A framework is a legal agreement between a buyer and one or more suppliers, which is designed to aggregate spend related to the delivery of a series of products or services, that will be delivered over a defined period of time.
A framework enables all parties to benefit from the economies of scale created within that agreement. Following an evaluation process, the framework agreement grants a buyer with access to one or more suppliers that have been fully qualified as competent in their field of expertise. A framework also removes the need for a buyer to undertake a series of standalone procurement processes which would otherwise be required to deliver larger scale purchases, saving time, money and internal resources.
There are many frameworks available to both the public and private sectors. The types of services offered are diverse, including the purchase of stationery, IT equipment, consultancy services and the full spectrum of construction services from repairs and maintenance, design and build, modular and offsite construction through to multimillion-pound bespoke construction and infrastructure projects.
By offering a significant and commercially attractive volume of work to a supplier, a framework affords the buyer an opportunity to seek additional commitments from that supplier, beyond the core services required.
These commitments often relate to the core services offered and will provide the buyer with additional benefits. For example, within a publicly funded construction project, a local authority procurement team may require their contractor to commit to offering training, apprenticeship opportunities and community engagement initiatives that will further enhance the socio-economic impact of that project.
Many frameworks offer multiple suppliers to a buyer, which can be evaluated via a mini competition. At SCAPE, we have pioneered a “direct award” approach.
This means that following a rigorous procurement process - which goes beyond statutory compliance with UK, European and Scottish procurement regulations – buyers can secure immediate access to a single provider of services (or ‘delivery partner’) that is always supported by an extensive local supply chain.
The direct award approach increases the potential speed of service delivery and further enhances the commercial attractiveness of the framework to the delivery partner, thus enabling a significant uplift in efficiency, commitments and quantum value that can be enjoyed by the buyer.
Direct award performance
To secure the best results from a direct award framework, a structured management process needs to be in place, supported by a strict governance process.
At SCAPE, a large team of framework, performance and client relationship managers operate with the support of auditors, procurement and legal professionals who continually monitor project performance and compliance with regulations. Together, they ensure that each project is being delivered in line with the framework agreement and that the commitments made by the delivery partner are being met.
Through this approach SCAPE has been able to evidence project performance that surpasses the national average, in terms of time, cost and client satisfaction.