Scottish Supported Business blog

BASE Scotland Chair, Alistair Kerr, has written a blog for the Scotttish Government's public procurement website about the role of Supported Businesses within Scotland's economy.


The time is now. As we slowly emerge from, and learn to live with the pandemic, the true developing social and economic impact on disabled people is starting to materialise. This is where the Scottish Government Sustainable Procurement Duty can provide a robust platform to support Disabled or Disadvantaged people across Scotland to achieve individual goals and ambitions.

The pandemic has demonstrated like never before the vital role Scotland’s Supported Businesses can play in Scotland’s social and economic recovery. Maximising spend through the Supported Business Framework and direct awards. Partnership and networking were the foundation for the BASE Scotland Regional Forum on 12 January, shinning a spotlight on Sustainable Procurement creating employment opportunities for Disabled people in Scotland.

We were joined by Nick Ford from Scottish Government Procurement and Property Directorate, Jim Johnstone from Morrison Construction, Annette Tonner from Community Focus Scotland and Natalie McCrindle from Social Security Scotland Procurement. All provided an insight into the art of the possible and procurement ambition, including discussing in detail around current frameworks and models that are already producing positive outputs.

Nick had recently visited one of the UK’s largest Supported Businesses – Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries (RSBi) in Glasgow. Seeing first-hand the outputs from the sustainable procurement ambitions and importantly, meeting a number of the people who are employed and have benefitted from the policy aims.

Forthcoming opportunities discussed included the new National Construction Framework (Civil Engineering), the National Procurement Conference / Procurex 2022 and the development of the current Supported Business Framework. It was also recognised that supporting small local community organisations as part of the Scotland recovery plan was vital to ensuring that the most disadvantaged get the chances they so richly deserve. The general feeling that the principles of sustainable procurement duties delivering both social and economic outputs were timely and welcome.

The BASE Scotland network warmly welcomed the opportunity for detailed partnership discussions laser focussed on a greater understanding of the procurement policy ambitions and delivering sustained outcomes for all committed to Scotland’s recovery and a sustainable future for Scotland’s Supported Businesses. The BASE network continues to grow with a greater depth of offer. We warmly welcome the opportunity to develop the conversation going forward and embedding Scottish Government procurement ambitions in individual procurement strategies going forward.

BASE is looking forward to developing our relationships with public sector procurement over the months and years ahead. Disabled or Disadvantaged people expect and deserve nothing less. The time is now!