These pages set out the policy and principles which the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) has adopted to ensure that the procurement of goods, works and services complies with relevant legislation, other corporate policies and procedures and general good practice. It is our intention to achieve best value and sustainability in our purchases and the use of public money. Our Procurement Policy directly supports delivery of NGS’ corporate priority to develop a sustainable and efficient business model to support our aims and ensure long-term viability. The policy statement and key principles are given below, with further information for suppliers and details of our involvement in the National Fraud Initiative provided on the following pages. The full policy document is available to the right of this page, as is our Procurement Strategy in line with Procurement Reform Act which sets out how we will work to embed a culture of best practice, maximise benefits to the organisation and ensure out procurement is fair, competitive and transparent.

Procurement is defined here as the purchase of any goods, works and services, including consultancy, by NGS from a third party supplier, whether under formal contract or otherwise. All members of staff making purchases on behalf of the organisation are required to act in accordance with this policy. 

‘NGS’ means NGS Charity and NGS Trading Company Ltd for the purposes of our Procurement Policy.


Policy Statement on the Procurement of Goods and Services by NGS

NGS will provide best value in its expenditure of public funds when procuring goods, works and services from third parties, in line with the principles set out below.


Key Principles for Procurement

The policy statement is underpinned by the following principles:

EC Treaty Principles and International Obligations

Procurement must observe European Community (EC) Treaty Principles of Equal Treatment, Transparency, Proportionality, Mutual Recognition and Confidentiality, and processes must comply fully with the EC Procurement Directives and the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (WTO GPA)

Scottish Government Guidelines

NGS will follow the principles of the Procurement Reform Programme[1] and follow best practice in procurement through the Scottish Government’s Procurement Capability Assessment project. As part of this project NGS has established an Action Plan to improve future capability. Attention is drawn to the Scottish Procurement Policy Handbook and the Scottish Procurement Policy Notes available at -

Legislative Requirements

There are several pieces of legislation which NGS must comply with which relate to procurement. These include:

-          Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

-          Equality Act 2010

-          Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Corporate Social Responsibility: Equality, Ethics and Sustainability

NGS recognises that the procurement choices it makes can have significant socio-economic or environmental implications, including consequences for the promotion of equalities, as set out in the Equality Act 2010.  In procuring goods, works and services, NGS will make every effort to ensure there are no unjustifiable negative impacts as a result of our actions. 

Procurement must be undertaken in line with the highest ethical standards and with fairness to suppliers. To this end NGS has signed up to the Scottish Government's Suppliers' Charter. It is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 for those employed by NGS in their official capacity corruptly to accept any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward for doing, or refraining from doing, anything or showing favour or disfavour to any person. NGS has policies on bribery and acceptance of hospitality and gifts, and a staff Code of Conduct which offer advice in this regard.

Best Value

The central aim of the procurement process is to ensure Best Value is achieved.

Best value should not be judged solely on the basis of the lowest initial cost. Design, reliability, maintainability, running costs (carbon footprint) and disposal, for example, will affect the total cost over the life of a product.  Factors such as these may justify a higher initial cost and be deemed most economically advantageous. Purchasers should determine the appropriate balance between quality and ‘whole life’ costs when procuring goods, works and services, and must be able to justify why a particular purchase was made.

A competitive procurement process is essential for achieving Best Value.


Procurement should be through open competition unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary. 

Separation of Duties 

In the interest of financial probity, the roles of budget holder/customer, purchaser and payment authoriser must be separated. In order to make a binding commitment the purchaser must be a delegated approver with an appropriate level of delegated financial authority. Delegated purchasing authority is required to be able to sign contracts on behalf of NGS.

Transparency and Accountability
In relation to public procurement, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides a general right of access to information about all public contracts and procurement activity held by NGS, subject to certain conditions and exceptions. NGS must therefore ensure all procurement is undertaken transparently and in such a way that would not bring any reputational damage to the organisation.  NGS is accountable for its procurement decisions. We may also be required to share suppliers' data with audit bodies for the purposes of fraud prevention. 


Contracts must be in writing and in accordance with National Galleries of Scotland’s Terms and Conditions, which are provided on the Information for Suppliers page.


Suppliers must be paid ontime in accordance with contractual arrangements. The Scottish Government target for payment of invoices by public bodies is 10 working days.

External Consultancy 

In all cases, consultancy must be procured in line with these guidelines. If consultants are employed by NGS to undertake procurement they must abide by the same rules and procedures as NGS staff.


Collaborative Contracts and Quick Quote

NGS has access to several collaborative contracts through the Scottish Procurement and Commercial Directorate and the Government Procurement Service. These contracts cover many areas including stationery, utilities and business travel.

For many types of purchases with a value of up to £50k not covered by a collaborative contract, NGS uses the Quick Quote facility on the Public Contracts Scotland website to seek competitive quotes. Over 50,000 suppliers are already registered on this quotation facility.



For any procurement with a value greater than £50k and not covered by a collaborative contract, requirements will be advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland website.



For further information on the Procurement Policy, please contact:

Michael Browne

Estates Operations Manager

0131 624 6214


Brian Doneghan

Head of Operations

0131 624 6209



[1] The Procurement Reform Programme was the result of a review by John McClelland into Public Procurement in Scotland.