PDA in Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting for Care Services

PDA in Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting for Care Services

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting for Care Services at SCQF level 8 is a certificated qualification that will improve professional practice and provide continuous development for people who are responsible for the strategic procurement of care services in the Scottish public sector. The qualification will equip candidates with the skills and knowledge they need to manage a tendering exercise effectively and to manage ongoing contracts for care services.

This qualification is available through SQA approved centres with work-based employer engagement.

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA in Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting for Care Services been designed for delivery as a taught course with the Higher National (HN) Units. It will normally be delivered through a combination of workshops and self-directed study. The SVQ Units will ensure a blend of academic theory and application to practice. This will allow learners to generate evidence of their knowledge and vocational competence. The course can be delivered on a full or part-time basis.

This PDA will be available to individuals across Scotland, so it should be delivered in an accessible and flexible manner without any candidate being disadvantaged by their geographical location or other structural factors.

The delivery mechanisms adopted for each approved centre should be flexible, and should widen access for learners. Delivery approaches such as distance learning, e-learning and workplace place learning are actively encouraged. Where possible, these should be used to enrich all learners’ experience of the PDA, not just those individuals living and working at a distance from the approved centre.

Who does this qualification suit

This PDA is targeted at people who have input to the commissioning, procurement and contracting process for the delivery of care services, and to corporate procurement professionals wanting to develop their expertise in more specialist areas of procurement.

The PDA can also be accessed by care professionals working in the third sector and by professionals who arrange social services contracts for health and the criminal justice service. It may also be of interest to employees of service providers who want to extend their understanding of tendering procedures for public sector contracts.

It is anticipated that candidates will be drawn from a broad range of roles that include, for example:

  • Local authority care & support contract managers/officers.
  • Corporate procurement managers/officers.
  • Strategic commissioning managers/officers.
  • Professionals responsible for procurement of care and support in the health sector.
  • Professionals responsible for procurement of social services in the criminal justice service.
  • Workers responsible for procurement in the third sector.
  • Workers responsible for preparing tenders in the third sector.

Those who have experience of commissioning, procurement planning, tendering, and contract management/monitoring will be interested in this PDA for job specific training or development of specialist procurement expertise.


The HN Units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting.

It is widely anticipated that this PDA will provide a solid foundation to advance careers and that it will provide underpinning knowledge for progression to other roles in corporate procurement and strategic commissioning.

People who successfully complete this PDA could progress to:

  • MSc Supply Chain & Procurement Management
  • MSc Logistics & Supply Chain Management
  • Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) Qualifications
  • MSc Purchasing and Supply Chain Management


Due to the nature of this PDA approval is non devolvable. Centres will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence.

How to assess

Assessment has been designed to allow learners to enhance their own practice, and the use of reports and projects is crucial to this. Learners should reflect on their own practice and that of the organisation to critically evaluate themselves and to apply what they have learned to improve activities in the organisation.

Units 1 and Unit 5 can be assessed on a stand-alone basis. Units 2 to 4 will be assessed holistically by the use of a case study.

The Units require that the learner produces written work. This will be, in most cases, research-based. Evidence will be based on the learner’s practical experience in a commissioning, procurement and contracting context in care services.

Qualification content and delivery tools


Group Award code: GG5J 48
SCQF level: 8


The PDA in Commissioning, Procurement and Contracting for Care Services is composed of 5 mandatory HN Units and 1 mandatory SVQ Unit and 2 optional SVQ Units. For candidates to achieve the Group Award they must complete all the mandatory section plus select 2 Units from the optional section.

For further information on the structure of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification document (1.34 MB).