ESPD/SPD Guidance

EU Exit Changes

As a result of the UK's exit from the EU and the ending of the trading transition period at 11 p.m. on 31 December 2020, the UK will now use a Single Procurement Document (SPD) instead of the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD).

There are only some slight changes between the SPD and the ESPD e.g. in terminology such as removing "member states" from the document. 

In summary:

  • If the procurement exercise you are bidding for was advertised before 11 p.m. on 31 December 2020 then it will use the European Single Procurement Document  - the ESPD (Scotland).
  • If the procurement exercise you are bidding for was advertised after 11 p.m. on 31 December 2020 then it will use the Single Procurement Document  - the SPD (Scotland).

In either scenario the buyer for the procurement exercise will provide the document (either the SPD or the ESPD) that you need to complete and submit as part of your bid.  Any saved ESPD responses you have made in your supplier profile will still be applicable to the new SPD.

All information provided on this page is accurate for the new SPD and the ESPD (if it is still being used) unless where specifically stated otherwise.

What is the SPD?

The Single Procurement Document or SPD 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 SPD 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 SPD was introduced to:

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

The SPD document used in Scotland is referred to as the SPD (Scotland). 

The current SPD (Scotland) and ESPD templates used by public sector procurement officers can be found in the Procurement Journey.

An SPD is:

  • mandatory to use by procurement officers for procurement exercises at or above the higher value regulated procurement threshold (or at or above OJEU thresholds if an ESPD is being used by the buyer)
  • best practice to use by procurement officers for £50k excluding VAT and above contracts for goods and services i.e. regulated procurements.

The SPD (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 SPD (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 SPD (Scotland) available in three ways to bidders for completion.  These are:

The Word Version of the SPD (Scotland)

  • In this case a manual Word document version of the SPD 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 SPD (Scotland); 
  • If the procurement officer has any SPD (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 SPD questions;
  • The procurement officer will attach their specific SPD (Scotland) to their Contract Notice in PCS
  • To respond, you must add your responses manually into the SPD (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 SPD (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 SPD (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 SPD (Scotland) or ESPD (Scotland) response.  Please note: you must ensure that the responses are still correct and relevant to any new, future procurement exercise;

The PCS-Tender Version of the SPD (Scotland)

  • If the procurement officer is using PCS-Tender for their procurement exercise, then an online version of the SPD (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 SPD (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 SPD questions;
  • The Contract Notice will include a link to the specific online SPD (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 SPD (Scotland) or ESPD (Scotland) responses.  Please note: you must ensure that the responses are still correct and relevant to any new, future procurement exercise.