Procurement Policy

Finance and Public Services and Communities – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 6th October 2004.

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Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour 2:00 pm, 6th October 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what progress it is making with the implementation of its environmentally sensitive procurement policy. (S2O-3644)

Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat

The Scottish Executive's procurement policy has already contributed positively to an environmentally sensitive and sustainable Scotland. The Executive has published a considerable amount of guidance and information for public purchasers and suppliers. The guidance, which is available on the Executive's website, requires purchasers to take full account of relevant sustainable development objectives and policies. Guidance to suppliers who wish to sell to the Executive underlines the point that, if they fail to comply with environmental legislation, they may be excluded from competition and that those who offer environmentally preferable goods and services are likely to have a competitive advantage.

Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour

I welcome the minister's positive reply and the importance that is attached to the policy in "Building a Better Scotland: Spending Proposals 2005-2008: Enterprise, Opportunity, Fairness". What monitoring does he intend to carry out to ensure that the policy is driven forward? Will he set targets so that real efficiencies are encouraged throughout the public sector? Does he believe that the efficient use of resources and the procurement policy will raise standards in the private sector through companies that provide the Executive and other public bodies with services and goods?

Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat

I recognise Sarah Boyack's consistent interest in the issue. She will be interested to know that the greening government policy continues to process environmental improvement. We have adopted a number of specific targets that are to be achieved annually. For the years 2003-06, our key targets included reducing the amount of office waste that goes to landfill by recycling 70 per cent of the total waste that is produced by March 2005; reducing the amount of paper that is purchased annually for general in-house daily use by 10 per cent by March 2004; and further reducing our energy consumption by 1 per cent by March 2004. The Executive's environmental performance annual report, which includes the latest performance figures and many others, will be published shortly.

Photo of Cathie Craigie Cathie Craigie Labour

I welcome the minister's response and accept that Government policies can be achieved through the guidance to and conditions on contractors who engage in business with the Government. Will the minister share his thoughts on the guidance that is given to companies that are on the approved list of contractors to achieve our aim of ensuring employment rights, positive training and appropriate attitudes in the work force and to ensure that companies that are in receipt of public money for services have a high employment ethic?

Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat

The Executive believes the ethical considerations that Cathie Craigie has raised to be extremely important. In publishing the guidance on our website and in other ways, we seek to ensure that our processes and our requirements are as transparent as possible, so that organisations and businesses that wish to transact with the Executive are clear about what is required. However, that is something that we always have to do, in the context of legal requirements at the European level and the domestic level.