Opposition Debate on Procurement (S5M-10962) SCVO briefing
13 March 2018


• Procurement can be a force for good, improving social, health and income inequalities. Action on this will ensure that procurement is used to tackle poverty and inequality.

• The use of the Living Wage, consideration of how services are procured where they impact on the most vulnerable, and enabling contracts to be reserved for those who employ disadvantaged people, are all things that will help create a socially just Scotland.

• SCVO still supports the asks of a coalition of civil society organisations, which sees procurement as having a role to play in creating a ‘strong, healthy and just society, living within climate limits’ii.

• All procurement professionals must feel able to move away from a risk-averse approach in order to get the best for service users. Co-design and collaboration should be supported.


As we have said before – most recently in the passing of the Scottish Government’s 2015 Procurement consultation – procurement can be a force for good in our society. We have previously written about (in our paper An Economy for All ), the four principles around which we can build a successful economy and society:

1. The well-being and collective prosperity of people across Scotland must be the end goal of our economy
2. All work must be properly valued, decently paid and secure
3. The value of people’s voluntary and unpaid contributions to economy and society must be recognised
4. The economy is a part of our environment and we must use our economy to enhance, not destroy, our environment

Procurement processes, guidance and legislation can contribute to all of these. We hope that the Scottish Parliament takes the opportunity of this opposition debate to review how procurement is currently operating in Scotland, and to use procurement to build social justice.

SCVO continues to work with members, politicians and civil servants on the issue of procurement and improved funding arrangements. Indeed, alongside funding, many members cite procurement and procurement processes as the biggest issue facing their organisations. Moreover, SCVO continues to support the work we undertook with a grouping of civil society organisations, entitled Civil society priorities for procurement in Scotland: a strong, healthy and just society, living within climate limits . Many of the recommendations in that document could still be implemented in order to create a first class procurement strategy in Scotland.

In particular, greater use of the Living Wage; proper consideration on how services are procured where they impact on the most vulnerable; and a real move away from both risk-averse and cost-first approaches, must be undertaken if we are to make the most of procurement spend as a country.

SCVO continues to believe the procurement reform agenda could do more for Scotland, and looks forward to the Scottish Parliament delivering some constructive improvements as a result of this debate.


Jenny Bloomfield
Policy Officer
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations,
Mansfield Traquair Centre,
15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB
Email: jenny.bloomfield@scvo.org.uk
Tel: 0131 474 8000
Web: www.scvo.org.uk


[1] http://www.scvo.org.uk/long-form-posts/an-economy-for-all-report-economyforall/

[1] www.unison-scotland.org.uk/publicworks/Procurement-10asks-regs+guidance_Apr2015.pdf