Route 3 - Develop Documents - Contract Notice and Advertising

Contract Notices

Contract Notices should be used to advertise all Route 3 procedures. The only exception to this are:

  • Use of the negotiated procedure without prior notification (only available in strictly defined and exceptional circumstances)
  • In a Restricted Procedure, or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation, sub-central organisations can use a Prior Information Notice (PIN) if certain information is set out in the PIN. A sub-central Organisation is any Organisation which does not belong to Central Government or National Health Services.

Indicative Budget


An organisation may choose to indicate the available budget for delivering the service in question, specify the outcomes desired and invite providers to submit proposals for achieving the outcomes within the resources available. Stating an indicative budget ensures that suppliers' tenders for delivering the service are affordable. This may be appropriate if, for example, a procurement exercise fails and the organisation moves to negotiation with suppliers. In other circumstances, stating an indicative budget may make it difficult for an organisation to assess that the service represents value for money.


Establishing a timetable for the procurement process

This is particularly important if there is an expectation that suppliers will submit consortia bids to allow discussions between suppliers to take place.

[For Care and Support Services, when determining the start date of the contract, an organisation should take into account any process and timescales for registering a care service where this involves a new service or change in the registration of a service. In all cases, an organisation should seek to observe the timescales it has set for decision making.]


All Contract Notices must be published on Public Contracts Scotland (PCS).  PCS is the national advertising portal which provides suppliers with free access to contract opportunities. It also guides Procurement Officers through the process of creating a Notice on its website and automatically creates a Notice on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Contract Notices must set out the information in Part C of Annex V of the 2014 EU Public Procurement Directive [as provided for in PCS].

If using PCS-T or the ESPD (Scotland) word document, Procurement Officers must set out the specific requirements and minimum standards that are relevant and proportionate for the procurement exercise in the Contract Notice (or the PIN if that is being used as a call for competition).  This is not necessary if using the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS as the relevant information is contained within the module. 

After you have submitted the Contract Notice for publication on PCS, you will subsequently receive an alert from PCS with your PCS identification number and a separate mail from Tender Electronic Daily (TED) with your temporary OJEU reference number.

Once your Notice is published in the OJEU, TED will send you the OJEU publication number which you must then retrospectively update in the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS.


Availability of Tender Documents when Publishing OJEU Notices

Regulation 54(1) of the new Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 provides that “a contracting authority must offer on the internet unrestricted and full direct access free of charge to the procurement documents from the date of publication of a notice”. The Regulations define ‘procurement documents’ very widely meaning that the literal interpretation of this provision is that all documents related to the procurement, including technical specifications, terms and conditions and tender documents to be used at subsequent stages must be available at the commencement of a procurement. From an operational perspective however, it is recognised that having all documents available at the commencement of the procurement is not always practical. In general, only in an Open Procedure is an organisation required to make the ITT available from the outset however, in all other procedures, the organisation  must provide sufficiently precise information to enable bidders to identify the nature and scope of the requirement and decide whether to request to participate.


Procurement Officers should note that procurement documents must not be published in PCS-Tender until either:

1) the EU Publications Office confirms that the OJEU notice has been published


2) 48 hours (2 working days) have elapsed since the EU Publications Office confirmed receipt of the notice

The procurement documents should be published in PCS-Tender on the same day of whichever of these events occurs first.

The Contract Notice must contain the minimum and specific requirements for your procurement exercise and soyou should include the standardised statements relating to the relevant ESPD (Scotland) [6] questions. This is not necessary if using the online ESPD (Scotland) module on PCS as the relevant information is contained within the module.

Unlike the questions in ESPD (Scotland), Procurement Officers can create new, or amend the statement(s) in the Standardised Statements document  which will be included in the Contract Notice. Any amended or additional statements must reflect the selection criteria and minimum standards of the particular procurement exercise. Additional or amended statements should only be used if no suitable standardised statements exist and you must ensure that all statements used in the procurement exercise relate to a specific question in the ESPD (Scotland).

​It is important that the Contract Notice provides the scope of the requirement, either by volume or by value and, in the case of Contract Notices for Framework Agreements that it clearly identifies the bodies which will be entitled to use it. If the proposed contract is to be a reserved contract the Contract Notice must state this. It must also state if:

  • the organisation intends to hold an electronic auction;
  • presentation of tenders in the form of electronic catalogues is accepted or required;
  • whether or not variants are authorised or required;
  • information in respect of any lots.

[For the avoidance of doubt, electronic auctions should not, in any circumstances be used for Care and Support Services procurement.]

Where the expected value of the contract is equal to or greater than £4,000,000 you must detail in the Contract Notice a summary of the community benefit requirements you intend to include in the contract, or a statement of the reasons for not including any. Further information on the specific sections of the OJEU Contract Notice can be found below. 

Your Contract Notice must contain details of how the bidders will be able to access the Procurement Documentation e.g. if PCS Tender is used it must provide the relevant reference numbers for the specific procurement and set out time limits periods for the receipt of tenders (bearing in mind statutory minimums).

If uploading Procurement Documents to PCS (Advertising), please note size restrictions currently apply (10Mb per document and a maximum of 40Mb for the Procurement Officer and 10Mb per document with a maximum of 30Mb for the Supplier) on PCS Advertising. However, when using PCS-Tender, attachments cannot be added to the Contract Notice on PCS Advertising, and must instead be added to PCSTender.


PIN which is not a Call for Competition


All Organisations may give advance notice of planned procurements through the publication of a Prior Information Notice  which is not used as a means of calling for competition. This can allow potential bidders to prepare themselves to bid in time for the contracts announced.  It can also enable reductions in timescales for competitions, once the relevant Contract Notice is despatched.

  • The PIN must contain the information set out in section I of Part B of Annex V of the 2014 EU Public Procurement Directive and be sent for publication.
  • The standard PIN form should be used.
  • The PIN must have been sent between 35 days and 12 months before the date on which the Contract Notice is sent.
  • Once a PIN has been published, reductions in timescales for competitions identified in the PIN are possible.

The period covered by a PIN must be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication.


PINs which are a Call for Competition

Sub-central Organisations may publish the PIN used as a call for competition if it includes certain required information (section I and II of Part B of Annex V of the 2014 EU Public Procurement Directive).  The PIN must:

  • Refer specifically to the supplies or services that will be the subject of the contract to be awarded;

  • Indicate that the contract will be awarded by Restricted Procedure or Competitive Procedure with Negotiation without further publication of a call for competition and invite bidders to express their interest; and

  • The PIN was sent for publication between 35 days and 12 months prior to the date on which the invitation to be included in the procurement was sent;

  • Once a PIN has been published, reductions in timescales for competitions identified in the PIN are possible.

The period covered by a PIN must be a maximum of 12 months from the date on which the notice is sent for publication.

Additional Contract Notice Guidance

Two sets of examples (for Open and Restricted Procedures) have been developed to help you complete the OJEU Contract Notice. Both sets contain an example OJEU Contract Notice and a corresponding ESPD (Scotland). These examples are for guidance and are not intended to be definitive templates for the above mentioned two procedures.  You are therefore required to make a professional judgment about the questions/statements used on a case by case basis.

It is not necessary to insert the standardised statements into the Contract Notice if using the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS as the relevant information is contained within the module.

​OJEU Contract Notice Overview

In some instances the OJEU Notice does not specify the exact field where information should be added in line with legislation e.g. where to add text when lotting has been considered but it has been determined not to lot.

Contract Notice Section VI.4.1. Review Body

A supplier should be encouraged to approach you with any concerns they have regarding your procurement exercise.  However there may be some instances where a supplier wants to raise their concerns further. 

Scotland does not have a formal “review body” like some other EU member states: as a result any concerns must be raised via your local Sheriff Court (or Court of Session). This means you must enter the details of your local Sherriff Court in this section and not the name of your organisation.  You can find the address details of your local Sheriff Court via the Scottish Courts website.

This requirement has not changed.  What has changed is that from January 2020 the EU have added a validation that will check the name and town of the reviewing body.  As a result if you enter the same name as your organisation (for an OJEU or above procurement) you will receive an error message advising that these fields should be different.


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