School procurement: John Welch, Deputy Director for Construction at Crown Commercial Service explains how to use frameworks for your building or maintenance project




With the new academic year in full swing, 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 the education sector is 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 – running your school. We can help you procure works on everything from the construction of a new secondary school, to the painting and decorating of your classrooms.

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 school. 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 educational establishment 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 solutions specifically aimed at customers within the education sector.

We offer the biggest construction commercial agreements in the country, driving industry change in support of the government’s construction strategy. For example, our Construction Professional Services (CPS) framework and dynamic purchasing system (DPS) helps deliver and support a wide range of construction projects through all stages of the project lifecycle.

To find out more about how CCS can help you add power to your procurement,

 CLICK HERE and download our digital brochure.


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