What is the Sustainable Procurement Duty?

Procurement has changed in recent years, and by law, public sector buyers in Scotland must engage with SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses to meet the sustainable procurement duty.

The sustainable procurement duty, outlined in Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, aligns with the Scottish Government’s purpose to create a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

The duty requires that before a contracting authority buys anything, it must think about how it can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which it operates, with a particular focus on reducing inequality.

Promoting innovation

It also requires a contracting authority to consider how its procurement processes can facilitate the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses, and how public procurement can be used to promote innovation.

Compliance with the sustainable procurement duty is the mechanism through which public procurement contributes to and tracks its contribution to our overarching purpose.

Each contracting authority must set out in its procurement strategy how it intends to comply with the duty, and must report annually on progress.

One way that buyers can meet the sustainable procurement duty is by becoming members of the Supplier Development Programme, which facilitates the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses.

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