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Procurement policy

As a public sector organisation the prime objective of Skills Development Scotland (SDS) procurement is to achieve best value for money (VFM).

SDS procurement procedures, detailed in the Procurement Policy Manual, depend on the value and nature of what is being purchased.

All SDS business opportunities/contract opportunities over £5,000 are advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland website. You can express your interest in these opportunities by registering as a supplier on the site. You will then be notified of any contracts which you can apply for.

As a public sector organisation the prime objective of SDS procurement is to achieve best Value for Money (VFM). Best VFM is the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality to meet the customer's requirements.

SDS has retained the Superior Ranking in the independent Procurement Capability Assessment (PCA) having increased its PCA score to 94%. SDS were successful at the Scottish GO Awards in October 2014 and won the Leadership of the Year Award.

Following on from that success, SDS were also awarded the GO Procurement Leadership of the Year Award at the National UK Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards in March 2015.  

Find out more about the Procurement activity we have in place at SDS:

For certain requirements SDS may select suppliers through existing framework agreements.

Mini-competitions being conducted through existing framework agreements include:

  • Scottish Procurement
  • Crown Commercial Service.

SDS fully supports the Scottish Government Suppliers' Charter with regard to how SDS treats suppliers in tender processes.

Read the Suppliers' Charter on the Scottish Government website.

Public sector procurement is a legal process and SDS is required to adhere to EU legal requirements.

Purchase orders are issued through the Finance System. SDS has a no purchase order - no payment policy. Suppliers require to have received a purchase order before they undertake a commitment on behalf of SDS.  

The SDS terms standard terms and conditions are available here. These will continue to be developed in line with best practice. Short form terms and conditions are available for low value purchase orders (less than £50,000) and long form terms and conditions for high value purchase (£50,000 and above).

Terms & Conditions of Purchase - Short form

Terms & Conditions of Purchase - Long form

In line with the Procurement  Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, Skills Development Scotland have published their Procurement Annual Report for 2014-15.

In line with the Procurement  Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, SDS have published their summarised Contracts Register.  This will be refreshed on a quarterly basis.  If you require any further information in relation to the publicised Contracts Register, please email

We recognise the need to drive sustainable procurement in all purchasing activities and fully endorses the Scottish Government's Sustainable Procurement Action Plan. The Action Plan identifies 10 steps to sustainable procurement which SDS will follow in order to improve the sustainability of procurement activity.

Responsible and Sustainable procurement is about achieving value for money whilst realising environmental, community and economic objectives.

Responsible and Sustainable procurement is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis. This generates benefits not only to the organisation but also to community and the economy, while minimising damage to the environment.

We strive to make sustainable procurement decisions to achieve the best outcome for all our customers. This includes: buying recycled products, reducing carbon emissions in services we contract for, collaborating with other authorities and government bodies to improve efficiency and working with local suppliers, SMEs and Third Sector organisations.

We have published our sustainable procurement policy to help colleagues understand how they can get involved and make a difference.  We have also published our strategy to take forward our longer term approach to Responsible and Sustainable Procurement.

SDS also work closely with Ready for Business to ensure engagement with the third sector and Supported Businesses to ensure we buy more sustainably and maximise social value.

The Supplier Development Programme (SDP) is a local authority partnership programme established to offer Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) the opportunity to grow and diversify through engaging with Public Sector organisations.

On the SDP website you will find tips for responding to public tenders as well as help with policies. In addition the SDP also provides workshops to cover specific topics relating to completing pre-qualification questionnaires and tenders for public sector.

The SDS Procurement Policy Manual outlines the key principles of value for money, competition, separation of duties and legal obligations.

The SDS Procurement Strategy 2015-2018 is designed to take forward a responsible and sustainable approach to procurement. To align to the SDS Corporate strategy whilst adhering to the Scottish Government Procurement Journey and working in a collaborative manner to secure value for money.

Contact Procurement

For more information on our procurement processes and procedures please email us.