Case Study - Scottish Natural Heritage

Scotland boasts some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes and wide range of habitats and wildlife which makes up its natural heritage. The organisation responsible for looking after this unique national asset is Scottish Natural heritage (SNH) – it aims to promote care for and improvement of our natural heritage, encourage enjoyment and awareness of it, as well as ensuring it is maintained for generations to come.


SNH operates a network of offices throughout the country with seven area office and fifteen management units.  The focus for SNH’s strategy and priorities are biodiversity, climate change, development advice, protected places, land use and wildlife management.  Helping to deliver a diverse range of goods and services needed to meet these challenges is SNH’s Procurement Team.
Based at its headquarters in Inverness, SNH’s Procurement Team is responsible for around £10.5 million of annual spend from everything from bird hides to site condition monitoring.
Elaine Macdonald, Procurement Officer has been with the organisation since 1985 and took on a procurement role in 2005.  SNH was one of the organisations used to pilot the use of the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) before its official launch and Elaine was one of the first buyers to receive training on the system.
Elaine said:

“SNH previously used Public Tender prior to the launch of PCS in 2008.  As one of the first organisations to use the portal, our supplier and contractor were moved across to the PCS portal.  Following a short training session, my procurement colleagues and I successfully trained around 160 SNH staff and I continue to be responsible for the organisations use of the PCS.
“PCS really suits the organisation – we have a high percentage of low-value, low-risk procurement exercises so those with the relevant training can use the portal to advertise contract opportunities with minimal need from the central procurement team.
“We are rolling out the use of Quick Quote for purchases between £1,000 and £25,000, so far we have completed 18 contracts and the feedback is very positive.  It’s a far simpler process and saves on administration time.”
SNH relies on its local supply base so encourages suppliers which it has dealt with previously to register on the portal.  Shortly SNH will be contacting all its suppliers by mail shot to encourage them to re-register on Supplier Finder.
Elaine explains:

“Since using Quick Quote we noticed that certain suppliers we know who could provide the goods or services we are looking for were difficult to find on the portal.  We will be contacting them to let them know if they update their profiles on Supplier Finder, they will be much more likely to be included in contract opportunities.
“We are also about to pilot the use of the portals mailbox to allow us to send out tender documents for higher-value contracts and the suppliers/contractors can submit their tender via the portal (eTendering).  This will save time and resources.
“Overall PCS has had a significant impact on procurement practices across the organisation – there is a much higher level of compliance with users finding the system much easier to use and it has delivered efficiency and cost savings.”