Framework Agreements come under many different guises, but are usually in the case of public sector procurement either a group of contracting authorities (buyers – think Procurement For Housing as an example) who have come together, or a single contracting authority (e.g. a local council) looking to set up an approved list of one or more suppliers/ contractors and agree terms. Those on the framework are then given the chance to go for specific aspects outlined in the agreement – these are called call-offs or mini-competitions.
Before more formal implications of public sector procurement, there was the ‘approved supplier list’. As most public sector approved supplier lists have a considerable amount of money passing through them they need to be EU compliant. In order to do this the contracting authority has to advertise the contract in OJEU and follow a procurement process which is seem as being open, fair and transparent. In practice this could be managed in several formats but the most common are either a single stage process; so straight to tender/ ITT or a two staged process whereby they invite suppliers to complete a PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire), if they are then shortlisted they are invited to tender (ITT), which still includes price and quality assessments (often described as MEAT – most economically advantageous tender).
In most cases a Framework Agreement itself is not a contract, but the procurement to establish a framework agreement is subject to the newly reformed EU Procurement Directive.
Once your organisation has been successfully awarded onto a framework and sent a mini-competition to complete, it is always best to take a step back, assess your original offer and terms, assess the likely competitors' offers and invest time in ensuring you put a robust offer/ bid forward. Often clients will not invest the time required on the mini competitions and of course, it is these that have a value attached rather than simply being on the framework itself.
We are currently working with a land management business in the highlands of Scotland who were recently successful in their tender submission onto a prestigious local authority agreement. Now, the time has come for companies on that framework to submit their pricing and proposals for the mini-competition. We are working closely with the client to create the document, making sure that content is succinct, relevant and importantly, that it looks more engaging than the rest.
If you’re already on a Framework Agreement and are not winning your mini-competitions, or you’re looking to get your organisation onto a Framework Agreement, please contact one of our teams across the country on - Greater Manchester: 01204 238 046, Central Scotland: 01334 208 312, Midlands: 0121 523 1051, email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ or visit www.thorntonandlowe.com/