ESPD Guidance

The European Single Procurement Document or ESPD contains questions used at the selection stage of a procurement exercise i.e.it allows procurement officers to ask questions to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders for their procurement. This is ensure that public money is spent with lawful, capable and stable suppliers. 

The ESPD also includes the procurement exercise exclusion criteria  i.e. the circumstances when a supplier would be excluded from the procurement exercise.  Some of these exclusions may be mandatory  -  the bidder must be excluded - and some may be discretionary.

The ESPD is used across the EU and was introduced to:

  • ensure a consistent process;
  • reduce supplier workload;
  • remove barriers to bidding, especially for small suppliers.

In Scotland some slight changes were made to the standard European Union ESPD document to allow for differing terminology and some exclusion criteria differences e.g. blacklisting.  As a result the ESPD document used in Scotland is referred to as the ESPD (Scotland). 

The current ESPD (Scotland) template used by public sector procurement officers, with procurement officer instructions, can be found in the Procurement Journey.

An ESPD is:

  • mandatory to use by procurement officers for above OJEU procurements;
  • best practice to use by procurement officers for £50k excluding VAT and above contracts for goods and services i.e. regulated procurements.

The ESPD (Scotland) can be issued to bidders within a tender document (when using an Open Procedure) or before the tender document is issued i.e. if it is the first stage of a two stage procurement procedure like a Restricted ProcedureCompetitive DialogueCompetitive Procedure with Negotiation or Innovative Partnership Procedure.

The ESPD (Scotland) does not ask questions about the specific tender, it asks about you as a supplier e.g. do you have any criminal convictions? Can you meet the insurance levels required for the contract?

Format of the ESPD

The procurement officer can make the ESPD (Scotland) available in three ways to bidders for completion.  These are:

The Word Version of the ESPD (Scotland)

  • In this case a manual Word document version of the ESPD is used.  The most recent version can always be found in the Procurement Journey;
  • If using, the procurement officer will delete or score out any questions which are not relevant to their procurement exercise in the Word document version of ESPD (Scotland); 
  • If the procurement officer has any ESPD (Scotland) questions which require further clarification e.g. on insurance levels, financial ratios, etc., or minimum requirements these will be added into the Contract Notice with reference to the relevant ESPD questions;
  • The procurement officer will attach their specific ESPD (Scotland) to their Contract Notice in PCS
  • To respond, you must add your responses manually into the ESPD (Scotland) Word document and then upload this into PCS, with any other bid documents you may have, before the tender deadline.

The Online PCS Module of the ESPD (Scotland)

  • In this case an online PCS module is used which allows procurement officers to create their ESPD (Scotland) electronically i.e. the questions are loaded into PCS, which allows you to create your answers in an electronic form.  You do not require any additional or new log-ins to access this, only your existing PCS log in and password details are required;
  • If using, the procurement officer will select the questions that are proportionate and relevant to their procurement exercise online in PCS: these are the only questions you will see;
  • The procurement officer will add any further clarifications or minimum requirements they may have in the online PCS module, beside the relevant question.  As a result this information does not need to be added into the Contract Notice as you will see all questions and further clarifications from the procurement officer on the same page;
  • The Contract Notice will include a link to the specific online ESPD (Scotland) for the procurement exercise;
  • To bid, the Procurement Officer must respond to the questions online in your postbox response and submit with any other bid documents you may have before the tender deadline;
  • You can save your responses as a Supplier Profile and then use these for a future ESPD (Scotland) response.  Please note: you must ensure that the responses are still correct and relevant to any new, future procurement exercise;
  • More information on the ESPD Module can be found in the Supplier Guide for ESPD

The PCS-Tender Version of the ESPD (Scotland)

  • If the procurement officer is using PCS-Tender for their procurement exercise, then an online version of the ESPD (Scotland) is used i.e. the questions are loaded into PCS-Tender.  You do not require any additional or new PCS-Tender log-ins to access this, only your existing PCS-Tender log in and password details are required;
  • The procurement officer will select the questions that are proportionate and relevant to their procurement exercise online in PCS-Tender: these are the only questions you will see;
  • If the procurement officer has any ESPD (Scotland) questions which require further clarification e.g. on insurance levels, financial ratios, etc., or minimum requirements these will be added into the Contract Notice with reference to the relevant ESPD questions;
  • The Contract Notice will include a link to the specific online ESPD (Scotland) in PCS-Tender for the procurement exercise;
  • To bid, respond to the questions online in PCS-Tender and submit with any other bid documents you may have before the tender deadline;
  • You can save your responses as a Supplier Profile and then use these for a future ESPD (Scotland) response.  Please note: you must ensure that the responses are still correct and relevant to any new, future procurement exercise.