John Welch, Deputy Director for Construction at Crown Commercial Service explains how to use frameworks for your building or maintenance project.
With the new financial year fast approaching, now is a good time to review your procurement strategy and pin down the areas you need to focus on throughout the year — such as essential building maintenance work or construction projects.
At Crown Commercial Service (CCS) we understand that local authorities are under more pressure than ever to make every penny count. We’re here to help you save time and money on procurement, allowing you to get on with what matters most — providing services to local residents. We can help you procure a wide range of work such as the construction of a new school, the refurbishment of your social housing stock and the decarbonisation of existing buildings.
Why procure through a framework?
If you don’t want to put your project out to tender yourself, procurement tools such as CCS framework agreements can help you identify a list of suitable, pre-checked suppliers. Frameworks also have the advantage of including pre-agreed terms and conditions, saving you time on negotiations with builders and contractors at the pre-construction phase of a project, as well as having built-in, robust legal protections.
CCS frameworks have already been advertised on ‘Find a Tender’ and suppliers have been assessed using one of the procurement procedures. This means all you need to do is follow the award process in the contract or in the customer guidance that CCS provides for all its frameworks, knowing that all suppliers who are able to bid have been assessed for their ability to deliver to the agreed standard on the goods and services you need.
Once you’ve decided that using a framework is the best way for your organisation to buy what you need, you can then ask all the suppliers listed on it to bid. This process is called a further or mini-competition and can be run under most frameworks. Check the customer guidance for the framework you decide to use.
Why run a further competition?
Frameworks provide specific goods or services, but individual customer needs may vary, which makes it difficult for suppliers to provide a ‘one size fits all’ approach to pricing and requirements.
Further competitions enable you to outline your own specific requirements and identify the best solution for your project. Suppliers can then consider your requirements and submit a bid that outlines how exactly they can meet your needs. You could even go further and invite suppliers to get involved early in your project to help influence based on their experience to deliver against your needs.
When should you run a further competition?
Further competitions work best for more complex goods and services; for example, installing fire protection sprinklers and alarms throughout your estate or a major refurbishment or construction project.
They’re not best suited for low-value, ad-hoc purchases, where the time and cost of running a further competition is disproportionate to the goods and services supplied; such as purchases of one-off, so-called ‘tail spend’ items such as calculators or sports equipment. They are also not ideal when you have urgent requirements, because of the time it can take to complete the process although CCS experts can help you with accelerating mini competitions if this is required.
In some instances, you can choose to place a direct award without further competition. This is an allowed option in our Construction frameworks. For some agreements, such as a Dynamic Purchasing System, there is no direct award option and you can only award a contract following a further competition.
How to get it right
Running a further competition can be daunting if you’ve never done it before, and it’s not part of your normal day to day job. Visit our website for more information on further competition and how to get it right.
Find out more
As the largest public procurement organisation in the UK, we’ve got a range of tailored construction agreements specifically aimed at customers within local government. Get in touch with our team to find out more about CCS can help add power to your construction procurement.