes some practical steps that can be taken to optimise resources in these exceptional circumstances. For example, taking account of factors like current and evolving suppliers capacity and capability to ensure public bodies and their suppliers are using their resources as efficiently as possible and making best possible use of the procurement procedures available.

Procurement Regulation

In these times, there are many new issues that people have never had to deal with before. The SPPN 4/2020 provides advice on handling procurement related issues as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the various procurement routes available to public bodies.

This includes advice on procurement both above and below the relevant threshold values of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015, modifying existing contracts, using accelerated timescale procedures and the options for direct contract award, amongst others.

More Information

For more information, visit the Scottish Government Procurement website.

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