Procurement Threshold and Contract Value Estimation Changes

The UK is an independent member of the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA).

A new Scottish Policy Note SPPN 8/2021 has been released to communicate threshold changes.

The WTO GPA procurement thresholds changed on 1 January 2022.

From this date when you calculate the estimated value of your contract you must include VAT (if applicable) at the appropriate rate for your contract (or apply the standard UK VAT rate of 20%).  More information is detailed below.

The threshold values for regulated procurements are not changing i.e. they remain at £50,000 for goods and services.  

If you are unable to estimate the value of a contract that contract will be explicitly made subject to the procurement rules.  

Unless you can show that your contract has no VAT or a lower rate of VAT, it is recommended best practice to add 20% to the net estimated value of your contract.  20% is the current standard rate of VAT.  Adding this standard rate will:

  • remove the risk of underestimating the contract value and therefore

  • ensure you follow the correct procurement route and advertising requirements in line with the new procurement thresholds

If VAT is applicable you must include an allowance in your calculation of the estimated value of the contract to determine whether the contract equals or exceeds the new threshold values.  

How to Use the New Threshold Values and Calculate Your Estimated Contract Value

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

How to Calculate the Estimated Value of your Contract

The estimated value of your contract must include the full lifetime of your contract (including any possible extension periods) plus VAT (if applicable).

For example, if your contract is for 3 years plus a possible 1 year extension at an estimated value of £50k per annum, this is:

4 years (3 years + 1 year extension) x £50k = £200k estimated contract value

If your contract is subject to VAT add a 20% allowance for VAT i.e £200k + £40 = £240k

If your contract is not subject to VAT the total estimated value of your contract = £200k

In both instances the advertised contract value should be £200k i.e. exclude VAT.

The table below shows the new GPA threshold levels from 1 January 2022 with and without a 20% VAT rate allowance:


New Threshold from 1 Jan. 2022

Value Excluding 20% VAT (Indicative only)

The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015  



Supplies and services (except subsidised services contracts):



Schedule 1 bodies 






Subsidised services contracts



Light touch regime for services



Small lots






The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014



Public contract (other than a public works contract)

£50,000 - no change

Not applicable

WTO GPA procurement thresholds change every 2 years i.e. the next threshold change will occur on 1 January 2024, to allow for currency fluctuations. 

For example, per the table above, if you are buying goods and/or services where VAT applies and your estimated NET contract value is equal to or above £115,633 then follow Procurement Journey Route 3.

Contract Notice and Contract Award Notices

Net values should continue to be used for Contract Notices and/or Contract Award Notices i.e. you should continue to exclude VAT in these circumstances.  

How Do I Know if VAT Applies to my Contract?

If you have any queries about specific VAT rates for your contract you should seek advice from your own legal and finance departments.

Please find below some guidance on how this may apply to your contract:

VAT Exempt or Zero Rate VAT Contracts

If the contract’s subject matter is exempt from VAT or zero rated VAT, then you do not need to include VAT when calculating the estimated value of the contract.

VAT Recoverable Contracts

If VAT is initially payable but later reclaimed it must be included in the calculation of the estimated value of the contract. 

It is best practice to add 20% across the entire contract value unless a more precise estimate can be made on the treatment of VAT.

EU Funded Projects

The thresholds for an EU funded procurement are the same as those listed in thresholds.  

It is best practice to always refer to your funding provider for advice when using a contract that has EU funding.

Small Lots and Light Touch Regime Contracts

Small lot and light touch regime contracts should include VAT to ensure compliance with all thresholds.

For any queries you may have please refer to Frequently Asked Questions.

For guidance on works contracts please refer to SPPN 8/2021.