Early engagement strategy: Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4)

An overview of the National Planning Framework (NPF4)

Preparations have officially begun for the launch of Scotland’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4). This planning framework will replace the current framework, NP3, published in 2014. The NPF4 will set a foundation for a long-term infrastructure development plan that is needed to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Scotland up to 2050.

This Planning Framework is significantly different to previous Planning Frameworks in Scotland. For the first time, spatial and thematic planning policies will be addressed in one place. It will look like a development plan with a longer time to horizon to 2050. It will streamline regional coverage and improve alignment with wider programmes and strategies, including infrastructure and economic investment.

As part of the planning framework process, Planning for Scotland within the Scottish Government has called for extensive early engagement with a wide range of stakeholders in the public and private sector, as well as organisations involved in communities, voluntary work, charities, academics and professional bodies to share their thoughts and priorities for the coming decades.

The nature of this project is shaping what Scotland will look like in 2050; it is not putting in place an early engagement strategy for tenders in the immediate future. Therefore, NPF4 is not a conventional early engagement project between buyers and suppliers in the usual sense, that is – before a tender is published. NPF4 spans decades to come, impacting all sectors and all industries, and the role procurement and business can play building the future for Scotland. This means calls for extensive widespread feedback from organisations of all sizes, across all sectors and specialisms is necessary.

How organisations can get involved in NPF4

Organisations that wish to take part in the early engagement stage of NPF4 will be asked to answer five questions, which Planning for Scotland have named as key themes for their ‘Call for Ideas.’

These questions are based around what Scotland should be like in 2050, and the changes that can be implemented to get there.

  • What development will we need to address climate change?
  • How can planning best support our quality of life, health and wellbeing in the future?
  • What does planning need to do to enable development and investment in our economy to benefit everyone?
  • How can planning improve, protect and strengthen the special character of our places?
  • What infrastructure do we need to plan and build to realise our long term aspirations?

Timetable for NPF4

Planning for Scotland will carry out intensive early engagement on the scope and content of NPF4 from January to March 2020. If your organisation wishes to get involved and answer the questions above, now is the time to submit your responses. It is worth mentioning that responses gathered in the next three months can influence the shape of Scotland over the next thirty years, in a way other planning frameworks perhaps cannot.

Over the summer 2020 a time of reflection on the suggestions will take place, followed by the first draft preparation of NPF4, planned to be submitted in September 2020. The final version of NPF4 is aimed to be published in the Scottish parliament in 2021. Alongside the early engagement process, Planning for Scotland will also be implementing policy assessments which are required by law, as well as incorporating procurement good practices.

This constructive and reflective early engagement with all stakeholders will help procurement in Scotland achieve a substantial transformation.

The development of the planning framework has also generated engagement events that will hugely benefit organisations of all types. The NPF4 Scotplan 2050 Roadshow is a series of events that will be hosted across Scotland to give all stakeholders the opportunity to consider key questions in the 2050 plan. At engagement events such as these, suppliers can open discussions with buyers and other stakeholders to build their opportunities in the near future.

This is hugely exciting news that will only add to the value and necessity of early engagement within the procurement process.

The wider context of early engagement

Early engagement between buyers and suppliers has been a hugely successful strategy in public sector procurement in recent years. Studies have shown early engagement to significantly help suppliers to go on to win tenders as well as streamlining the entire procurement process from start to end. The launch of NPF4 serves to highlight the value of early engagement on a much wider scale. The tools used in conventional early engagement will be invaluable to those engaging with the Scottish Government in its consultations for NPF4. Engagement and discussion with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders will help to shape the vision for Scotland in 2050 that will be set out in NPF4. NPF4 will, in turn, give rise to billions of pounds of opportunities over the next three decades, to each of which early engagement principles can also be applied.

NPF4 will dictate how planning and development are structured throughout the whole of Scotland for the next 30 years. By participating in the current ‘Call for Ideas’ you can influence the way Scotland – or your area of Scotland – develops over the next 30 years in ways that could potentially benefit your business. In addition, attending the workshops and roadshows that are part of the ‘Call for Ideas’ could enable you to meet and engage with other interested parties, including potential buyers of your products and services under future NPF4-related projects, or even with more immediate needs.

Once NPF4 is finalised, it is inevitable that it will lead to a considerable number and range of procurement opportunities. Early engagement can help you to build networks, understand the details of what the buyer is looking for, influence the scope and nature of individual procurements and tailor your tender bid in response to the buyer’s needs – all of which give you an increased chance of success.

How Tracker features can help

Tracker hosts a wide variety of powerful tools run by a wealth of market data. Its features drive the benefits of early engagement, making more effective and productive procurement for everyone.

  • Market Leads and Commercial Projects: Be provided with named contacts and contact details for networking across both the private and public sector. This gets the tender process off to a fantastic start, as you have access to the key decision makers on tenders.
  • Market Leads: Gain advance notification of upcoming framework renewals and recurring projects.
  • Archive data: Understand previous requirements on tenders, with five years of minimum historic data included as standard in each Tracker package. This includes discovering whether your competitors have won business with certain buyers before, uncovering new competitors within your field and identifying sub-contracting opportunities.
  • Spend analysis: Identifying buyer spend patterns, including what they are buying and from.

Experience how Tracker can put your business on the path to success in procurement.

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