5 September 2023

Flexible Procurement Team delivers ‘first of its kind’ framework for council

“The assistance of Scotland Excel was invaluable. We were able to hand over the whole exercise with peace of mind.”


The Flexible Procurement Team were contacted by Scottish Borders Council in July 2022, as they wanted to develop a framework relating to the ‘Place Principle’, adopted by the Scottish Government and COSLA in February 2018. The Place Principle enables communities to be actively involved in the future planning of the development of their local areas.

This framework would be the first of its kind in Scotland. Scottish Borders Council’s procurement team did not have the resources available to undertake such a complex and time-consuming procurement project at that time.


Scottish Borders Council’s Project Manager of Transformation for Economic Development & Resilient Communities department, engaged the Flexible Procurement Team via the terms of Scotland Excel’s hosted model. This model allows member organisations to provide the details of a procurement project and receive a quote for the delivery. The Flexible Procurement Team act as an extension of the contracting organisation, using their standard templates and abiding by their contract standing orders.

What we did

A Prior Information Notice (PIN) was published in July 2022 via the Public Contracts Scotland website to establish the level of interest in the project and the type of organisations who might be interested in becoming a supplier on the framework.

Almost 70 organisations expressed an interest. Of these, nine were invited to participate in exploratory interviews to discuss the project and help shape both the strategy and the final tender documents. These nine were selected in conjunction with the stakeholders to ensure that a broad range of potential bidders were represented, including small and medium-sized businesses. The Flexible Procurement Team organised and facilitated these interviews, ensuring the information collected would contribute to the creation of a robust and compliant tendering exercise that would be well received by the market.

The tendering procedure itself was conducted in its entirety by the Flexible Procurement Team, including the use of the PCS-Tender portal to communicate with suppliers and collect and manage the bids.

An evaluation panel was established that included representatives from some of the buying organisations, who would ultimately use the framework, and Scottish Borders Council staff. This panel reviewed the submissions from all prospective suppliers and finally awarded 11 suppliers onto the framework across the two available lots: ‘Local Place Plan Consultancy;’ and ‘Town Investment Plan Consultancy’.

The Flexible Procurement Team completely coordinated the evaluation process from start to finish, and ensured bids met the required project criteria.

The final Place Making Framework can be accessed by over 30 buying organisations based in the Scottish Borders and beyond, including: local authorities (City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Fife Council, West Lothian Council and Midlothian Council) and other public bodies (Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Government, Borders College, Scottish National Heritage, Visit Scotland).


The framework was awarded in February 2023. It is anticipated that the framework will be pivotal in the development of a minimum of 69 ‘Place Plans’ in the Scottish Borders area alone and has a total potential value of in excess of £1m if accessed by other named parties.

By using the services of the Flexible Procurement Team, Scottish Borders Council were able to undertake a fully compliant tendering exercise, resulting in the creation of a first of its kind framework that enables local organisations to call-off via a ‘self-service’ model, saving valuable internal procurement resources and ensuring compliance across various organisations.


“The assistance of Scotland Excel was invaluable. There was simply no capacity within the in-house team to carry out such a complex procurement at that time, and with it being Scotland Excel we were able to just hand over the whole exercise with the peace of mind that the procurement regulations would be followed to the letter.”  Ryan Douglas, Procurement Business Partner.