A Scottish procurement portal is showing great success after thousands of companies in Scotland have started securing more public sector contracts.
Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) is a free government portal, allowing contracting authorities to advertise public sector contract opportunities to suppliers, who can register and search for contracts relevant to their sector. The website also provides help, support and advice for SMEs looking to bid into the public sector.
Purchasers and contracting authorities using this portal to advertise include Scottish Local Authorities, NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government, Agencies and NDPBs, Higher and Further Education and Emergency Services, giving a wide scope of opportunities.
Sub-contracting opportunities are also published on this site, for companies which are not yet ready to take on larger contracts as sole suppliers, making it even easier for local SMEs to play a role in public sector work.
A spokesperson for the PCS stated that they wanted to “make opportunities more available and accessible to Scottish firms,” large and small.
The recent PCS report revealed that over 6,000 companies, covering the whole of Scotland, have benefited from this portal over the last twelve months, securing over £9 billion-worth of contracts. SMEs in Scotland account for 60% of suppliers that have been awarded contracts, leaving the remaining 40% made up of larger ‘blue-chip’ suppliers form Scotland and companies from the rest of the UK and Ireland.
With the majority of contracts being fulfilled by Scottish SMEs, more and more money is being driven back into the local economy, which is very much in the interest of the Scottish government and also the Scottish people.
The opportunity to pick up local work through this portal has given Scottish firms the ability to reduce costs and add to sustainability within their companies, compared to taking on work elsewhere in the UK and Ireland.
The PCS site is one of many helping SMEs to source public sector work that would otherwise go unnoticed, and is also helping businesses that are fairly new to bidding for work to become more familiar with the process.
It has been said that, along with the introduction of the Sustainable Procurement Bill, the procurement process will be simplified even further over the coming years, making it more transparent to suppliers.
A feature of the PCS site has already added to this transparency by allowing open discussions between buyers and suppliers via a dedicated forum. The ‘Supplier Engagement Working Group’ grants suppliers the opportunity to gain constructive feedback and support on current systems and processes within the public sector.
There are many benefits for both SMEs and public bodies in using this portal, which is helping to create and improve links between suppliers and buyers in the public sector.