Frequently Asked Questions

As a Contracting Authority user what access levels do I require?

Can I add more suppliers to a Quick Quote once it has been issued?

Can I attach supporting documents to notices placed on the website?

Can I issue a Quick Quote to a supplier who hasn’t registered on the website?

Can a supplier obtain contract notice details without registering on the website?

Do I need to forward my notice to the OJEU?

Does it cost anything to use Public Contracts Scotland?

How do I ensure I get notified when an notice has been placed on the website?

How do I find out which public sector organisations are advertising notices on the website?

How do I unsubscribe?

How does a Contracting Authority start using the website?

How does a supplier register on the website?

How quickly will my notice appear on the website?

Is the website just for Scottish suppliers?

Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach to an notice or Quick Quote?

Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach to my submission?

What are CPV Codes?

What are Commodity Categories?

What are the current advertising thresholds?

What checks are carried out on suppliers who register on Public Contracts Scotland?

What happens if I have received no documents after registering an interest in a current notice?

What is Public Contracts Scotland?

What is Quick Quote?

What is the Electronic Post box?

Where will my notices appear?

Who do I contact if I have a problem with the website?

Who is responsible for maintaining the authority’s buyer profile?

Who should use Public Contracts Scotland?

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As a Contracting Authority user what access levels do I require?

Access levels will depend on the role you are performing within your contracting authority. Your contracting authority’s Controller will allocate you a combination of the following access rights: - Authority User - read only access to Purchasers’ areas of the site. - Editor - create and edit notices for the authority but unable to publish OJEU/sub-threshold (site) notices. Editor can also create and publish quick quotes using the electronic postbox. - Publisher - can publish sub-threshold (site) notices and quick quotes. - OJEU Publisher - can publish OJEU notices, sub-threshold (site) notices and quick quotes. - Opener - Tender Postbox opener – ability to be selected to unlock the postbox for OJEU/sub-threshold (site) notices. - Reporter - can access and generate statistical reports. - Controller - oversees the administration of authority details, access levels, notices and buyer profile.

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Can I add more suppliers to a Quick Quote once it has been issued?

No. Once a Quick Quote has been issued additional suppliers can not be added to the list of invited suppliers. In order to add additional suppliers the Quick Quote should be cancelled and a new one issued to the amended suppliers list.

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Can I attach supporting documents to notices placed on the website?

Yes. Supporting documents can be added to contract notices and Quick Quotes at time of creating the notice or subsequent to the notice being issued.

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Can I issue a Quick Quote to a supplier who hasn’t registered on the website?

No. Suppliers must be registered on Public Contracts Scotland in order to be invited to participate in a Quick Quote. Contracting Authorities should ensure that all suppliers who they do regular business with are registered on Public Contracts Scotland. The Public Contracts Scotland account managers can provide you with a supplier flyer template to send out to your commonly used suppliers to encourage them to register.

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Can a supplier obtain contract notice details without registering on the website?

Information published on the Public Contracts Scotland website is accessible to all. This means that anyone can access the website and browse and print off details of the notice. However, a supplier must register on the website in order to download a notice or to record interest in an opportunity and obtain any attachments if they are available. By registering suppliers can use the additional functionalities if being used by the contracting authority e.g. Question & Answers. Contracting authorities should therefore encourage their suppliers to register on the website.

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Do I need to forward my notice to the OJEU?

No. All notices published on Public Contracts Scotland that require publication in the Official Journal of the European Union are automatically forwarded. Contracting authorities therefore need only place the notice on Public Contracts Scotland, selecting “OJEU Notice” at the outset of notice creation, and the notice shall be submitted to the OJEU as well as being published on Public Contracts Scotland.

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Does it cost anything to use Public Contracts Scotland?

No. Public Contracts Scotland is sponsored by the Scottish Government and is free to use for both contracting authorities and suppliers.

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How do I ensure I get notified when an notice has been placed on the website?

Suppliers must firstly register on the website. After providing some personal and business details suppliers must set up an alert profile by selecting from the Commodity Categories relevant to their business. By doing so suppliers will receive an e-mail alert every time a notice is published matching their chosen categories.

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How do I find out which public sector organisations are advertising notices on the website?

You can have an up to date list of public sector organisations using the website emailed to you. Select Info Centre in the menu bar > Publications > 5. Scottish Contracting Authorities

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How do I unsubscribe?

Users who no longer wish to receive e-mail alerts from Public Contracts Scotland should remove all commodity categories from their alert profile. To do this, click "Suppliers" in the menu bar at the top of any page. This will take you to the Supplier Control Panel. Under the "My Profile" section, please click "Alert Profile" and choose to edit the product categories. Tick all the categories in your "Selected Categories" list and select delete. When a Notice is advertised on the Portal matching a category, you will no longer be alerted. Users who wish to be removed/deleted from the PCS portal completely should e-mail the PCS Support Help Desk on support@publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk and ask for the account to be deleted. Someone in the help team will carry out this action. Please be aware, when an account is deleted users will no longer have access to the Interest List and will not have access to archived notices and previous submissions made via the website.

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How does a Contracting Authority start using the website?

Select "Register as a Contracting Authority" and find your organisation using the "Find Authority" box (If your authority cannot be found insert the postal and telephone details in the "new authority details box") and click "next". Enter your personal details and follow the instructions on screen.

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How does a supplier register on the website?

Please see the Quick Start Guide from by selecting Help & Support in the menu bar and then select User Guides.

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How quickly will my notice appear on the website?

All notices submitted to Millstream through Public Contracts Scotland before 4.30pm Monday to Friday will be processed that day unless anything needs clarified with the publishing authority. After Millstream have completed a standard notice check they will dispatch the notice to the OJEU (if applicable) and it will appear on Public Contracts Scotland that day.

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Is the website just for Scottish suppliers?

No, Suppliers from any member state of the World Trade Organisation can register on the website. The following link provides a list of countries in the World Trade Organisation: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/org6_e.htm

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Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach to an notice or Quick Quote?

Individual attachments should be no larger than 10mb in size. There is a combined limit of 30Mb per response.

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Is there a maximum number of attachments I can attach to my submission?

Individual attachments should be no larger than 10mb in size. There is a combined limit of 30Mb per response.

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What are CPV Codes?

Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) codes are used to classify notices placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

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What are Commodity Categories?

Commodity Categories are used to classify each notice in order that relevant suppliers are alerted to the opportunity through the e-mail alert function and can find notices by searching by category. The taxonomy used on Public Contracts Scotland is the Proclass classification system which was developed by the public sector. Accurately selecting the relevant commodity category will enable registered suppliers to be made aware of relevant opportunities. Suppliers when completing the registration process are advised to select the relevant commodity categories in order to receive their free e-mail alerts.

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What are the current advertising thresholds?

Please see the link on the menu bar: Info Centre > Thresholds.

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What checks are carried out on suppliers who register on Public Contracts Scotland?

The portal does not currently have the capability to provide in depth business analysis, including financial probity aspects. The system does however validate the email addresses of suppliers on behalf of contracting organisations.

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What happens if I have received no documents after registering an interest in a current notice?

Suppliers should firstly ensure they have read the full notice instruction correctly. Attaching additional documentation to the notice is optional and the contracting authority may have indicated in the notice an alternate method of obtaining additional information or documents. This could be in the form of a named contact or an alternate website.

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What is Public Contracts Scotland?

Public Contracts Scotland is the national advertising website for Scottish public sector organisations to post large Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notices (contracts over the European directive thresholds) and small contracts commonly known as sub-threshold notices on the website and make subsequent awards. It also allows contracting authorities to invite suppliers to submit quotations electronically via the website’s secure tender postbox. Public Contracts Scotland was launched by John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, at the National Procurement conference in October 2008.

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What is Quick Quote?

Quick Quote is an online request for quotation facility. It is used to obtain competitive quotes for low value/low risk procurement exercises or procurement mini competitions within framework agreements from suppliers who are registered on the website. Only suppliers selected to quote can access the details of the quote and submit a quote. Please see the user guides by selecting Help & Support in the menu bar > User Guides.

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What is the Electronic Post box?

The Electronic Post box is an optional online submission facility, identifiable by a key symbol displayed alongside the notice, which allows contracting authorities to receive tender responses from suppliers electronically in a secure environment. Responses are submitted through Public Contracts Scotland and held in the secure electronic post box until the deadline for responses has expired. Please see the user guides from the left hand menu: Help > User Guides.

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Where will my notices appear?

All OJEU and sub-threshold notices shall appear on the contracting authority’s buyer profile area on Public Contracts Scotland website and can be found using the "browse notice" options. If submitting an OJEU form the notice will also be forwarded to the Official Journal of the European Union for publication. Public Contracts Scotland is an openly accessible website allowing individuals the opportunity to browse notices without the need to register. However, in order to register interest in an opportunity suppliers must first register on the portal.

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Who do I contact if I have a problem with the website?

Users of Public Contracts Scotland should contact website Support Desk. Contact details can be found by following the ‘Contact Us’ option on the left hand menu.

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Who is responsible for maintaining the authority’s buyer profile?

Within each contracting authority someone should be allocated the role of Controller (it is recommended that each contracting authority have more than one Controller). The Controller shall oversee the administration of the authority details and give the appropriate publication rights for users in their authority. All notices published will automatically appear in the relevant tab of the buyer profile.

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Who should use Public Contracts Scotland?

All Scottish public sector organisations will be actively encouraged to use the website as their main tool for advertising contract notices.

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