Procurement  of support under SDS should enable choice. The Act  is underpinned by a set of principles clearly designed to maximise choice and control for supported people. Provided that the person’s choice does not place them at risk of harm; and meets their personal outcomes they should be able to choose freely. This appears to work in opposition to current procurement practice where the individual’s choice would be secondary to the requirement to (re)tender in line with public procurement regulations.

The tensions between individual choice and procurement regulations are highlighted in the way that Option 2 procurement is handled. (Option 2 is where the person has full direction of the available resource but does not hold the money directly.)  Restrictive interpretation of procurement requirements have led to high control, choice- reducing ‘solutions’ being implemented.

Encouragingly the new Social Care Procurement Guidance is clear ” there no legal requirements that stipulate a contracting authority must follow a procurement process to meet their obligations under Option 2 (S.6.11) .  Alongside s.12 of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act, 2014  which states that local authorities are no longer required to advertise for health and social care contracts under the value of €750,000 there are new freedoms available to contracting authorities to  place individual choice and control alongside procurement considerations.