Sustainable Procurement Tools


Public procurement plays a key role in the Europe 2020 strategy, and is recognised in the European Commission's communication Europe 2020, a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as one of the market-based instruments to be used to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth while ensuring the most efficient use of public funds.  

This has informed the new Public Procurement Directives with a view to:

  • increase the efficiency of public spending
  • facilitate the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • enable procurers to make better use of public procurement in support of common societal goals of:
    • Smart growth – developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation.
    • Sustainable growth – promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy.
    • Inclusive growth – fostering a high-employment economy delivering economic, social and territorial cohesion.  


Increasingly public spending is expected to provide more and more value for money. We aim to imbed sustainability into and generate maximum value for local communities from our procurement activities. Community benefit requirements are one way in which public bodies can contribute to the delivery of National Outcomes and Indicators within the National Performance Framework, and we have the following policy in place:

  1. Where there is an opportunity to provide community benefits as part of a procurement, appropriate requirements will be included in the contract.
  2. Contract suitability and capacity needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Requirements should be robust, relevant and proportionate so that they can be judged on unbiased and measurable outcomes.
  4. Discrimination should be avoided in the wording of requirements.
  5. It is essential to monitor the outcomes of the contract to make sure the requirements of the contract are being met. 

This policy is now part of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.  

Legal context

The sustainable procurement duty has now been built into the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and includes a requirement for contracting authorities to consider how they can improve economic, social and environmental wellbeing through regulated procurements and to act in a way to secure this. 

A community benefit requirement is one of a range of social clauses which can be included in public contracts that are compatible with EU Treaty Principles and law.  Community benefits in procurement are defined by the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 as: 

‘a contractual requirement imposed by a contracting authority (a) relating to:

(i) training and recruitment, or

(ii) the availability of sub-contracting opportunities, or,

(b) which is otherwise intended to improve the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the authority's area in a way additional to the main purpose of the contract in which the requirement is included.’ 

In addition to opportunities exercised at lower values, contracting authorities must consider the use of community benefit requirements for regulated procurements with an estimated value of £4 million or more. In line with Scottish Government policy, this should not preclude the use of community benefit requirements in other regulated procurements. 

In their procurement strategy (s. 15 of the Reform Act) individual contracting authorities must include a statement on their policy on the use of community benefits. In their annual procurement report (s. 18 of the Reform Act) they must include a summary of any community benefit requirements imposed as part of a regulated procurement that were fulfilled in the year covered by the report.