The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland represents the largest
element of construction (by value) in Scotland. Its member organisations – listed on the
front of this report – mainly comprise SMEs involved in various aspects of construction
engineering from steel fabrication and lift installation and maintenance to mechanical,
electrical and plumbing installation and maintenance.

Over the years two issues have given rise to major concerns for these firms – lack of
cashflow security and the needless cost associated with wasteful duplication in public
sector prequalification processes. SEC Group Scotland has been working closely with the
Scottish government and Scottish Parliament to address these issues.

The Scottish Government is firmly committed to using procurement as a strategic tool to
enhance the commercial well-being of Scottish construction supply chains. This, in turn,
promotes growth through investment in technology, jobs and training. Amongst measures
introduced have been the standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (sPQQ) which aims to
standardise the prequalification process and, from the beginning of 2014, the trialling of
project bank accounts. The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and implementation
of the recommendations in the Review of Public Sector Construction could be catalysts for
real and sustained improvement.

This Report, which has been compiled by my colleague Sarah Greatorex BA, MA, MBA,
SEC Group Executive Secretary, is in support of the monitoring being carried out by the
Scottish Government to assess the impact of measures aimed at improving payment
practices and reducing the cost of prequalification. I’m grateful for the help provided by my
Executive Assistant, Zanna Tweedie, in sending out the questionnaires
The survey, upon which this Report is based, covered the Scottish local authorities and
NHS Scotland. A second report covered universities in Scotland, and comparisons can be
made between these two reports. Responses to the questionnaire were obtained under
the Freedom of Information Act since an initial voluntary survey failed to elicit sufficient

Approximately £4bn is spent by the Scottish public sector on construction and
construction-related activities. In Scotland there are 32 councils, and responses were
received from 30 of these, and also from NHS Scotland and the Scottish Environmental
Protection Agency.

In analysing the responses we have drawn up a number of recommendations that are
listed at the beginning of this Report. We intend to pursue these with colleagues in

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