Changes that will make it easier for small businesses to bid for public contracts have moved closer, as the Procurement Reform Bill that sets out how European legislation will be interpreted and put into practice in Scotland goes to Parliament.

First minister Alex Salmond said the bill would make it easier for newer businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the third sector to access public contract opportunities.
It is also expected to generate new training and employment opportunities. The Bill will require public bodies to consider how procurement activity can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local communities.

“The Procurement Reform Bill has the potential to make a difference to many lives,” Salmond said. “It will provide new powers to tackle companies that do not comply with their legal obligations, including blacklisting and employment law. Our Bill here in Scotland will give Parliament the opportunity to go further than Wales, 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 Bill will now proceed through the Scottish legislative process.