CPC (Crescent Purchasing Consortium) is owned and run by the further education sector and specialises in developing compliant frameworks for the education sector. They advertise tenders for everything from catering to cleaning, from ICT to travel and create approved suppliers who can work with schools, academies, MATS, free schools, adult and private colleges and Universities.
We have developed a detailed guide for those businesses looking to win tenders with schools and academies, which can be found here.
As professional bid writers, we regularly produce winning tenders for our clients via CPC opportunities. We are specialists in bid writing for SMEs to help them compete against larger competitors with in-house bid teams.
How do CPC frameworks work?
CPC sets up frameworks or DPS (Dynamic Purchasing System) agreements for their education sector members to use. These frameworks allow their schools and colleges to work with approved suppliers quickly and compliantly. Click here for a comprehensive overview of what a DPS and Framework is and why they could be very important for your business.
CPC uses MultiQuote and you can register as a supplier today. However, their frameworks are closed to new suppliers, you will need to wait for these to be renewed. They do however have several DPS solutions which are continually open to new suppliers. CPC Minor Works DPS is open to new contractors until 2025, for example.
For more tender opportunities, take a look at our comprehensive and free tender alert software, covering UK and Europe, Tender Pipeline.
Once successfully awarded onto a CPC DPS or framework, you can offer your existing education clients a compliant solution to continue to use your services, without having to go through a full tender process, which risks you losing the business.
The DfE (Department for Education) and best practice does encourage further competition via the frameworks. This means, once approved, there are regular opportunities to win new education business and school contracts.
CPC Frameworks Overview
CPC has 93 frameworks and a growing number of DPS agreements. A full list of CPC frameworks can be found here.
The Department for Education recommends several CPC frameworks to schools. These include:
- Audit Services framework relating to financial health assessments, financial accounts, corporate governance and reporting on regularity. The current framework is broken into 26 lots with around 10 suppliers on each. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in early to mid-2024
- Building Cleaning framework relating to term-time cleaning, non-term time cleaning, deep/periodic cleaning, one-off cleaning, janitorial and caretaking services, washroom consumables, feminine hygiene services and window cleaning. The current framework is broken into regional lots with around 12 suppliers on each. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in early 2023
- ICT Networking and Storage Solutions framework relating to network hardware, backup, cloud network and server solutions, as well as ICT consultancy. The current framework has around 10 suppliers on each lot. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in late 2024
- Insurance and Associated Services for Academies & Schools framework relating to all required insurances such as employers, professional, public, motor vehicle, legal and cyber. The current framework is broken into 2 lots with 3 suppliers on one and 5 on the other. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in early 2024
- Legal Services framework provides a one-stop shop for legal services, including HR, pensions, property, procurement and dispute resolution. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers from late 2024 to early 2025
- Library Resources and Associated Services framework relating books, publications, learning aids, eBooks, newspapers and library discovery tools and services such as One Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). The current framework is broken into 4 lots and we expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in early 2024
- Multifunctional Devices (MFDs) and Digital Transformation Solutions framework relating to managed print, print audits, IT cloud services, and document scanning. IT support services, mailroom management, data storage, MFD and consumables. The current framework is broken into 2 lots with around 10 suppliers on each. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in late 2024
- Synthetic Sports Facilities framework relating to artificial grass pitches, multi-use games areas (MUGAs), specialist courts, cricket wickets and athletic tracks. The current framework is broken into 2 lots with 7 suppliers on one and 8 suppliers on the other. We expect the new framework to be advertised and open to new suppliers in mid to late 2023.
Bid Writing Support to Win CPC Tenders and Frameworks
If you want to start working with new education customers, such as schools, academies and colleges, CPC frameworks provide you with an approved and proven route to market.
We recommend assessing which frameworks fit your business. Look at when the current framework comes to an end. Typically, CPC will start to advertise the new version of the framework 6 – 9 months prior to the contract end date. When you have found a relevant CPC framework you will be able to look at the current suppliers. Can you compete? If you can’t compete now, what would you have to put in place to ensure you can compete in the future?
Engage with CPC, speak to them and understand who their Category Manager is for your services. They will often want suppliers engaged prior to the tender being advertised, which is a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, as well as a good time to build relationships.
You can start preparing now! If you want to understand what they will expect you to have in place, whether that is financial safeguards, accreditations or experience, please contact us today for more information.
At Thornton & Lowe we can:
- Advise you which framework is right for you
- Monitor tenders so you don’t miss out
- Help your bid preparation and create a bid library
- Manage your live tenders and frameworks.
Our directly employed team of bid writers and bid managers offer our clients a consistent and reliable outsourced bid team. We can’t help you with the price but our role is to maximise the quality score in the tender response.
8 top tips for bid writing can be found here.
Bid Writing Success and Feedback
“The processes that DMS and Thornton & Lowe put into place were robust and we continue to use them to this day. Since the implementation of this, our success rate has increased significantly and our team now has a number of successful bids completed with a total value of £1-2 million.” Terence Hargreaves, TheDMS Digital Group Director
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.