lhc pre-tendered framework guide

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  • Trusted procurement for

    better buildings and homes LHC.GOV.UK

    A guide to using pre-tendered frameworksThe process and benefits

  • About our guides We produce a series of guides to support public sector organisations and suppliers that are considering taking part in pre-tendered framework agreements and those who already use them. We see our guides as part of our core service to bring buyers and suppliers closer together with a straightforward, shared language for procurement.

    Information contained in this guide is not exhaustive and procurement legislation changes regularly, so please consult with LHC for the very latest information.

    LHC Frameworks To discover more about the range of pre-tendered framework agreements provided by LHC, please visit the Framework Directory on our website:


    All LHC framework agreements can be used by appropriate public sector bodies without any fees or framework charges. A full buyer profile can be found on our website at www.lhc.gov.uk/buyerprofile.

    LHCs free to use procurement frameworks help local authorities,

    social landlords and other public sector bodies make more informed

    choices about the products and services they need for the construction,

    refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings.

    Built on a trusted combination of technical, financial, compliance and

    sustainability expertise, our framework agreements enable clarity

    and confidence in every purchasing decision.

    About LHC

  • 01

    What is a pre-tendered framework agreement? Find a simple explanation of the term, with clarification of the other words often used as short-hand labels for the same thing.

    Is a pre-tendered framework agreement my best option? Decide whether using a pre-tendered framework agreements is the best process to use for your procurement.

    How do I identify the most suitable framework? Understand how to select the best framework to meet your needs.

    How can I be sure the framework will give me best value? Discover how pre-tendered frameworks offer you value for money.

    How do I select the best supplier companies from the framework? Learn about the different ways you can choose a supplier from an approved list of companies.

    How do I maximise the success of the framework? Find advice on how to manage a framework once a project is underway.

    How do I check best value has been achieved? Understand the different ways you can measure the impact of the framework.

    Where can I find more information? Refer to other useful sources of information on pre-tendered frameworks.

    This guide contains information on the processes and benefits

    attached to using pre-tendered frameworks, for professionals

    involved in public sector procurement. It is relevant to all

    frameworks operating in England, Wales and Scotland, not

    solely LHC Frameworks, and draws on a number of different

    sources to answer the following key questions.


    Whats inside?

  • Agreed agreements for purchasing Pre-tendered framework agreements set out product, works or service specifications together with the terms and conditions to be used on future contracts. They are used by public sector organisations to help them buy a particular product, works or services, without having to go through a full tender process each time a specific contract is required.

    These specifications and terms and conditions last for the term of the framework, which can be set at any length of time up to a maximum period of four years, unless there are any over-riding reasons to plan the framework over a longer period.

    Explaining pre-tendered Frameworks are referred to as pre-tendered for two reasons.

    Firstly, because all of the research and thinking about what the framework should contain is done by or on behalf of public sector organisations (Contracting Authorities) before the actual supplies, works or services contracts are let. Often this pre-tender work is carried out by procurement providers, also known as Central Purchasing Bodies, like LHC. In this way, frameworks are created or pre-tendered for use by others.

    Secondly, each framework is used to create a list of supplier companies or contractors who are able to provide the relevant products, works or services. Companies are assessed by framework providers, like LHC, who use a pre-qualification questionnaire to eliminate those who dont reach the required standard.

    A large part of the tendering process is therefore completed (pre-tendered) before public sector organisations make their call-offs from the framework for their specific projects.

    The standards set by each contracting authority are different. LHC is known specifically for its technical thoroughness, as well as for the detailed understanding of the broad set of criteria buyers need their suppliers to fulfil.

    Opportunities for supplier companies Being on a framework gives supplier companies the opportunity to win specific contracts. It does not automatically mean they will acquire them. Purchasing organisations are not under any obligation to purchase anything when they opt in to a framework, unless specifically provided for in the agreement. LHC imposes no such obligation on users.

    Other connected terms Framework agreements may also be referred to as framework arrangements although this term was removed from the definition of framework agreements for procurements commenced after 26 February 2015.

    The process of making a contract or purchase through a framework is usually referred to as a call-off. Think of a call-off as the act of awarding a specific contract to one of the companies appointed to the framework. However, please note a contract or purchase is only fully concluded when a written order is placed under the terms of the framework.

    EU compliancy EU compliant frameworks can only be set up by a contracting authority or an organisation set up on their behalf (e.g. Central Purchasing Bodies).

    When you first enter the world of public sector procurement

    the terminology can be confusing. Heres a simple explanation

    of what a framework is and some of the other connected terms.

    What is a pre-tendered framework agreement?

    Framework agreements are used

    by public sector organisations to

    help them buy a particular product,

    works or services, without having

    to go through a full tender process

    each time.


    Framework agreements share risk giving buyers added protection

  • Public procurement rules The Public Procurement Directive sets out a strict process for procurement when public sector organisations are making a contract or purchase over a certain financial threshold. In addition, in the UK, the Public Contracts Regulations add a level of process to below threshold procurements. Many organisations already use frameworks to procure below threshold contracts, because of the value created. In the future it is likely that such use will increase to streamline an otherwise more complicated process.

    EU threshold values are updated every two years but currently stand as shown in the table opposite. Figures are net of VAT.

    Benefits of using frameworks The Cabinet Office (which succeeded the OGC) offers an excellent list of the benefits of frameworks, several of which are provided here:

    -- They are a pre-completed route to market providing a vehicle to centralise procurement spend

    -- Avoid the considerable cost of running your own procurement exercise

    -- Enable sharing of procurement expertise and resources in a cost effective way and avoid duplication

    -- Agreements share risk giving buyers added protection

    -- Reduce the administrative burden in terms of the time and cost compared to running a full procurement procedure each time

    -- Helps to ensure legal compliance

    -- Providers, such as LHC, carry out extensive assessment of potential suppliers, eliminating the burden of assessment for public sector bodies and giving them confidence in the approved suppliers

    -- Once an approved set of suppliers is in place on a framework agreement, a mini-competition between them will determine who works on an actual project, there will be fewer tenders to evaluate for each requirement, making it easier to compare tenders

    -- Assurance of supply because if one supplier on a framework has a capability issue there would still be other suppliers who can deliver the requirement

    -- Larger volumes are more attractive to suppliers and can achieve lower unit costs, not just when the framework is established, but also at the call-off stage

    -- Smaller organisations working together will gain benefits usually only achievable by large organisations

    General principles While the EU Public Procurement Directive applies to frameworks and individual contracts above the threshold values, the EU Treaty of Rome and subsequent Directives require that for all contracts including those below the EU thresholds the tender process must adhere to the general principles of openness, fairness and non-discrimination. Use of pre-tendered frameworks can demonstrate such compliance.

    In addition the UK Regulations now include a specific requirement that all procurements and awards above 25,000 for sub-central contracting authorities are advertised in Contracts Finder.

    However, a contract can be procured without advertising through a closed group, e.g., a set of approved supplier companies on a pre-tendered framework agreement. However, even under these circumstances, a framework call-off award must still be