Route 2 - Develop Documents - Exclusion, Selection and Award Criteria - ESPD (Scotland)

The ESPD (Scotland) should be used for all selection stage questions.  Organisations can issue selection stage questions either in advance of an ITT, as part of a two stage process, or within an ITT document, a one stage process.  This is to allow organisations to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders, and to ensure consistency  in their approach to selection.

The Selection Stage should allow you to identify suitably qualified and experienced bidders.  Selection criteria should be proportionate to the value of the purchase, its sensitivity, estimated risks, and the complexity of the requirement. 

You should clearly state the minimum requirements and consider the mandatory and discretionary exclusions in the Contract Notice and relevant procurement documents.  More detail on exclusion criteria can be found in the Exclusion Stage station.

European Single Procurement Document - ESPD (Scotland)

The European Single Procurement Document replaces the Standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (SPQQ) and it is best practice to use the ESPD (Scotland) for all Route 2 procurements which begin on or after 18 April 2016.  It is recommended that you should not use the standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (SPQQ) or any local Pre-Qualification Questionnaires from this date onwards

[In the case of Care and Support Services, the mandatory exclusion grounds (regulation 8(1) of Procurement (Scotland) Regulations 2016) must be applied to all procurements. An organisation can also choose to apply the discretionary exclusion grounds and selection criteria and can also choose to use the ESPD (Scotland) for this purpose without amending the questions, and it is a matter of best practice to do so.]

If you are currently a PCS Tender user you will be able to use the online ESPD (Scotland) template on PCS Tender. 

If you do not use PCS Tender you can use the online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS or, if you are unable to do so, you should download the ESPD (Scotland) Word template.  If using the Word version, please ensure you always use the document from this source location to ensure you always use the most up to date version.

The online ESPD (Scotland) Module on PCS offers an easy-to-use tool.  The Module is contained within PCS and can be accessed with your existing PCS log in details.  The Module allows you to select questions which you consider proportionate and relevant to your procurement exercise for inclusion in your ESPD request.  If you use the online Module on PCS, excusion grounds and selection criteria will need to be detailed in the Module and not put in the Contract Notice.  The default exclusion criteria required for a process valued equal to or above the OJEU threshold are provided automatically in the Module therefore you should deselect any discretionary exclusion grounds that you have determined are not relvant and proportionate to the procurement exercise that you are conducting.  You will also have to choose the selection criteria relevent to your procurement exercise.

​The online ESPD (Scotland) Module also enables suppliers to complete and submit the ESPD response electronically.  Suppliers can download and save a supplier profile to reduce inputs required when completing subsequent ESPD responses.

More information on the ESPD Module can be found in the Buyer Guide for ESPD.

 The ESPD (Scotland) allows suppliers to self-declare that they:

  • do not fall within an exclusion clause (or, if they do, they can demonstrate that they have taken self-cleansing measures);

  • meet the relevant selection criteria;

  • (where applicable) fulfil the objective rules and criteria for reduction of candidates.

The ESPD is intended, by the European Commission, to reduce the administrative burden on bidders and remove some of the barriers to participation in public procurement, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

There are circumstances in which a bidder must be excluded from the procurement process, and there are other circumstances in which a bidder(s) may be excluded from the procurement process if you have selected such ground(s) as possible exclusion ground(s) for your procurement process and you consider that exclusion(s) is appropriate in that particular case. These are referred to as mandatory and discretionary exclusion grounds respectively, and can be found in Part III of ESPD (Scotland) and, if chosen for your procurement process, will apply to all bidders.

ESPD (Scotland) Questions

The generic ESPD is used across all Member States of the EU and formed the basis from which the ESPD (Scotland) was developed. The ESPD (Scotland) contains the standard set of questions in line with the ESPD requirements and this means that the questions in the ESPD (Scotland) cannot be amended and new questions cannot be added.


Contract Notices and Standardised Statements

If using PCS-T or the ESPD (Scotland) Word Document, the Procurement Officer should 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 you will select or deselect your specific requirements and minimum standards within the relevant section of the Module.

 This set of standardised statements has been developed to support you in preparing this aspect of the relevant Contract Notice(s) (or the PIN if that is being used as a Call for Competition).  You can add these statements to your Contract Notice (or the PIN if that is being used as a Call for Competition) and complete where relevant.  You may also set out further selection stage and exclusion information you require to be included in the Contract Notice (or the PIN if being used as a call for competition) where relevant and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract.  If you are using the online ESPD (Scotland) module on PCS you may wish to use these statements as a guide when detailing criterion within the Module.

More information on where to state information in the Contract Notice can be found on the Contract Notice and Advertising station.

These statements are aligned to the relevant selection questions in the ESPD (Scotland) to enable Procurement Officers to adopt a standard approach in Contract Notices (and in PINs being used as Calls for Competition). Therefore where selection questions from the ESPD are not being used for the specific procurement exercise, the corresponding statements will not be required in the Contract Notice (and in PINs being used as Calls for Competition).

Some ESPD (Scotland) questions (and therefore statements) are naturally contract specific and you are required to add some information to these statements before insertion into the Contract Notice (or PIN if used as a Call for Competition) e.g. if requesting details of appropriate financial ratios you will only choose to use those appropriate to your particular contract, while others do not require further specification and you can choose to adopt them in their entirety.  If using the online ESPD (Scotland) module on PCS there is scope to add further details to each question (e.g. ratios) for clarity or guidance.

This is not a definitive list of statements and the Procurement Officer should determine which statements are most appropriate for the individual procurement exercise.


Reliance on Other Parties

Where relevant and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract you may consider requesting a separate ESPD response from a sub-contractor, members of a consortia or any other body.

Further information on Reliance on Other Parties can be found in Route 3.


Supporting Evidence

If using the ESPD (Scotland) a bidder is not required to produce supporting documentary evidence or certificates until specifically requested by the Procurement Officer to do so by you.  You must request this evidence before awarding the contract, as part of your due diligence process.  If the preferred bidder is unable to provide this evidence it should not be awarded the contract.

You may also, where it is necessary to ensure the integrity and proper conduct of the procurement process, request, at any time, all or part of the supporting documents from a bidder and any subcontractors, consortia members or other bodies, whose capability and capacity will be relied on to perform the contract. Supporting documentary evidence should only be sought during the procurement process where you have a genuine concern that there is a risk to the effective conduct of the procurement procedure or, in a two-stage process before moving from selection stage to award stage.


Multiple Use of the ESPD (Scotland)

Bidders may reuse the information that has been provided in an ESPD (Scotland) which has already been used in a previous procurement procedure, as long as the information remains correct and continues to be pertinent.

The Module on PCS supports this by allowing suppliers to download and save a supplier profile to reduce inputs required when completing subsequent ESPD responses.

Bidder Responsibility

Bidders may be excluded from the procurement exercise, where:

  • there is serious misrepresentation in filling in the ESPD (Scotland),


  • there is serious misrepresentation of, or withholding, the information required for:
    • the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion;
    • the fulfillment of the selection criteria;


  • the bidder is unable to submit the supporting documents.

More details on the circumstances when a bidder may be excluded due to the above and the possible justification by bidders is set out in the exclusion stage e.g. bidders must not be excluded if they have "self-cleansed".



The objective and non-discriminatory criteria that will be applied to produce a 'shortlist' of bidders must be contained in the Contract Notice or PIN if that is used as a Call for Competition.  This should include weights and scoring, where applied, with an explanation of the relative weighting and scoring methodology.

Further information on Shortlisting and Reduction of the of QUALIFIED candidates can be found in Route 3.


In summary:

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