Select had campaigned for the incorporation of the Publically Available Specification (PAS 91) in the current shake-up of the procedures for bidding for public sector contracts. In the end, it found it was pushing at an open door - it said that the government’s response was ‘universally positive’ and recognised legitimate concerns within the sector.
Adoption of PAS 91 follows consideration of responses to the Scottish Standard Procurement Questionnaire and a lengthy consultation process involving both suppliers and purchasers within public procurement.
The Holyrood parliament has accepted Select’s argument that the use of PAS 91 by public sector clients will reduce duplication of accreditation effort and reduce cost from a needlessly costly, inefficient and time consuming process.
At the moment, there are many different procedures for pre-qualifying to bid for local authority contracts. They differ between authorities and sometimes even between different departments in the same authority. Suppliers accredited with one scheme might not be qualified to tender in and authority which recognises a different scheme.
Select member services manager Martin Reid said: “The cost of continually dealing with these different sets of questions is enormous and has been adversely affecting the construction industry. Answering new questions each time was costing the sector £250m a year.”
Mr Reid said: “PAS91 was developed specifically for the construction industry in the rest of the UK with the aim of saving companies significant time and money. So it is very heartening that the Scottish government has taken the pressing concerns of the sector into account.”