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Buy a digital product or service

If you need to buy a digital product or service, you should contact your Delegated Purchasing Officer (DPO) or your procurement team for support as soon as you can. 

What you'll need to do

After contacting your DPO or procurement team, you'll need to develop your requirements with them. Make sure:

  • a Senior Reporting Officer (SRO) is assigned to your project 

  • you have a written business case - this will form your requirements for the digital product or service you want to buy

  • you follow and support your organisation's budget monitoring processes, including following the correct approval process if you're looking to spend money - if you're on the SCOTs network, the Accountable Officer information on Saltire outlines the spend control process for the Scottish Government, including its public bodies and agencies

As your requirements are developed, it is good practice to apply 'weightings' to them, giving the highest weightings to the most important requirements, such as price and quality.  

Meeting the Digital Scotland Service Standard

Any digital product or service you buy must meet the Digital Scotland Service Standard – this includes making sure your service or product:

You should also check whether a reusable service may fulfil your requirements. If you can reuse an existing service, you may not need to go through a full procurement process, potentially saving you time and money. Scottish Government reusable services include: 

  • ScotPayments – you can use ScotPayments to process and make payments to the public 

  • ScotAccount – ScotAccount helps users to sign in to your service and verify their identity 

  • Cloud Platform – the Cloud Platform gives the Scottish public sector simplified access to Cloud technologies 

What your DPO or procurement team will do

After forming your requirements, your DPO or procurement team will publicise your requirements in the form of a tender. Your DPO or procurement team may choose to publicise your tender using Public Contracts Scotland. Public Contracts Scotland is the national advertising website for Scottish public bodies. They may also choose to publicise it through a current Scottish Government framework, G-Cloud or using a Dynamic Purchasing System.

Procurement frameworks


A framework can be a group of suppliers or a single supplier who already has a general agreement to be suppliers to an organisation.

If your digital service or product is procured through a framework, it means terms and conditions and a defined pricing structure will already have been agreed with your supplier.

Buying services or products through frameworks can be faster and cheaper than procuring through an open tender.

Dynamic Purchasing Systems


A Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) is an electronic system of pre-qualified suppliers. It is used for common Scottish public sector purchases.  

A DPS is similar to a framework agreement but, as it is an electronic process, there are opportunities for what is known as a 'call-off' or mini competition with all of the suppliers in the DPS. There is no limit to the number of suppliers that can be on a DPS and suppliers can apply to join at any time.

The benefits of DPS are it:  

  • is a faster process  

  • encourages competition  

  • provides continuous access to a wide range of suppliers  - they can apply to join at any time  

  • provides a simple and proportionate entry for suppliers - especially small to medium enterprises  

  • creates your own specification and evaluation criteria 

After publicising your requirements, you should start receiving bids from organisations who want to supply the digital product or service you need. Your DPO or procurement team will work with you to analyse these bids and choose the bid that best fits your requirements. 

Once you've chosen a successful bid, your DPO or procurement team will sign a contract with the bidder for the supply of your digital product or service and agree your payment terms.

Managing your contract 

The Scottish Government Contract and Supplier Management (CSM) team provide support and guidance to anyone who is managing a Scottish Government contract.   

You can ask the team for help with:  

  • contract handover and implementation  
  • dealing with disputes  
  • general support during supplier meetings and financial checks  

There is a usually a cost for contract management support from the CSM team. Contact the CSM team to find out more about the costs of contract management support:  

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