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Last edited 02 Sep 2021
Innovative partnership procedure
The Single Procurement Document (Scotland) - also referred to as SPD (Scotland) - is a document that contains questions used at the selection stage for post-Brexit procurement exercises in Scotland to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders.
The Supplier Journey portion of the Scottish Government’s procurement guidance website offers an overview of the different types of procurement procedures that are available under SPD (Scotland). One such type of procurement is the innovative partnership procedure.
According to the STAR Procurement Glossary of Terms, an innovation partnership is: ‘A new route to market permitted in procurement regulations, allowing (public bodies) to work with suppliers to develop a new product or service, and to permit the subsequent purchase of that product or service without the requirement to undertake a new openly advertised tender.’
The Construction Procurement Handbook further states: ‘These partnerships are intended to enable clients to call for bids without pre-empting the solution where the requirement cannot be delivered by the current options available to the market.’
This type of partnership procedure is meant to encourage innovation and is essentially a procurement process that incorporates a research and development agreement. Commercial confidentiality is prioritised if this type of procedure is used.
- Public contract notices (published on Public Contracts Scotland) must make it clear that this procurement method is being used. Minimum requirements must be included.
- Any supplier is permitted to make a request to participate; this is accompanied by an SPD (Scotland), which is then assessed.
- Procurement officers will use a negotiated approach to invite interested suppliers to submit ideas to develop innovative supplies or services. This may be followed by several tender stages.
- Procurement officers will negotiate with all bidders at all of these stages to improve content (except at the final tender stage).
- The minimum requirements and selection criteria (or award criteria) of the tender cannot be negotiated. This criteria typically encompasses questions that can be used by the buyer to compare and score the merits of the specific bid - including quality and price - for the contract.
- The public body may award partnerships to more than one supplier.
Initially introduced under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the innovative partnership procedure has not been widely adopted. However, it is one of the six main procedures for higher value regulated public sector procurement in Scotland. Some procurement officers may choose to follow one of these procedures even if the contract is estimated to be lower than the suggested budgetary thresholds.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Innovation in construction projects.
- Innovation partnership.
- Procurement route.
- OJEU procurement procedures.
- Research and development in the construction industry.
- Selection criteria.
- Single Procurement Document (Scotland).
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