PCIP Overview

The Procurement & Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP) has now been running since 2015.  

PCIP assessments occur approximately every three years for each public procurement sector in Scotland.  The PCIP assessment process is not an audit but provides a means of measuring and reporting on the procurement and commercial capability of organisations.  This is done through the provision of evidence based around a series of set questions.

The programme is designed to support and encourage the continuous improvement of procurement and commercial practices.

    Quickfire Guide

    Quickfire Guide

    PCIP Overview

    Key Points to Note

    • organisations are assessed every two - three years
    • the current cycle (cycle 3) will be undertaken from 2023
    • for cycle 3 a PCIP Pulse Check Assessment and a Pulse Check Lite Assessment have been developed 
    • The Full Assessment has an extra scoring level to drive further improvement - Advanced Practice
    • there is a core national question set used by all assessors, which has been agreed by each Centre of Expertise
    • national performance bandings are used to support consistency and reporting
    • the PCIP assessment methodology allows significant information to be submitted and assessed in advance of the assessment day
    • all participating organisations are encouraged to provide feedback and input to the assessment as part of the programme

    PCIP Pulse Check

    The PCIP Pulse Check will commence in 2023, with the offer of a new approach to further support each sector.   The assessment will focus on higher level and more strategic evidence areas that are currently produced on a regular basis.  

    There were be two assessments available: the PCIP Pulse Check and the PCIP Pulse Check Lite. 

    Both Pulse Check assessments have a compulsory question set of 11 areas (rather than the previous 23) with optional questions.  These optional questions are asked at the discretion of CoE assessment teams (in agreement with individual organisations). This approach will promote maximisation of continuous improvement and support shared learning at a national and local level.

    The model consists of (for both the PCIP Pulse Check and PCIP Pulse Check Lite assessments):

    Question Type Number of Questions Further Information
    Mandatory Questions 11 Questions These questions will be answered nationally across all sectors and organisations.
    COE Discretion 9 Questions This will be at CoE discretion and will be decided upon/communicated prior to your assessments beginning.
    Not Required 4 Questions These questions will no longer be asked but will remain in the assessment document to allow any full assessments to take place where required/desired.

    The wording of the questions themselves have not changed from the previous Full, Medium or Lite PCIP assessments you may have taken, with the exception of a new Climate question that has been added to the PCIP Pulse Check Assessments in response to the Climate Emergency.

    As before, the provision of specific requested evidence is required for your PCIP Pulse Check assessment.   

    What Assessment Will My Organisation Go Through?

    What PCIP assessment you undertake is decided by your CoE and their assessment of several factors.  Your CoE will confirm (in agreement with your organisation) whether your organisation will undertake an existing Full, Medium or Lite PCIP assessment or whether an abbreviated assessment option (a Pulse Check or a Pulse Check Lite assessment) will be used.

    In Summary:

    The new PCIP Pulse Check assessment model offers:

    • a reduced question set 
    • a blended question set consisting of mandatory and discretionary questions
    • a streamlined process for organisations (supporting resource whilst still assessing and supporting current procurement priorities)
    • an hybrid model that can be tailored by the assessing CoE to the organisation and the sectoral context.  This allows for greater flexibility and consists of a blended question set.                
    • CoE's can provide specific information to participating organisations and your contact here should be the first point of call.

    The full contents of the PCIP assessments including all guidance, data requirements, and evidence suggestions can be found in the following pages.