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Supplier Relief: What’s been your experience?

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The current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented and will have a significant impact on businesses of all sizes. Many suppliers will struggle to meet their contractual obligations which could put their financial viability and put their ability to retain staff and their supply chains at risk. In response to this, the Scottish Government issued several new Scottish Procurement Policy Notes (SPPN) regarding the Coronavirus to support buyers and suppliers.

SPPN 4/2020 provides information on the handling of procurements in exceptional circumstances recognising that public bodies in Scotland may need to procure goods, services and works with extreme urgency.

SPPN 5/2020 offers guidance on steps that public bodies can take to provide supplier relief under existing contracts where they are affected by the outbreak. The SPPN suggests that upon request from a supplier, buyers consider advance or interim payment and other forms of contractual relief such as relaxation of KPIs or contract modifications. While some buyers have reached out directly to suppliers, relief may typically be considered upon application - however, in the spirit of "working with the supply base," SDP understands that some buyers have offered this as a route to suppliers. Therefore, suppliers that require supplier relief should consider requesting this from each buyer for each contract to which this may apply.

SPPN 6/2020 provides guidance on running both current and future procurements and advises public bodies to work with suppliers to understand specific pressures that they face and identify potential solutions on a case-by-case basis. For upcoming procurements public bodies are advised to consider strategies to offset potential supplier uncertainty and provide assurances as circumstances change and opportunities arise. As we enter a recovery phase public bodies should look to consider the market’s capacity and ability to submit bids.

Have you requested Supplier Relief?

With the support of the Scottish Government, the Supplier Development Programme is keen to gather suppliers’ views in a survey on the effects of Supplier Relief. Please spare a few minutes to fill in this short question survey and share your experience during the Coronavirus crisis so far. Responses will be collated into a report which will be shared with the Scottish Government and local authorities throughout Scotland. The survey will close on Friday, 22 May 2020. Please share the link with your network, as SDP Scotland is keen to gather as many views as possible from SME and supported business suppliers and other businesses in Scotland.

If you require further information, please contact the Supplier Development Programme by emailing

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