The Review of Public Procurement in Scotland recommended that an open market environment supported by a single public sector electronic portal should be established. Suppliers must be able to access all essential information on opportunities to offer services and bid for contracts for the supply of commodities and services to the whole public sector in Scotland.
The national advertising portal - Public Contracts Scotland- has been established in response to the recommendation. This portal enables the Council to advertise all contracting opportunities, irrespective of value.
Adverts which must be published on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) website will also be submitted through the portal to the Publications Office of the European Commission.
The portal allows documents to be attached to the notice for example Pre-Qualification Questionnaires, Invitation To Tender documentation etc.
Suppliers can view the contract notices and in addition if registered, can receive free e-alerts notifying them of contract opportunities relevant to their business.
All contract opportunities valued at over £10,000 are required to be advertised through Public Contracts Scotland as detailed in the Procurement Journey.
Contract opportunities below £10,000 in value should be considered for advertising where this will support the Council's policy objectives and the exercise can demonstrate best value as detailed in the Procurement Journey
Please note the portal is not an e-tendering system.
Regulation 8(21) of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012 states that in awarding any public contract, where EC Treaty principles require it, public bodies should "ensure a degree of advertising and follow a procedure leading to the award of the contract which is sufficient to enable open and fair competition". Advertising contract opportunities on the portal will assist the Council comply with this legal obligation.
The European Directive, 2004/18/EC, and subsequently the UK Public Contracts Regulations (2006) set out a clear set of requirements for purchasers. However, both sets of legislation allow a "light touch" approach to the procurement of certain services. These are known as Part B services. Part B tenders must comply with the regulations in that they must be "adequately advertised", must include a technical specification, and feedback must be available.
Underpinning the legislation are the requirements of the Treaties of Maastricht and Lisbon. Here Articles 81 and 82 are relevant. The Treaties and UK competition law require that nothing be done which in any way prevents, restricts or distorts competition.
Therefore, although a contract may be for services which fall under Part B of procurement legislation, it is likely that it will be caught by the Treaty requirements and thus tendering for the services to be purchased becomes necessary.