Frequently Asked Questions

All users - What is Public Contracts Scotland?

All Users - Can a Supplier obtain contract notice details without registering on the website?

All users - Does it cost anything to use Public Contracts Scotland?

All users - How do I de-register from the website?

All users - Is the website just for Scottish suppliers?

All users - What are CPV Codes?

All users - What are Commodity Categories?

All users - What are the current OJEU advertising thresholds?

All users - What checks are carried out on Suppliers who register on Public Contracts Scotland?

All users - What is Quick Quote?

All users - Who do I contact if I have a problem with the website?

All users - Who should use Public Contracts Scotland?

Buyers - As a Buyer user what access levels do I require?

Buyers - Can I add more suppliers to a Quick Quote once it has been issued?

Buyers - Can I issue a Quick Quote to a supplier who hasn’t registered on the website?

Buyers - Do I need to forward my notice to the OJEU?

Buyers - How do I complete a Contract Award Notice on the website?

Buyers - How does a Buyer start using the website?

Buyers - When will my Notice appear on the website?

Buyers - Where will my Notice appear?

Suppliers - How can I make myself available for Quick Quotes?

Suppliers - How can I receive notifications when a Notice is published on the website?

Suppliers - Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach in a response?

Suppliers - What is the postbox?

All users - What is Public Contracts Scotland?

Public Contracts Scotland is the national advertising website for public sector procurement in Scotland. Public sector organisations (Buyers) can post, and subsequently award, two levels of public Notices: Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) Notices - which are larger contracts over the European directive thresholds; and Site Notices - smaller, sub-threshold Notices. Public Contracts Scotland also allows Buyers to invite Suppliers - using the Quick Quotes facility - to submit quotations electronically via the website’s secure tender postbox. Public Contracts Scotland is an openly accessible website which allows individuals the opportunity to browse Notices without the need to register. However, in order to register interest in an opportunity, or access documentation, suppliers must first register on the portal. Public Contracts Scotland was launched in October 2008 by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, at the National Procurement conference.

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All Users - Can a Supplier obtain contract notice details without registering on the website?

Information published on the Public Contracts Scotland website is accessible to all. This means that anyone can access the website and browse and print off details of public Notices. However, a Supplier must register on the website in order to record their interest in an opportunity and obtain any attachments, if they are available. By registering, Suppliers can use any additional functionalities chosen by the Buyer, for example the Question & Answers facilities. Buyers should therefore encourage their Suppliers to register on the website.

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All users - Does it cost anything to use Public Contracts Scotland?

No. Public Contracts Scotland is sponsored by the Scottish Government and is free to use for both Buyers and Suppliers.

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All users - How do I de-register from the website?

If you no longer want to be registered on Public Contracts Scotland please send an e-mail to the support desk - support@publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk

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All users - Is the website just for Scottish suppliers?

No, Suppliers from any member state of the World Trade Organisation can register on the website. The following link provides a list of countries in the World Trade Organisation: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/org6_e.htm

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All users - What are CPV Codes?

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) Codes are a method used to classify Notices published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

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All users - What are Commodity Categories?

Commodity Categories are used to classify each Notice so that Suppliers can be alerted by email - through their personalised Alert Profile - and so that users can search for Notices using these same Categories. The taxonomy used on Public Contracts Scotland is the Proclass classification system which was developed by the public sector. Accurately selecting the relevant Commodity Category will enable registered Suppliers to be made aware of relevant opportunities. When completing the registration process, Suppliers are advised to create a personalised Alert Profile and select the relevant Commodity Categories in order to receive their free e-mail alerts.

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All users - What are the current OJEU advertising thresholds?

Please see the link on the menu bar: Info Centre > Thresholds.

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All users - What checks are carried out on Suppliers who register on Public Contracts Scotland?

Public Contracts Scotland does not currently have the capability to provide in depth business analysis, including financial probity aspects. The system does however validate the email addresses of Suppliers on behalf of Buyers.

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All users - What is Quick Quote?

Quick Quote is an online request for quotation facility for Suppliers who are registered on the website. It is used to obtain competitive quotes for low value/low risk procurement exercises or for mini competitions within framework agreements. Access to Quick Quotes are restricted to those individual Supplier accounts that have been invited by the Buyer through the system. Therefore, if you have been forwarded an invitation you will be required to log in with their registration details or to contact the Buyer directly to request that they invite your individual Supplier account. Suppliers can access their Quick Quotes by selecting Suppliers on the menu bar > Quick Quotes. Please see the user guides by selecting Help & Support on the menu bar > User Guides.

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All users - Who do I contact if I have a problem with the website?

Users of Public Contracts Scotland should contact website Support Desk. Contact details can be found by following the ‘Contact Us’ option on the left hand menu.

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All users - Who should use Public Contracts Scotland?

All Scottish public sector organisations are actively encouraged to use the website as their main tool for advertising contract notices. Prime contractors on public contracts may also use the website to publish their sub-contract opportunities.

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Buyers - As a Buyer user what access levels do I require?

Access levels will depend on the role you are performing within your Buying authority. Your organisation’s Controller/s will allocate you a combination of the following access levels: Buyer User: has read-only access to Buyers’ areas of the site. Editor: can create and edit OJEU/sub-OJEU (site) notices but requires an OJEU Publisher/Publisher to sign these off for publication. Publisher: can publish sub-OJEU (site) notices. Controller: oversees the administration of Buyer details, access levels, notices and Buyer profile. OJEU Publisher: can publish OJEU notices. Postbox Opener: ability to be selected to unlock an OJEU/sub-OJEU (site) postbox. This is not needed for a Quick Quote postbox. Reporter: can access and generate statistical reports. Quick Quote Editor: can create and edit Quick Quotes but requires a Quick Quote Publisher to sign these off for distribution. Quick Quote Publisher: can publish Quick Quotes. In the event that you think you do not have the necessary access levels you should contact your organisation’s Controller/s.

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Buyers - Can I add more suppliers to a Quick Quote once it has been issued?

Yes. Please see the Quick Quote User Guide for instructions.

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Buyers - Can I issue a Quick Quote to a supplier who hasn’t registered on the website?

No. Suppliers must be registered on Public Contracts Scotland in order to be invited to participate in a Quick Quote. Contracting Authorities should ensure that all suppliers who they do regular business with are registered on Public Contracts Scotland.

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Buyers - Do I need to forward my notice to the OJEU?

No. All notices published on Public Contracts Scotland that require publication in the Official Journal of the European Union are automatically forwarded. Contracting authorities therefore need only place the notice on Public Contracts Scotland, selecting “OJEU Notice” at the outset of notice creation, and the notice shall be submitted to the OJEU as well as being published on Public Contracts Scotland.

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Buyers - How do I complete a Contract Award Notice on the website?

If you would like to award a Notice that has been published on the website, please click on 'Award' on the 'Notice Status' page. This will create a link between the original Notice and the Award Notice, indicating that the original Notice has been awarded. You can do this by locating the original Notice in your Published Notice Workspace (Buyers > Notice Workspace > Published Notices). Clicking on the relevant Notice title will open the ‘Notice Status’ page where you can click on the ‘Award’ button. Your Award Notice will be automatically populated with the information already contained in the original Notice. Please carefully review the Notice to check that the information is it is correct and then add the information on the Supplier(s) who have been awarded the contract before submitting it for publication. If you need to create an Award Notice when a Contract Notice hasn’t already been published using Public Contracts Scotland, you will have to create a new Contract Award Notice through the Buyers > Create Notice option.

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Buyers - How does a Buyer start using the website?

Firstly you should check if your organisation has been set up as a Buyer on Public Contracts Scotland. This can be done by selecting 'Free Registration' at the top of the page, by clicking on 'Register as a Buyer' and searching for your organisation in the 'Search for an existing buyer organisation' box. If your organisation is already registered you will be able to select it and create your Buyer user profile. An email will be sent to your Buyer organisation's Controllers for them to grant your Access Levels. If your organisation is not yet registered on the website, you will be able to 'Enter a new buying organisation'. This allows you to set up a Buyer User. The website support team will be in touch in due course to assist you through the process of setting up your new Buyer organisation.

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Buyers - When will my Notice appear on the website?

All Notices submitted through Public Contracts Scotland before 4pm on Monday to Friday will be processed that day unless clarifications or changes are required from the Buyer. After the website support team have reviewed your Notice it will be dispatched to OJEU (if applicable). Site Notices will appear on the website directly but please note that OJEU Notices are held from national publication for 48 hours - in accordance with OJEU requirements (this does not affect your timescales).

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Buyers - Where will my Notice appear?

All OJEU and sub-threshold notices will appear in your Buyer profile area on Public Contracts Scotland website and can be found by using the "Browse Notice" button on the menu bar. If submitting an OJEU form the notice will also be forwarded to the Official Journal of the European Union for publication.

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Suppliers - How can I make myself available for Quick Quotes?

By registering as a Supplier, you have made yourself available for Quick Quote invitations. There is, however, a search function which is popular with Buyers that requires a secondary profile. This profile is the 'Supplier Finder Profile'. You can create or amend your Supplier Finder Profile by clicking on 'Suppliers' on the menu bar, and by clicking 'Supplier Finder Profile' in the 'My Profile' box. We would recommend that you fill this profile out completely, including a range of key words that describe your business, and tick the box to make it 'public' to Buyers.

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Suppliers - How can I receive notifications when a Notice is published on the website?

Once registered as a Supplier on the website, you will be able to set up an Alert Profile to receive email notifications. Your Alert Profile is based on the 'Commodity Categories' - or areas of business - and the geographic locations that you select. You will receive email alerts when these parameters are met. You can create or amend your Alert Profile by clicking on 'Suppliers' and then 'Alert Profile' in the 'My Profile' box.

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Suppliers - Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach in a response?

You can submit up to 100 attachments in response to a Notice or Quick Quote, through the Postbox Response Workspace. There is a combined limit of 30MB per response, although, if required, you can make more than one response to the same Notice or Quick Quote through the Postbox Response Workspace, so long as the deadline has not passed. Within each response, individual attachments should be no larger than 10MB in size.

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Suppliers - What is the postbox?

The postbox is an optional online submission facility, identifiable by a key symbol displayed alongside the notice, which allows Buyers to receive tender responses from Suppliers electronically in a secure environment. Responses are submitted through Public Contracts Scotland and held in the secure electronic post box until the deadline for responses has expired. Please see the user guides from the left hand menu: Help > User Guides.

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