In 2021, at least £37 billion worth of contracts were procured using framework agreements: the highest ever amount.
Being on the right public sector frameworks has never been more important for suppliers.
But how do you find them? How can you see which frameworks will offer the most relevant opportunities, which ones your competitors have secured places on, or which ones offer the most valuable contracts?
This blog breaks down how and where to find public sector frameworks, both through publically open avenues and through Tussell's dedicated Frameworks reporting.
But first, a reminder:
What are frameworks?
A framework is an agreement established between one or more public sector buyer and one or more supplier.
Frameworks consist of a list of pre-approved suppliers who have been evaluated and selected to provide a predefined set of products and services. This allows them to bid on specific contracts without having to go through the usual full procurement process.
Buyers 'call off' from the framework to award new contracts exclusively from within this closed pool of pre-approved suppliers. The pool is 'closed' because when the group of suppliers are first awarded onto the framework no further suppliers can join, nor can suppliers not on the framework bid on call-off contracts.
Frameworks can be advantageous for contracting authorities as once established call-offs can be made without a full procurement process having to be undertaken each time, as the terms and conditions have already been established.
Getting onto a framework can be extremely lucrative. They offer suppliers exclusive access to certain contracts within a closed pool of competition, and allow suppliers to bypass often cumbersome and lengthy procurement processes.
Yet, success is not always guaranteed. Once on a framework, a given supplier may never be awarded a call-off contract, or even be asked to take part in any further competition. Even before entering a framework, getting onto them - or finding suitable frameworks in the first place - can be time-consuming and ultimately yield nothing.
So how best can you find the frameworks which are most relevant for you?
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How to find public sector frameworks
Even without a market intelligence platform like Tussell, it is possible to find public sector frameworks using freely available websites. Let's look at how:
Crown Commercial Service
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is a government executive body that assists contracting authorities to procure goods and services. In its role, the CCS has orchestrated the most frameworks out of all public sector bodies by a considerable margin.
'Agreements' created by the CCS are listed on its 'Search Agreements' page.
The CCS allows you to filter agreements by their status and sector, and lists suppliers included on each of its 'lots'.
The CCS search tool does not show an approximate value of an agreement's value, however, nor can frameworks be filtered by their suppliers, buyers or contents outside the pre-given categories.
Find a Tender
The Government's 'Find a Tender' portal replaced the EU's Tenders Electronic Daily service after the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
Find a Tender lists "high-value contracts (usually above £118,000) in the UK's public and utilities sectors".
Find a Tender allows for rudimentary searching of frameworks, including parameters like procurement stage, industry and value.
Again, however, this data is not easily extractable or comparable, nor can frameworks be filtered by suppliers or buyers.
The other central government tender platform - 'Contracts Finder' - lists central government tenders worth over £10,000, and wider public sector contracts worth over £25,000; it only lists contracts published in England.
Contracts Finder offers broadly similar functionality to Find a Tender: frameworks can be searched for and differentiated by their stage, region, value etc. Comparing this data, and gleaning who is part of which framework, remains challenging.
Devolved Administration Websites
Each offers slightly different levels of searchability and functionality. PCS and Sell2Wales, notably, do not allow for frameworks to be easily searched by listed suppliers nor their value.
A myriad of contracting authorities also host their procurement platforms that hold information on frameworks. This includes individual government departments, local authorities and private sector organisations that develop frameworks for public buyers across different sectors. Examples include:
- National Framework Partnership
- North East Procurement Organisation
- London Tenders Portal
... and many more.
The level of information on frameworks provided by these platforms varies considerably, and there isn't a way to easily analyse frameworks across these platforms without manually extracting and comparing them yourself. Many of these sites also require you to create accounts before accessing framework information or only offer detailed information to prospective clients.
Information on frameworks is dispersed across the internet: different platforms provide different types of information on different kinds of frameworks in different ways.
Though information on frameworks can be found, taking a holistic view across this landscape of differing data is difficult without investing significant time in extracting and comparing data manually.
Here's where Tussell steps in ...
How to find public sector frameworks: the Tussell way
Tussell's public sector spend platform allows you to easily find, compare and analyse frameworks (including DPS's). The Tussell platform collects, aggregates and cleans data on public sector procurement into a single, easily accessible platform.
Unlike the routes above, Tussell allows you to easily rank frameworks by total call-off value, find which buyers prefer which frameworks, and see which frameworks your competition or partners are listed on. Tussell also allows you to condense and download all this information for even deeper analysis.
This information will allow you to make more informed, data-lead decisions as to which frameworks to apply for, and which can be avoided.
Here's how Tussell can help you navigate the frameworks landscape:
Tussell can help find the frameworks most relevant to your business.
On the frameworks tab, you can filter frameworks by keywords in their identified call-off contracts. In the example below, we've managed to find 80 frameworks related to internet service provision by using keywords like "internet provider", "provision of internet", "wifi provider", and more.
You can take a broader approach through CPV codes. In the above example, we filtered 'by sector' using 7 CPV codes, including 320000000 for 'Radio, Television, Communication, Telecommunication and related equipment', and 510000000 for 'Installation Services (except software)'.
Using these search parameters will hone in on the frameworks most relevant to your organisation and market.
Once these frameworks have been broadly identified, it is worth digging into each and considering: whether the services it provides actually matches what your organisation specialises in, or if it's too broad; whether the size of contracts awarded via the framework is suitable for a company of your size, or whether frameworks cater for your target market.
By using the 'Framework Ranking' tab, you can see which frameworks are most valuable to your competitors and partners.
In the below example, we found that BAE Systems's most valuable framework by evidenced call-off value was G-Cloud, with the value of currently identified call-offs standing at over £15 million.
By searching for specific suppliers you can further hone down which frameworks deserve your attention. If your competitors are winning business from a framework, your organisation should be on the framework too. If your partner is winning business from it, keep on top of these opportunities so you can support them.
Which frameworks are *really* being used in your sector?
You might wish to sieve out frameworks that don't tend to award high-value contracts or those which award contracts too large for your organisation's size.
You can further refine your frameworks search by specifying the value of contracts awarded under frameworks.
In the below example, we found 29 internet service provider related frameworks that only awarded contracts worth over £10 million from 2015 - 2020.
Using Tussell, you can quickly generate a list of frameworks for a certain buyer or type of buyer using the 'call-off buyer' filter.
In the example below, we found 3 frameworks - including 21 call-offs - that HMRC had called-off from for internet service provider related contracts.
Begin building your procurement pipeline by seeing which relevant frameworks may be due for renewal soon.
In the below example, Tussell identified 47 Crown Commercial Service frameworks that are due to expire within the next 24 months.
From here, you can further filter by the kind of parameters discussed above to hone in on the most relevant soon-to-expire frameworks for you.
By scanning ahead, your business can engage early with buyers to understand what exactly it is they are looking for on a bid. Getting this prepared ahead of time will not demonstrate an active desire to work with the client, but can also give you time to prepare in case added certifications and experience are required.
By combining these different search parameters, you can easily pinpoint the most relevant and beneficial frameworks for them to monitor and aim to become part of.
Though finding opportune frameworks is possible through the 'normal' route, information is spread across an often cumbersome landscape of platforms, varying parameters and different levels of accessibility. Tussell collects and refines this jumbled data, allowing past and future frameworks to be easily identified, compared and analysed.
To see how Tussell's frameworks monitoring can aid you to navigate public sector procurement - and to learn about Tussell's numerous other solutions - book a demo with our team today!
Now that you've found the right frameworks for you, how can you be sure you're taking full advantage of them?
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