What are Procedures and Thresholds?


The way in which Scottish goods, services and works contracts are awarded is governed by Scottish Government and UK Government legislation. You can find the relevant legislation here.


Contracts at certain values must follow one of the following set procedures.

Open and Restricted are the most commonly used in public sector tendering.

  • Open
    Any supplier may tender.
  • Restricted
    2 stage process, any supplier can apply to be selected to be invited to tender.
  • Negotiated
    2 stage process that allows buyers to enter negotiations with more than one supplier (limited circumstances).
  • Competitive Dialogue
    Any undertaking can apply to be selected to participate, used to allow buyers to discuss their requirements (limited circumstances).
  • Accelerated Restricted/Negotiated
    For use only in exceptional circumstances of urgency not of the contracting authority’s making.


Contracts below threshold

Contracting authorities still have an obligation of transparency and must demonstrate a degree of advertising sufficient to enable the market to be opened up to competition.

Many public sector buying organisations use the Quick Quote facility within Public Contacts Scotland to obtain competitive quotes for low value/low risk procurement.

Purchasing at lower levels

Thresholds and procedures for purchasing at lower levels are also explained within the ‘Standing Orders’ of public sector organisations. Contact each organisation using our Buyer Listing resource.

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