How to Do Business with the Scottish Ambulance Service

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1 How to Do Business with the Scottish Ambulance Service March 2015

2 How to do business with the Scottish Ambulance Service A Guide for Suppliers Overview This guide is to provide practical help for suppliers, including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on doing business with the Scottish Ambulance Service. The Service has to comply with a framework of legislation relating to procurement. This can appear to be complicated and difficult, but we try to make it as clear and straightforward for suppliers as we can, and proportionate to the value of the contract. Most of our procurement is done online to make the process more efficient. The Service is always looking for ways to improve its processes and achieve best value for the public money that we spend in order to provide our services to patients. The existence of good quality and cost-competitive suppliers is essential to achieving best value. There may be opportunities for you to become a supplier to the Service whatever size your business is. The legislation There is a framework of legislation that applies to public sector procurement. This includes EU Directives which are implemented by Regulations (currently the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2012). The EU Directives are based on five principles regardless of the contract value which are intended to ensure fairness in the procurement process across the EU: Equal treatment Transparency Proportionality Mutual recognition Confidentiality These Regulations are due to be replaced later this year when the new Directives are implemented. In addition, there is the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 which is also due to be implemented later this year. Finding contract opportunities Public Contracts Scotland (http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/) provides free and easy access to public sector contract opportunities throughout Scotland. You can register on the portal to receive alerts about opportunities of interest to you. The Service routinely uses this portal.

3 We also have a buyer profile on our own website that links to opportunities we have advertised on PCS (http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/showprofile.aspx?id=aa00393&). Sometimes we use specialised publications or services, such as Constructionline, in an effort to reach suppliers in niche markets or particular geographical areas. We will be publishing our contract register on our website later this year. This will include details of suppliers who already have contracts with us that may have subcontracting opportunities, and when contracts are due to be renewed. The procurement process The Service has to ensure that it is using suppliers that best meet our needs, irrespective of their size. We are keen to support SMEs, but we are not allowed positively discriminate on this basis so you will need to demonstrate that you can meet all of our requirements whatever the size of your business. Preparation: Credentials you may have to provide evidence of your financial stability, business probity, previous experience, and a good understanding of the requirements of the contract. Documents we may ask for documents such as financial accounts, insurance certificates (e.g. employers liability and public liability), evidence concerning health and safety policies, equality policies and accreditation certificates. Remember that the Scottish Ambulance Service is subject to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, which makes most information - including tender information available on request to anyone. If information is commercially sensitive it may be possible to get an exemption to prevent it being disclosed, but this should be made clear on any documentation submitted to us. Applying: The advertisement make sure that you register your interest in the way we request, identify the closing date and allow yourself enough time to prepare your response. If you have any queries, you can phone or the contact on the advert for clarification. Pre-qualification for some contracts, we will require a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) to be submitted. This is used to determine who will be invited to tender based on an assessment of financial information and technical / professional capability and capacity (for example previous relevant experience, staff and other resources, health and safety performance, accreditations etc.). Please make sure you allow yourself enough time to submit your response, ensure you provide the information requested and answer all parts of the questions asked.

4 Invitation to Tender this is an opportunity to bid for the contract. We will provide the specification, information about the basis of any contract that may result from the tender process, and details of how tenders will be evaluated. Evaluation criteria typically include delivery, quality, price and customer support, but this will vary depending on the subject matter of the contract. As with PQQs, please make sure you allow yourself enough time to submit your response, ensure you provide the information requested and answer all parts of the questions asked. Sometimes different parts of tenders are given to different assessors to evaluate, so make sure that you answer each question fully even if this seems to overlap with another question. Follow the format given as this will link back to the evaluation criteria. If it is hard to follow your answers this may affect your score. Usually there is a period before the closing date when questions can be asked. These can be submitted online and the answers will be shared with all bidders to ensure fairness. Keep your answers to the questions in the tender clear and concise. Please do not include extra material if it does not fit into the responses that will be assessed it will be discounted anyway. Useful tips These are some key points to remember if you are bidding for Scottish Ambulance Service contracts. Only bid for work that you are sure you can do. Make sure that you understand the format that we need you to follow for submitting your tender and what timescales you need to work to so that you can complete your bid in time to meet the deadline. Plan and cost the full extent of the contract to ensure that you have not missed any aspects of the costing or other information required. Provide the information requested and answer all questions accurately. At tender stage the Service will be assessing how well you would be able to deliver the goods, services or works required. You will want your response to be better than your competitors. You would be surprised by how often we receive tenders with missing information or where questions are not fully answered. Your bid will only be evaluated on the information you provide as part of the tender process. We cannot take any other information we have about your company into account (good or bad). The process may take longer than you expect. It can take months from the first advert to the award of contract to ensure we follow due process.

5 The Scottish Ambulance Service is committed to preventing any of its business being obtained by those linked to serious organised crime. The Service uses robust processes in an effort to ensure this does not happen. Sometimes we will share information with the police, and where that may be the case we will tell you about it. We are happy to provide constructive feedback to help you to improve future tenders. Further information We provide other information about our procurement processes on our website, but it you have any specific questions please

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