Review of Scotland's Open Data provision - Feb 2019

I’ve been reviewing the provision of Open Data in Scotland again.

While there is some great work going on, overall the state of Open Data is very poor.

You can read my blog post, with links to the data I collected, here.

The bottom line is that I estimate that 95% of Scotland’s public sector data that could and should be open is still closed.

There has been quite a bit of discussion on this over the last two days on Twitter and Linked In. I even got a supportive comment agreeing with my overall view on this from Prof. Bill Buchanan from Napier University

I’ve set up a new Slack group for the open data community which 11 people have joined in the last couple of days. You can join that here.

I’d be happy to discuss any of this on here or on Slack.



Hi Ian,

I’m part of a small team within Scottish Government, responsible for implementing Scottish Procurement’s Open Contracting Strategy, which was published in September 2017.

Since the publication of the strategy we have made a number of enhancements to our national contract advertising portal, Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) in order to meet the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which I thought might be of interest to you.

Developments include:

• Applying the Open Government Licence to the information published on the site, including contract notices, contract award notices and any published contracts registers
• Creating a dedicated Open Contracting area on PCS which is open and accessible to the public, without the need to register.
• Made contract and award notices available in new, downloadable formats rather than just html.
• Where contracting authorities are also using PCS to carry out the tender exercise, any procurement documents associated with the procurement are now permanently available after the closing date for receipt of the tenders.
• The ability to bulk downloads of notice information which is available in OCDS and TED and can be downloaded in JSON, XML and Excel.
Provision of an Application Programme Interface (API) which means bulk download information will be machine readable.
• The ability to download the statistics from each contracting authority’s buyer profile in either Excel or CSV.
• Application a globally unique identifier (OCID) to notices published on the site which can be used to join-up documents associated with the same procurement exercise.
• Linking the procurement exercise stages through the globally unique identifier.
• Made the unique identifier publicly visible for users and enabled searches on PCS to return results using this identified.

It is mandatory for public bodies to use PCS to advertise or award contracts. Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. As these changes have been applied across the entire site, whenever a public body published contract information using PCS, this is automatically available in formats that are aligned to the Open Contracting Data Standard.

We recognise that this is a process of continuous improvement, so we’re working closely with Open Contracting Partnership to further increase procurement transparency. We have a number of new commitments included in the recently published Open Government Partnership Scottish National Action Plan 2018-20 these commitments are:

• Consulting wider civil society on how best to make the procurement information we publish both useful and accessible.
• Publishing contract documents - starting with large, collaborative contracts
• Publish more information about our procurement-related spend.

Part of these public commitments is to have a consultation with civil society on how best to publish the procurement information, this will be held before the end of May this year. We will be posting an invitation to the event on this site as soon as the arrangements are finalised.

The Scottish Government will be hosting an Open Data and Data Literacy Roundtable meeting on Friday 26 April in Edinburgh. We will publicising this event and we will let you know about this event shortly.

if you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please contact

Kind Regards,

Maureen McClair

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That sounds great, Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to highlight in in my next review.

Could you send me a link to any pertinent pages (eg the API) please? I had a look at the home page, and the site map but nothing leaped out at me



Hi Ian,

If you go to the landing page on Public Contracts Scotland on the right hand side at the bottom of the page is Open Contracting Transparency Information. This will lead you to the page with both bulk Notice Download and API available. Please also see the link below.

To view the buying authorities Contract Registers select Search for Buyers and then the buying Organisation and this will take you to View Buyers Details. The tabs you will show the option for Contract Registers within this tab there is a link which will take you to the register this can then be downloaded in excel and CSV. Please see the link for the Scottish Governments Contract Register.

Kind Regards,



Belated thanks. I did look at this yesterday. It is very good work. Well done to all involved.

I particularly like the clear footer: All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated.

Is the findability a barrier to use, do you think?

In the absence of there being a Scottish OD portal pointing to all of these various resources, actually locating them can be problematic.

If I do a Google search for, say “open procurement data Scotland” then your homepage is the third link (although Google warns me that it does not contain “data”) and your Notice Download page (which offers the Open Data) is nowhere listed on the first page of results.

Just something to think about!

Many thanks