As a public sector organisation the prime objective of Skills Development Scotland (SDS) procurement is to achieve best value for money (VFM).

SDS is a Scottish Public Sector Contracting Authority and requires to meet its legal obligations through the Procurement Reform Regime both domestic and European.

We have undergone an independent Full Procurement Commercial Improvement Programme assessment and were ranked as a High Performing organisation. We also recently secured a silver in our recent SDS Business Excellence self assessment.

The SDS Procurement team adhere to The Scottish Model of Procurement which puts procurement at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery. It sees procurements as an integral part of policy development and service delivery. Value for Money is not just about cost and quality, but about the best balance of cost, quality and sustainability to meet the needs of our customers.

Procurement Policy

The SDS Procurement Policy Manual outlines the key principles of value for money, competition, separation of duties and legal obligations.


Contracts Register

In line with the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, we have published a summarised Contracts Register.  This will be refreshed on a quarterly basis.  If you require any further information in relation to the publicised Contracts Register, please email

Law and Conditions of Purchase

Public sector procurement is a legal process and SDS is required to adhere to EU legal requirements.

Purchase orders are issued through the Finance System. SDS has a no purchase order - no payment policy. Suppliers require to have received a purchase order before they undertake a commitment on behalf of SDS.  

The SDS standard terms and conditions are available below. These will continue to be developed in line with best practice. Short form terms and conditions are available for low value purchase orders (less than £50,000) and long form terms and conditions for high value purchase (£50,000 and above).

Supplier Inclusion

SDS conducts a diverse range of procurements. This includes commissioning a range of national training programmes and other central contracts. Supplier inclusion is a fair and open approach to procurement which encourages a broad range or organisations including SMEs, third sector and Supported Businesses to become part of our supplier base.


SDS has been pro active in reporting on Key Procurement Indicators. For the last six financial years (13/14, 14/15, 15/16, 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19) we have published SDS Annual Procurement Reports. The Annual Procurement Reports publish details of:

  • Central Contracts Placed
  • Central Contracts Compliance
  • Value for Money Savings
  • Key Highlights

View our annual reports: 

Our Procurement People

Skilled and experienced procurement people are our most important asset. SDS was a founding partner in the Procurement People of Tomorrow programme. We have a cohesive and blended approach (vocational and knowledge based) to new entrants to a career in procurement. SDS champions the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Global Occupational Standards bases on the four key pillars of;

  • Process
  • Infrastructure
  • Performance
  • People

We have adopted the Scottish Government’s Procurement Competency Framework for continuous professional development.

Guidance Notes

Due to recent changes in procurement legislation, the SDS Procurement team require to consider how procurement policy and processes will be addressed and communicated. SDS require to interpret and implement as we see fit as a contracting authority.

The Procurement Team have created brief Guidance Notes for internal customers:

Responsible and Sustainable Procurement

We have published our sustainable procurement policy to help colleagues understand how they can get involved and make a difference.  We have also published our strategy to take forward our longer term approach to Responsible and Sustainable Procurement.

SDS also works closely with Ready for Business to ensure engagement with the third sector and Supported Businesses to ensure we buy more sustainably and maximise social value.

Procurement Strategy for Scottish Ministers SPPN 11/2016

26 July 2018


Procurement Annual Report 2017-18

PDF 529 Kb

9 October 2017


Procurement Annual Report 2016-17

PDF 641 Kb

4 August 2015


Procurement Annual Report 2015-16

PDF 592 Kb

13 December 2016


Procurement Annual Report 2014-15

PDF 752 Kb

20 December 2013


Procurement Annual Report 2013-14

PDF 637 Kb

13 December 2016


Terms & Conditions of Purchase (Goods & Services) - Long form

PDF 519 Kb

Looking for different policies?

All SDS policies can be searched and filtered from the Publications and Statistics section.

Get in touch

For more information email the Procurement team