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Bid Writing to Win Frameworks

A framework agreement is a type of contract that is commonly used as a multi supplier agreement, establishing a long term relationship to deliver works as an approved supplier for the buyer.

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Frameworks

For example, a Council has a range of works to be completed by a group of suppliers, contractors or service providers. Setting up a framework agreement will be an efficient way to work, without having to go through the tender process each time.

Similar to a tender for a contract, the framework tender is usually a mix of quality and price. The buyer will then review all framework bids and approve a specific number of bidders to be awarded a place on the framework.

Then, when the buyer has a requirement or specific project, they will usually run a mini competition or call off, which reduces the timescales and complexity of awarding specific works.

Alternatively, some frameworks allow a direct award, so no mini competition or call offs. Work could be awarded to a bidder based on a geographical lot which has already been agreed as part of the framework agreement. Some frameworks also award based on performance, which will be measured throughout the partnership.

For more information, click here to see our blog on Everything you need to know about a framework agreement.

How do I get on public sector frameworks?

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You should approach a framework as any other tender or contract opportunity. You should invest time and resources to fully understand it, including what the buyer wants and expects, appreciate your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and how you can seek competitive advantage.

The buyer will likely want to see that you have the experience and ability to meet the requirements of the framework. They may ask for references from previous completed works, financial information and information about your company and any accreditations you may hold.

We also advise to consider what compliance elements may be required so that you can plan for them. For example; what training will your staff need? Does the business need additional certifications? What experience and evidence is relevant and can you start planning for it, prior to the tender being advertised. Planning is key!

Bidding for Government frameworks in the UK

Government frameworks in the UK are usually released every 3-5 years, with many public sector organisations creating purchasing groups to combine requirements and ensure competitive prices and procurement security for buyers. Several of these purchasing consortiums are listed below:

Espo

Procurement Body:

20,000 Public Sector Customers across the UK Annually

Framework Values:

Dependent on Individual Frameworks

Scope:

Originally conceived in 1981, ESPO has grown to become one of the UK’s biggest professional buying organisations, providing a vast catalogue of goods and services to over 200,000 public sector customers annually. All areas of the public sector are catered for, from schools and colleges to NHS and emergency services to the wider public sector reach such as charities and housing associations.

At present, ESPO works with around 1300 suppliers, some providing items for their catalogue whilst others provide goods and services for their national and regional frameworks. ESPO’s framework offering is extensive, covering many different services and organised into 10 main categories. Each individual framework opportunity for suppliers is advertised via East Mids Tenders and is awarded as a result of fair, transparent and compliant public procurement processes.

Crown commercial

Procurement Body:

Thousands of public/third sector buyers annually

Framework Values:

£22.7billion in the year 20/21

Scope:

The largest public procurement organisation in the UK, CCS uses their commercial expertise to help buyers in central government and across the public and third sectors to purchase huge range of goods and services, from locum doctors to laptops. Due to the size and scale of CCS, buyers can expect competitive prices and a large number of suppliers, from multinational companies to small and medium businesses (SMEs), vying for places on their many framework agreements.

Frameworks hosted on CCS encompass a huge range of services and values, and are divided into various categories.

Fusion

Procurement Body:

Over 700 public sector buyers

Framework Values:

Dependent on Individual Frameworks

Scope:

Working with over 700 public sector organisations, the Fusion21 network encompasses national frameworks across a huge variety of sectors, from housing to health, education to blue light. With a focus on cost savings for buyers, environmental impact and building meaningful, lasting relationships, this social enterprise empowers public sector buyers to seek innovative, transformative procurement solutions. Investing in community-based projects and working with strategic partners such as The Princes’ Trust is at the forefront of their Foundation, allowing members to see the real-time impact of their involvement. Frameworks on this platform range massively in value and specifications and buyers can procure goods and services from both SMEs and Multinationals.

Lupc

Procurement Body:

Higher Education Sector Organisations across London

Framework Values:

£208million spent by members in 2020/21

Scope:

One of six regional higher education purchasing consortia across the UK, LUPC works collaboratively alongside other specialist public sector purchasing organisations to achieve value for money for their members in way that also benefits wider society, the environment and the economy. Established in 1968, LUPC’s members are primarily universities and colleges of higher and further education, but also include other not-for-profit organisations in the education, arts, science, charity, and wider public sectors. A total member spend of £208million was recorded in 2020/21, with the consortium’s 700+ registered suppliers working on over 100 frameworks.

(See also UK Universities Purchasing Consortia)

Nhs

Procurement Body:

NHS

Framework Values:

Over £3billion spent using NHS SBS frameworks to date

Scope:

Established in 2005 as an innovative partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and digital experts Sopra Steria, the NHS Shared Business Services platform aims to increase efficiency and quality and provide savings across public sector healthcare procurement in England. The services advertised across the various contracts and frameworks hosted by NHS SBS utilise both SMEs and national providers.

Currently, two thirds of all NHS Trusts and commissioners use NHS SBS to procure goods and services, with a £3billion spend and over £726million worth of savings successfully delivered to the NHS. 54 active framework agreements give NHS sector buyers access to over 2300 suppliers and are organised across four main categories: Business Services, Construction and Estates, Digital and IT and Health.

North west construction hub

Procurement Body:

Various Public Sector Bodies

Framework Values:

Over £2.2billion spend to date

Scope:

Established in 2009 as a response to the Government’s drive to improve efficiency within the public sector, the North West Construction Hub (NWCH) services clients from a wide range of groups, including Local Authorities, Local Government, Blue Light Authorities, Universities and Colleges, NHS Foundation Trusts, Housing Trusts, Transport Boards, Free Schools and Academies. The frameworks hosted within the NWCH are divided into 3: High Value (£8m+), Medium Value (£2m-£10m) and Low Value (£500k-£3m). The NWCH has a proven track record of facilitating over 436 projects to 113 clients at a combined estimated value of £2.2billion.

Schools buying club

Procurement Body:

Schools and Multi Academy Trusts across England

Framework Values:

Dependent on Individual Frameworks

Scope:

As the name would suggest, the Schools’ Buying Club network specialises in procurement solutions for Education. Supporting schools and multi academy trusts through regional buying hubs, the Schools’ Buying Club works with both multinationals and SME suppliers to provide cost effective, high quality solutions to their members.

Their frameworks focus on several key areas, including ICT products and services, catering, cleaning, HR and payroll and grounds maintenance. As schools across the country spend in excess of £9billion per year on the procurement of goods and services, many of these frameworks are high in value and aim to build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships between buyers and suppliers.

Lhc

Procurement Body:

Over 700 publicly funded organisations throughout the UK

Framework Values:

Projects valued around £350million each year

Scope:

Offering national coverage combined with local expertise and delivery, the LHC is committed to working sustainably with local communities, sharing benefits and providing extensive support to both members and suppliers.

Frameworks for the LHC cover areas such as Professional Services, Energy Efficiency, Property Protection & Maintenance, Construction & Refurbishment and Roofing, Windows & Doors. To date, they have operated 19 Frameworks, worked alongside suppliers on over 1000 projects with a value of £463million and counting.

How can Thornton & Lowe help me access frameworks?

There are several areas where Thornton & Lowe can provide support to ensure you are in the best position to win work. and success.

Thornton & Lowe can help you add significant value to your offering, showcasing your services to the best of your abilities in order to win work on competitive frameworks.

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