For those new to public procurement – we know that frameworks can seem a little confusing.

Publicly funded bodies must abide by UK procurement law when spending money on goods and services. This ensures public money is spent transparently and fairly. A procurement framework is one way in which organisations can comply with these regulations.  We’ve compiled a list of FAQs below to help you understand frameworks and how our sector uses them.

What is a procurement framework?

It’s an arrangement where an organisation (in our case SEC) identifies a shortlist of suppliers who are able to deliver certain works or services. When we set up a framework we will design the specification and check suppliers for quality, price and financial standing. The highest scoring suppliers are then awarded to the final framework.

Once the framework is awarded it’s live for four years. No new suppliers can join the framework during that time. Whilst live customers are able to “call-off” individual contracts from the framework.

Any publicly funded body can use our framework – this includes housing associations, local authorities, universities and NHS bodies.

What are the benefits of using one?

When using one of our frameworks:

  • You’ll save time – sometimes up to 12 months when compared to running the procurement in-house
  • You’ll benefit from increased buying power / economies of scale
  • You’ll gain access to our intelligent specifications and cost models
  • We’ll support you with each stage of the process and ensure you’re compliant
  • You have two different award options – direct award to the top-ranked supplier or carrying out a mini tender amongst all successful suppliers
  • You’ll benefit from our supplier due diligence – all suppliers on our frameworks are regularly checked for their financial standing.
  • You will also secure secure 2 training places for every procurement you run through us

What is a Direct Award?

When using our frameworks you’re able to direct award to the top-ranked supplier. In exceptional cases, you are able to direct award outside of number 1 with a strong justification. If you’d like to speak to us about this in more detail please get in touch.

How long will this take me?

A direct award will take approximately 3-4 weeks depending on your internal approval processes.

A direct award step by step…

What is a Mini Competition?

You’re also able to run a mini-competition to call off our frameworks. You’ll be abel to use your own specification and cost model. You can also choose your own cost / quality split and quality questions. All pricing submitted by contractors must be linked to the framework.

How long will this take me?

A mini tender will take approximately 6-8 weeks depending on your internal approval processes.

A mini competition step by step…

Are your frameworks free to access?

Yes – all of our frameworks are free to access. A levy % dependant on whether you are a Guest or a Member is collected directly from the contractor once a contract is awarded. This percentage will never be more that 1.5% for Members and 2% for Guests.

Can I use a framework if Section 20 applies?

Yes – you can use our frameworks if Section 20 applies to your contact. Please see the guidance below and contact us if you need further advice – Section 20 Advice.

What project value should go through a framework?

Our frameworks that cover construction works and services are designed to support contracts with a value of £25,000 and upwards (not including VAT). This matches with public procurement thresholds and means that you’re getting the best value out of your project.

If you’d like support procuring a contract that is worth less than £25,000 we offer a bespoke procurement option. We can help with your tender documents and then administer the tender locally which should provide a better outcome for you.

Please note – this does not apply to our consultancy frameworks. They are designed to support contracts with a lower spend given the nature of the services.