APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges) manage a wealth of tenders, frameworks and mini-competitions for their Scottish University and College customers.
As professional bid writers, with an office and bid writing team in Scotland, we regularly produce winning tender results for our clients via APUC opportunities. In any month, we will have 2 – 3 live bids for APUC tenders.
As specialists in bid writing for SMEs, we wanted to share some of the benefits of APUC frameworks and why it has proven so successful for our clients over the last 10 years. To understand what a ‘framework’ is click this link to see our detailed overview.
APUC creates frameworks or approved lists of suppliers for their members to use. Through their agreements, they want to help the public sector:
- Achieve value for money
- Find the best suppliers
- Deliver Social Value and environmental improvements
- Achieve procurement compliance and efficiency.
Their members include Scottish Universities and Colleges, as well as broader Scottish public sector bodies such as the Police, research centres and charities. While a lot of their members aren’t strictly classed as the ‘public sector’, as they receive public funds, APUC runs their procurement in line with public sector procurement rules for Scotland.
Established in 2007, APUC, offers procurement expertise, compliance and advice for all the Universities and Colleges in Scotland. Helping them achieve value for money, social value and community benefits.
APUC Frameworks – 75% of Winning Bidders are SMEs
With a focus on community benefits and social value APUC look to establish ways to engage SMEs in their supply chain by reducing procurement barriers, which makes their frameworks more accessible than many.
Between August 2021 and 31 July, 2022 APUC awarded contracts in excess of £173m to 98 suppliers. Of which 74 were SMEs. Using lots to divide contracts into more achievable and winnable contracts for SMEs.
Social Value and Community Benefits are monitored carefully throughout contracts so ensuring you have systems in place is essential:
- Number of apprenticeships filled by priority groups
- Number of work placements for priority groups
- Number of qualifications achieved through training by priority groups
- The total value of contracts subcontracted to SMEs
- The total value of contracts subcontracted to SMEs
- The total value of contracts subcontracted to Social Enterprises
View our detailed and practical guide to Social Value here.
APUC Bid Writing Top Tips
- APUC frameworks are a competition! When completing questionnaires, it is easy to fall into the trap of completing them just trying to ensure compliance. While this is important, you still need to ensure your tender responses are better than your competitors. They will be evaluated against your competitors and need to have clear advantages to make sure you are shortlisted
- Evidence is key. Being able to demonstrate what you have achieved on similar contracts will offer a lot of reassurance to those looking for a similar service. This also applies to CVs/Bios of your team – make it very clear their experience is relevant and impressive
- APUC Quality Questions are usually quite detailed and include multiple questions, which need to be answered clearly. To do this break the question up and let these become your headings and subheadings. Work to this structure to ensure you are answering the question in full
- Following the instructions – APUC provide detailed instructions covering how the tender will be evaluated, what you should do if something isn’t clear, how to respond to the tender down to the font type and size
- Consistency and easy to ready – ensure you give yourself enough time when writing your APUC bid, to review your drafts, make sure they make sense and have consistent numbers, names and a clear message.
- Start monitoring the Social Value and Community Benefits your organisation creates. This will create great evidence for your APUC framework bid
- They regularly have scored sections for Fair Work and paying the Living Wage – if not already, is this something you can commit to?
List of the upcoming APUC frameworks planned across 2022 and 2024:
APUC Framework Agreement Title
Expected Contract Notice
APUC Floor Coverings Framework
APUC Plumbing Consumables & Commercial Heating Products Framework
APUC Janitorial & Cleaning Products Framework
APUC Lift Maintenance, Installation & Refurbishment Services Framework
APUC Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Framework
APUC Furniture (Supply, Delivery & Installation) Framework
APUC Timber Products & Materials Framework
APUC Professional Services for Construction Framework
APUC Student Information Management Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC eLearning Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC Accommodation Management and Conference Software
APUC Finance, HR/Payroll Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC Alumni CRM Framework
APUC The Supply and Installation of Audio-Visual Equipment & Associated Services Framework
APUC Mass Spectrometry & Chromatography Equipment Framework
APUC Library Security and Self-Service Equipment, Software and Maintenance Framework
APUC Intellectual Property Services Framework
APUC Audit Services - Internal External and Tax Framework
APUC Fitness & Sports Equipment Framework
APUC Employee Engagement Surveys Framework
APUC Fresh Butcher Meat Framework
APUC Laundry Services Framework
APUC Fresh Bakery Products Framework
APUC Waste Management Framework
APUC Road Surfacing & Minor Civil Engineering Works Framework
APUC Condition Surveys Framework
APUC Market Research Framework
APUC Student Module Evaluation Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC Library Management Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Systems and Associated Services Framework
APUC Veterinary Supplies Framework
APUC Pipette Calibration, Servicing & Repair Framework
APUC 3D Printers, 3D Scanners and Associated Equipment, DPS Framework
APUC Library Databases Framework
APUC Electoral Services Framework
APUC Insurance Services Framework
APUC Hair & Beauty Framework
APUC Teaching Qualification Further Education Framework
Which public sector buyers use APUC?
Full Members – Higher Education Buyers
Full Members – Further Education Buyers
Edinburgh Napier University
Glasgow Caledonian University
City of Glasgow College
Glasgow School of Art
Dumfries and Galloway College
Dundee and Angus College
Queen Margaret University
Robert Gordon University
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Forth Valley College
Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Glasgow Clyde College
Glasgow Kelvin College
University of Aberdeen
University of Dundee
Lews Castle College
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
New College Lanarkshire
University of St Andrews
Newbattle Abbey College
University of Stirling
North East Scotland College
University of Strathclyde
North Highland College
University of the Highlands and Islands
University of the West of Scotland
Sabhal Mor Ostaig
South Lanarkshire College
West College Scotland
West Highland College
West Lothian College
Associate Members - Other Bodies
College Development Network
Highland Theological College
Scottish Funding Council
The James Hutton Institute
Fraunhöfer UK Research Limited
East Lothian Council
Shetland College (including NAFC Marine Centre UHI)
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
The Scottish Government
Scottish Police Authority
How does an APUC Framework work?
APUC uses Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) as its procurement portal. Ensure you set up your company profile. This will help you make sure you don’t miss out of relevant APUC frameworks and tenders.
For more tender opportunities take a look at our comprehensive and free tender alert software, covering the UK and Europe, Tender Pipeline.
Bid writing support for APUC Framework?
As bid writing professionals in the public sector, Thornton & Lowe has been helping clients win work on APUC frameworks for over 10 years. This has included sourcing relevant APUC frameworks, provision of bid writing and expert guidance and support with the submission. In addition, we will also help our clients secure call-offs from the framework (further competition) to win contracts.
See our bid writing top tips here, which will help you secure your place on APUC frameworks.
APUC tenders typically have quality sections requiring 8000 to 1000 words, plus references, supporting documents and more basic compliance questions. They are committed to achieving quality and social value for their Education clients. The quality weighting largely outweighs pricing when bids are being evaluated. This means your quality method statements need to be compelling, evidence-based, well researched and tailored to the requirements and the ambitions of their members.
Bid Writing Success and Feedback:
“We engaged with Thornton and Lowe whilst looking for a company that could provide us with expertise and support in managing and the writing of bids and Tenders. We have found working with the team at Thornton & Lowe to be 1st Class - they are organised, have great attention to detail, and have created some superb-looking packs for us. I would highly recommend Thornton & Lowe to any company looking for support and guidance in bid writing”.
To view feedback from our existing clients, click here.
We have produced several case studies demonstrating what we have achieved for clients bidding into the public sector, which can be found here.