Bòrd na Gàidhlig's procurement policy
1. Policy Statement
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is committed to making sure that all procurement of goods and services is based on value for money, has due regard for the Gaelic Language, for ethical and professional conduct and standards, and complies with all legal requirements.
The purpose of this policy is to set out Bòrd na Gàidhlig's guidance to employees for procuring goods and services
This policy gives general guidance on procurement of goods and services. It excludes allocation of funds to external organisations providing Gàidhlig services.
4. Key Points
4.1 All procurement of goods and services will be based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity
4.2 Goods and services will be acquired by competition, in accordance with the Bòrd's tendering financial levels detailed at paragraph 6.2 unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary, such as urgent requirements or single suppliers.
4.3 Bòrd na Gàidhlig's procurement processes will aim to place the minimum possible burden on suppliers, consistent with genuine competition, value for money and any legal obligations. Selection requirements must not be set at a level which would unfairly disadvantage small and medium sized enterprises ("SMEs").
4.4 All employees involved in procurement processes must comply appropriately with relevant legal obligations, including EC requirements.
4.5 All employees involved in procurement processes must preserve the highest standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity.
4.6 Financial authority to make purchasing commitments are set out in Bòrd na Gàidhlig's Scheme of Delegated Authority.
4.7 Employees making purchasing commitments must ensure that goods/services are consistent with Bòrd na Gàidhlig's requirements and that appropriate budgetary provision exists.
4.8 Where organisational structures permit, separation of duties should exist between employees making purchasing decisions and those processing purchases and payments.
4.9 Where appropriate, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will seek opportunities to collaborate with others, or with procurement agencies, in the interests of value for money.
4.10 All invoices must be paid promptly in accordance with prompt payments guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers.
5. Value for Money
All procurement of goods and services will be based on Value for Money, having due regard to propriety and regularity. "Value for money" is defined as the optimum combination of whole-life cost and quality (or fitness for purpose) to meet the user's requirement. Value for money considerations should involve assessment of risk and an appropriate allocation of risk between the purchaser and the contractor.
6.1 Goods and services will be acquired by competition unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary, such as urgent requirements or single suppliers. Subject to any relevant legal obligations, for example under the EC rules, the form of competition should be appropriate to the value and complexity of the goods or services to be acquired, and the cost to both Bòrd na Gàidhlig and potential suppliers will need to be taken into account - bidding costs should be kept to the minimum necessary for effective competition and should remove barriers to participation by small firms/ self-employed without discriminating against others.
6.2 Unless call-off, framework or central contracts are available, the following process will apply:
- Purchases between £1,000 and £5,000 require verbal quotations from at least 3 suppliers
- Purchases between £5,000 and £25,000 require formal written quotations from at least 3 suppliers
- Purchases in excess of £25,000 require formal tendering procedures, in accordance with relevant legislation and guidance
6.3 In contract award procedures which involve the selection of suppliers to be invited to tender or negotiate, selection should be made on the basis of objective criteria, (taking account only of evidence permitted under the EC rules where they apply). Bòrd na Gàidhlig will aim to ensure that, consistent with legal obligations, any minimum standards of financial or economic standing and technical capacity, are proportionate to the contract(s) in question and that in selecting participants, undue emphasis is not placed on size.
6.4 In determining the criteria for the award of contracts, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will adopt a value for money approach, which will not rely on price alone but will involve other factors such as whole-life cost, quality and delivery against price.
6.5 Cost: the relevant factor is whole-life cost, not lowest short-term price. Whole-life cost takes into account all aspects of cost over time, including maintenance, management, operating and disposal costs, whenever they fall.
6.6 Quality: higher expenditure on better quality might well provide a better quality solution to the requirement, for example in terms of service standards.
6.7 In all cases, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will consider carefully whether increased benefits justify higher cost, thereby providing better value for money in meeting the requirement.
7. Legal Framework
The legal framework for public procurement includes:
- EC and other international obligations, as implemented in domestic legislation or by virtue of direct effect.
- specific domestic legislation, for example, on corrupt gifts or unfair contract terms;
- contract and commercial law in general; and
- domestic and European Court of Justice case law.
8. Specifying Requirements
As far as possible, requirements will be expressed in terms of output and performance to provide scope for innovative solutions.
9. Collaborative Procurement
9.1 Bòrd na Gàidhlig will, wherever appropriate, seek opportunities to collaborate with others, including procurement agencies, in respect of common requirements. This will help avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and gain the benefits of aggregation of requirements and economies of scale.
9.2 Where, in seeking Value for Money, Bòrd na Gàidhlig chooses to enter into contracts under framework agreements put into place by others, the body responsible for the framework should advise whether the framework agreement has been awarded in accordance with the EC rules on behalf of other potential users.
- Bòrd na Gàidhlig may employ private sector agents, or a private sector agency, to undertake procurement on their behalf. In such cases, clear allocation of responsibilities will be assigned, and, where appropriate, an indemnity will be obtained from the agent against any costs incurred as a result of its failure to comply with the legal framework on their behalf. Private sector agencies can only comply with the EC rules on behalf of purchasers if appointed to do so. For example, they cannot purport to have complied with the EC rules in entering into framework agreements for use by a number of public sector purchasers unless formally appointed to do so by a public body ("contracting authority").
10. Ethics and Professional Standards
10.1 In all dealings with suppliers and potential suppliers, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will preserve the highest standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity. In particular, purchasers must:
- be fair, efficient, firm and respond promptly and courteously to enquiries;
- achieve the highest professional standards in the award of contracts;
- publicise procurement contact points and make available as much information as suppliers need to respond to the bidding process;
- notify the outcome of bids promptly and, within the bounds of commercial confidentiality, debrief winners and losers on request on the outcome of the bidding process to facilitate better performance on future occasions;
- achieve the highest professional standards in the management of contracts;
10.2 Suppliers to the public sector are expected to maintain high standards of business and professional conduct e.g. in relation to legislative requirements on the environment, equal opportunities, race relations, health and safety, employment and taxation.
Contracts should be in writing, ranging from purchase orders to formal standard contracts as appropriate to the value and complexity of the purchase, and will include specification of requirements, standards, outputs, price and any other relevant details such as timescales.
12. Ordering and Payment Procedures
Procurement arrangements will be reviewed periodically to consider whether ordering and payment procedures could be streamlined and value for money improved. In particular, e-procurement and the Government Procurement Card should be considered.
13. Separation of Duties
There should be separation of financial authority and procurement authority (other than for ordering under standard call-off or framework contracts). Budget holders have authority, in accordance with the Bòrd's Scheme of Delegation, to commission orders by specifying their requirements and providing financial authority for the expenditure. Where organisational structures permit, separation of duties should exist between employees making purchasing decisions and those processing purchases and payments.
14. Prompt Payment
All invoices should be paid on time. Where there is no contractual provision or other understanding to the contrary, suppliers should be paid within 30 days of receipt of the goods or services, or the presentation of a valid invoice or similar demand for payment, whichever is the later.
15. Environmental Policies
All staff involved in procurement must have regard to the Scottish Government's environmental policies, where relevant, especially in framing specifications. Detailed guidance on sustainable development in procurement is available from SPD.