Beginners Guide to Public Contracts Scotland

As a first time or relatively new bidder, you may have heard the term ‘PCS’ being mentioned, but may be wondering what it means? Let us put you in the know, ‘PCS’ is the abbreviation for Public Contracts Scotland.

What is Public Contracts Scotland?

Public Contracts Scotland is the national advertising portal for all contracting opportunities across the Scottish public sector. This portal, launched in 2008, aims to ensure that public money is being spent wisely and that all procurement activities are obtaining the most economically advantageous solutions from suppliers.

Public Contracts Scotland is a vital ingredient in enabling the Scottish public sector to:

  • Provide valuable free contract information to suppliers
  • Support the Public Sector to achieve a more transparent tendering process and adhere to EU rules
  • Build stronger communication links with buyers and suppliers

What are the new rules affecting public procurement in Scotland?

New rules affecting public procurement came into force on 18th April 2016. These have been received favourably by bidders (especially from SMEs) with the most notable changes being:

  • Significantly lower thresholds than currently apply i.e.
  • Works contracts – £2 million threshold rather than £4.104 million
  • Services / supplies contracts – £50k threshold rather than £164k now have to go out to competitive tender

As a supplier, how did I start bidding for contracts?

The first thing you will need to do is go on the Public Contracts Scotland website to take advantage of the free registration to create an account. This will help ensure that you are sent relevant contract notices as they come in. Registering also enables you to receive Quick Quote requests from buyers for goods or services valued below £50K.

As a supplier visiting the Public Contracts Scotland website you can browse the contracts on offer by clicking on the ‘Suppliers’ tab, followed by ‘Find Contracts’ followed by ‘Recently published’ notices, ‘Notice details’ and then ‘Postbox’. From there, request your required documents, and read through them.

What is a Quick Quote?

A Quick Quote is an online request for a quote. The best way to get selected for a Quick Quote is by completing in full your Supplier Finder profile. You must also complete the mandatory information unless stated as optional. Then ‘Publish your profile’ to create your entry in the directory.

Top Tips for using Public Contract Scotland

  • Sign up for the email alerts – to ensure you receive notifications of relevant opportunities as they arise.
  • Read your emails alerts – don’t just discard them, there could be invitations to ‘Quick Quote’ within these message
  • Set your profile to ‘Public’ NOT ‘Private’ – this helps buyers to see your organisation profile and can be an encouragement for them to issue you with a Quick Quote request
  • Attend Supplier Development Programme training events on how to get the most out of using the portals themselves
  • Attend the client ‘Information Day’ ‘Open Day’ events – these are an excellent opportunity to meet buyers in a more relaxed environment. You will be able to ask them questions about bidding to their organisation

Now has never been a better time to start bidding!

The Public Contracts Scotland website can be found here:

If you have spotted an opportunity on Public Contracts Scotland, and you would like to get assistance in developing a strong bid submission, please contact the team here at AM Bid Services, we’d be more than happy to help.