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Open Contracting in the Scottish Government

We have published our Open Contracting Strategy as part of our commitments to the Open Government Partnership Scottish National Action Plan 2016-2017.

We already have a good track record for making procurement information available, including through the Public Contracts Scotland website. However, making more information available in a way that allows it to be easily used and shared in line with the Open Data Strategy will require us to take further steps.

This strategy states our intention to publish procurement information that is coherent, consistent and in a format that is useful and easy to understand. It builds upon progress made by the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015.

We intend to take a phased approach to implementation to gradually increase the amount and types of information we publish.

This strategy is for Scottish Procurement but other public bodies may also find it useful when developing their own strategies for making their procurement and contract information more open and transparent.

If you would like further information on the strategy, please contact the Open Contracting team.


Over the next year Scotland will be a pioneer working with the international Open Government Partnership this will help us to meet the Scottish Government’s aim to be the “the most open and accessible government that Scotland has had”

A key component of Open Government, is ensuring that all stakeholders can access the information they need from public bodies in a form that is useful. This allows people to be better informed, encourages participation in government decision making and ensures the public sector is held to account for its policies and spending.

In recognising the importance of open and accessible data, last year the Scottish Government published its Open Data Strategy which sets out a number of national actions which will help to support public sector organisations as they implement their own open data publication plans.

Scottish Procurement’s role

To support the Open Data Strategy, Scottish Procurement will ‎develop an open contracting strategy and publish procurement information in line with international business interoperability standards. This will ensure that the data that we publish is in a format useful to all audiences.

Open contracting strategy – what’s it for?

An open contracting strategy will help the public identify who is delivering government contracts and how well these contracts are performing.

Although this is intended to be a strategy for the Scottish Government, individual public bodies may find it useful in making their own procurement and contract information more open and transparent.

Update - May 2017

In developing our open contracting strategy, we have been exploring what actions we can take to make open contracting a key part of the procurement process. 

Work on the first phase is now complete and the following changes have been applied:

  • The Open Government Licence will now apply to Scottish Government information published on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS). This includes contract notices, contract award notices and the contract register.
  • Other public bodies also have the ability to add the Open Government Licence to their own data on PCS. Guidance on how to do this is available on PCS. 
  • Contract and award notices are available to download in an open data format (XML) as well as html and PDF.
  • Where the PCS mailbox is being used, procurement documents associated with a contract notice are now permanently available after the closing date for receipt of tenders has elapsed.
Want to know more?

If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please contact Laura Martin or Steve Patterson.