Case Study - PCS trialled for new prison

A new prison under construction in Peterhead has given the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) a unique opportunity to roll out PCS for locally-based buyers for the first time. HMP Grampian will provide around 500 places for male and female prisoners, with both adults and young offenders being accommodated in a facility which will service the Northern Community Justice Authority catchment area.


Although PCS is used by the SPS’ headquarters, the build at Peterhead has allowed all purchasing related to the fit-out of the new prison, to be advertised through PCS by local staff.

Overseeing the pilot project is Karen Pow, senior procurement specialist based in SPS’ headquarters in Edinburgh.  Previously a member of the procurement team at the Scottish Parliament, Karen took up her role at SPS in August 2011, and has latterly primarily focused on the HMP Grampian fit-out project.

Karen, who undertakes the larger value procurements for the project also supports her Peterhead colleagues who have responsibility for procurement under the value of £50,000. This has seen around 10 contracts advertised on PCS so far, with notices for a range of goods including shredders, tractors, security scanners and forklifts.

Before the provision of PCS to the local team, purchasing was mainly paper or phone-based and the use of PCS has enabled procurement activity on the fit-out project to be managed more efficiently. In addition, the PCS service gives a better audit trail, as well as opening up contracts to a wider range of suppliers – supporting the SPS’ on-going drive to encourage competition.

Karen said:

“The trial of PCS for a local project has been very successful and has demonstrated the benefits of the service which could be similarly implemented in other parts of the organisation."

"The team at HMP Grampian has fully engaged with PCS, delivering cost and time efficiencies, as well as better value for money with access to a wider supplier base and increased market competition."

“The use of Quick Quote has been particularly useful for the kind of contracts being procured at this stage of the prison build, and we would envisage that this facility will be of huge benefit to all in-field staff once PCS is rolled out more widely.”