When starting to bid for public sector contracts, or indeed when looking to increase your portfolio as a supplier, framework agreements can be a good place to start.
A framework agreement is an overarching agreement whereby a number of providers are selected to deliver services for a particular contract. The frameworks are likely to cover multiple geographical areas and service offerings, to enable multiple suppliers to be involved. This can range from huge national frameworks with hundreds of suppliers to smaller regional frameworks looking to engage with a small group of companies.
The main benefit of a framework agreement for the authority is that there is no need to repeat the tender process. The authority can select multiple suppliers and then call off work accordingly—this is sometimes through a mini competition tender. It means they do not need to go out to the market for multiple services or products, as the framework can cover a variety of different areas. This can also be a benefit for a supplier: if you are going to tender for multiple lots of work within a framework, your tendering process will be streamlined and more efficient.
Large volumes of work can be secured under one framework agreement. This eliminates some of the risk as a company, as you are taking on part of a contract rather than becoming the sole supplier. If you are new to bidding and the tendering process, you can ease yourself in to the public sector method and make sure that you do not ‘bite off more than you can chew’.
Framework agreements encourage SMEs to bid, as packages of work may be split into smaller lots which are more achievable for SME firms. SMEs can also work together to compete against larger players in the market—this is very much in line with the Government strategy to encourage fairness, transparency and encourage smaller firms to bid for contracts.
Get ahead of your competitors
Frameworks can be highly competitive, as many are highly attractive to potential suppliers and can bring an element of prestige to the company. Make sure you are aware of the procurement cycles and pipelines for any of the local councils, housing associations or larger bodies which you may be interested in working with. A lot of this information is widely available, meaning you can plan ahead and ensure that your bid team is prepared.
Examples of national framework opportunities
Crown Commercial Services was introduced to centralise procurement services, and manages many national frameworks. A lot of organisations see being a framework supplier as a status symbol and use it as a marketing tool for their business.
Other large frameworks available to the public sector include:
To discuss how our team can assist you to gain a place on a framework, contact us today and we will be happy to help.