National Library of Scotland procurement

Information on procurement procedures for suppliers and contractors.

National Library procurement strategy — September 2012-2014

As a public funded body, the National Library of Scotland has to procure its goods, services and construction-related activities sustainably, ethically, fairly and transparently in line with European Union and Scottish Government guidance.

The form of procurement will vary depending on the nature, cost and complexity of the item(s) to be purchased.

The Library's procurement strategy (PDF) (9 pages: 159 KB) outlines our key approaches for the development and continued improvement of internal procurement systems, processes and procedures in support of the Scottish Government (SG) Procurement strategic objectives.


Sustainable procurement

Sustainable procurement as defined in the Scottish Government document 'Sustainable Procurement Action Plan for Scotland' is:

'A process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis and generates benefits not only to the organisation but also to the society, the economy and the environment'.

At the National Library of Scotland we will procure our goods, services and works in a way that minimises the impact on the environment where it is practical and economically viable. In line with Scottish Government policy of increasing sustainable economic growth, we will seek savings in energy, reduce waste, recycle and promote a sustainable approach to the way we conduct our business.

The Library was one of 47 Scottish organisations who graduated from the Carbon Trust's Carbon Management Programme in October 2010. The programme is designed to help organisations set targets for reducing carbon emissions from its operations and put in place robust strategies to achieve the targets. We are committed to achieving this by improving management of energy, water, fleet and business travel.


The Suppliers' Charter

On 22 June 2010 the National Library of Scotland demonstrated its commitment to good procurement practices by signing up to the Suppliers' Charter.

Joint statement between Public Sector Procurement and businesses to facilitate access to public sector procurement opportunities:

  • Both public sector procurement and business accept that effective procurement practices are an important factor in ensuring a varied and competitive marketplace and creating opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as ensuring Best Value / Value for Money for the public sector. We recognise the need, where practical, to simplify and standardise processes and to ensure consistency in order to provide a fair and open approach to tendering. With these aims in mind:
  • Public Sector procurement organisations will:
    • Consult with the business community to identify and reduce barriers to business
    • Facilitate understanding of public sector procurement policy and legislation by relevant stakeholders
    • Ensure that the approach to individual contracts, including large contracts and framework agreements, is supported by a sound business case
    • Keep the tender process as simple as possible, but consistent with achieving Best Value / value for money, to help minimise costs to suppliers
    • Unless there are compelling business reasons to the contrary ensure that adequate and appropriate publicity is given to contract opportunities that fall below the OJEU threshold limits or are otherwise exempt from the public procurement directives. (Compelling reasons may, for example, include the factor that the proposed firm is by recent experience (within 3 months) the best value for money supplier and would be likely to remain so in another competition)
    • Commit to using the core questionnaire for routine procurements with addition of bespoke additions on a case by case basis. Authorities will be expected to follow this format and, as closely as possible, wording for routine open procedure procurements
    • Offer meaningful feedback to suppliers on the evaluation of their proposal at the end of the tendering process
    • Publish guidance for the business community on tendering for opportunities
    • Support training for procurement staff to develop consistency in the use of best practice procurement activity.
  • Businesses and their representative organisations will:
    • Provide feedback from suppliers and their respective associations, on tender processes and perceived barriers to business. Representative organisations will act as a guide to their members in cases of complaint and help them to distinguish the appropriate course of action
    • Recognise duties under EU and UK law surrounding public procurement activity
    • Encourage members of business organisations to adhere to this charter
    • Support public sector websites as a means of accessing contract opportunities
    • Make effective use of their skills and resources in bidding for and providing public sector goods and services [see the Scottish Government's Supplier Journey web pages for details]
    • Support the use of the core questionnaire in the tendering process and the scope for debriefing
    • Encourage understanding of the principles of good business practice by appropriate means, e.g. dissemination of information and awareness raising seminars
    • Work with your customers to deliver value for money throughout the life of the contract.

Read the Scottish Government's list of Scottish Contracting Authorities that have already signed up to the Suppliers Charter.


Supplier satisfaction

In October 2011, we contacted a number of our key suppliers to request formal feedback on our procurement function. For this we used a survey devised by the Scottish Government.



Single Point of Enquiry

The National Library of Scotland supports the aims, vision and values of Scottish Government Single Point of Enquiry:

  • The Single Point of Enquiry (SPoE) has been set up by Scottish Government Scottish Procurement Division to provide suppliers to public sector or publicly funded bodies with an impartial point of contact where they can ask for advice or raise concerns about public procurement practices in Scotland.
  • The Single Point of Enquiry aims to:
    • Provide businesses with advice on procurement legislation and practices
    • Seek resolution of disputes regarding procurement practice 'A'
    • Help improve the consistency of public procurement processes applied by public and publicly funded bodies in Scotland.
  • Its vision is to encourage and establish best practice in procurement within the Scottish public sector and publicly funded bodies by working with suppliers, the business community and purchasers to address issues of concern.
  • It has a number of values, namely to operate with impartiality, fairness and objectivity and promote a culture of openness and transparency in relation to procurement practice.


Advertising of contract opportunities over £50,000

The National Library of Scotland has adopted the national public contracts advertising portal set up by the Scottish Government for advertising all contract opportunities for goods, services or construction related activities. View our Public Contracts Scotland 'Buyer Profile' and the EU procurement thresholds. Please note that NLS is a Schedule 1 entity.

Supplier registration is free and registered suppliers can choose to receive email alerts about relevant contract and tendering opportunities as they become available. A formal two-stage tender process will be followed, which will involve suppliers completing a prequalification questionnaire.


Conditions of contract — goods and services

The Library has three standard conditions of contract for purchase of goods and services available to download in Portable Document Format (PDF). They incorporate a clause requiring payment of valid contractor and sub-contractor invoices within 30 days throughout the supply chain of public contracts.


Contact us

If you have any questions about National Library procurement, contact us by emailing


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