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Supplier Development Programme Publishes Supplier Relief Survey Results

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With the support of the Scottish Government, in May 2020 the Supplier Development Programme (SDP) gathered suppliers’ views in a survey on the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak on Supplier Relief, furloughed staff, access to free online training and capacity to bid for public sector contracts.

Outcomes from SDP’s survey included:

  • In total, 282 respondents shared their views through the online survey. Of these, 56% - 157 respondents - were current public sector suppliers. Of these, 15% - 24 respondents - were current suppliers and had requested Supplier Relief.
  • Of the total of 157 respondents that were current suppliers, 59% - 93 respondents - were claiming furlough.
  • Respondents were asked if they or furloughed staff had participated in free online training during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Out of the 282 respondents three quarters - 74% of respondents (210) - stated that they had not participated in online training.
  • Whether they are a current supplier or not, 79% of respondents (222) said that they currently have the capacity to bid for public sector contracts.

In response to the survey results, the Supplier Development Programme has announced that it will take forward the following actions:

  • Share the results of the survey with SDP membership organisations and the Scottish Government;
  • Consider the implications of new terminology relating to the impact of COVID-19 on procurement jargon. As public sector procurement transitions to new, sustainable solutions, this could include updating SDP’s jargon buster, adjusting SDP course materials, and a social media campaign to increase supplier awareness of definitions and contract terminology;
  • Work with SDP membership organisations to feed back the qualitative feedback submitted by suppliers, with the aim of providing aligned support where required; and
  • Support future surveys on the experiences of Scottish SMEs and supported businesses as suppliers to the public sector.

Scottish Procurement Policy Notes (SPPNs)

The Scottish Government issued a new Scottish Procurement Policy Note (SPPN 8/2020) regarding recovery and transition from Coronavirus (COVID-19). This policy note is supplementary to and extends SPPN 5/2020 – supplier relief, and came into effect on 1 July 2020.

The Supplier Development Programme is mentioned in SPPN 6/2020 as an existing resource for buyers to connect with suppliers.

"For procurements that need to proceed, buyers should consider making the greatest use of technology in the market engagement process. For example, some organisations will have facilities to provide for video-conferencing/information sessions. The Supplier Development Programme may be able to assist."

Gillian Cameron, SDP Programme Manager, said:

“The Supplier Development Programme thanks all businesses and organisations that supported this survey. During lockdown, we have stuck to business as usual with our proven dual approach to deliver tender training for suppliers, aside from moving face-to-face training to be delivered via our existing webinar service. Uptake of SDP webinars by Scottish SMEs and supported businesses remains steady in these uncertain times.

“Often with support from existing resources in local authority economic teams and Business Gateway, many businesses in Scotland have utilised time during lockdown to learn new skills to go digital with video conferencing and webinars in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as starting to develop future plans, which will hopefully contribute to Scotland’s economic recovery.

“The Supplier Development Programme will continue to work with Scotland’s public sector buyers to ensure they are aware of the huge majority of current and new suppliers reflected by our survey that currently have the capacity to bid for public sector contracts. We will also continue to support Scottish micro, small and medium sized enterprises in accessing the Supplier Development Programme’s full free training programme by webinar.”

Download SDP's Report

The full report - "Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak: What’s been your experience? Supplier Views" - can be downloaded on www.sdpscotland.co.uk.

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