Scotland’s Procurement Reform Bill has been put forward to the nation’s parliament, it was announced by first minister Alex Salmond earlier this month (September 12th). 

The Scottish government website reported that the proposed legislation aims to simplify the process by which new companies, smaller businesses and those from the third sector can become involved in the public contracts bidding process.

It’s forwarding to Parliament was announced by Mr Salmond when he was appearing before its Convener’s Group.

The Bill would increase the ease with which companies, especially those that are newer, in the third sector or SMEs, could gain access to the chance to secure public contracts, he suggested.

Meanwhile, it would create opportunities in employment and training, he explained.

It is set to mean that public bodies have to think about ways in which their procurement is able to offer improvement to the wellbeing of communities locally, he also said.

“The Procurement Reform Bill has the potential to make a difference to many lives. It will provide new powers to tackle companies that do not comply with their legal obligations, including blacklisting and employment law,” the first minister said.

Mr Salmond also said that he welcomed Welsh government moves to tackle blacklisting, a practice he called “unacceptable”.

On September 10th, Jane Hutt, the Welsh finance minister, gave word that Welsh public sector bodies could, in certain circumstances, keep blacklisters out of the public sector contract bidding arena under guidance from the Welsh government, which has the aim of ending this pratice.

“Procurement is an important part of the overall policy toolkit of the Welsh Government. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for any business in receipt of public procurement expenditure to use blacklists,” she said, according to the Welsh Government website.

The Scottish Bill would potentially let the parliament in that country go further than the Welsh government, Mr Salmon has suggested.

It could do this “by taking the power to regulate how companies are selected to bid and how their suitability should be assessed,” he said.

“These regulations will address blacklisting, working within the framework of EU law.”

The first minister also took the opportunity to talk about how important procurement was for the government.

He called it “a vital part of the government process” saying its contribution economically was worth billions.

Mr Salmond, a Scottish National Party MSP, has been first minister since 2007.

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