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Eight Top Tips for First Time Framework Users


So you’re an educational sector buyer who’s using a framework for the first time? Well don’t worry because we’re about to make your life a bit easier – hopefully! We’ve complied 8 top tips to help you understand some of the terms and practices when it comes to frameworks.

  • 1. What is a framework? - A Purchasing Framework offers a call off contract that sets out the terms under which individual purchases or “call offs” can be made throughout the period of the agreement. For more details see our previous article on what a framework is.

  • 2. What does EU-Compliant mean? - You are legally required by EU regulations to follow a particular process when your aggregated institutional spend reaches or exceeds a certain threshold at a category level. Our framework agreements comply with those legal requirements.

  • 3. Check Your Eligibility - Ensure that you’re eligible to use the framework. The requirements will be specified in the framework terms and the OJEU Contract Notice, so it’s important to read the framework user guide before using any public sector buying organisation’s framework contract. All CPC frameworks are eligible for all educational institutions to use.

  • 4. Lots - Some frameworks are broken down into ‘lots’ to support SME’s and member requirements. A ‘lot’ can cover anything from a single type of product category right up to the full range of goods and services. The ‘lot’ will have a description which tells you what goods and services can be bought under that particular ‘lot’. Some ‘lots’ are also let on a regional basis to encourage local suppliers to participate.

  • 5. The Contract Price - Some frameworks have set pricing where this has been agreed as part of the tender process. A good example of this is the Office Supplies contract which provides a core list of pricing that all members can access. This framework also allows for negotiation on price based upon volume purchases.

  • 6. Direct Award - This is where a particular framework allows the customer to purchase directly from a supplier within a ‘Lot’ without going to a mini-competition. Remember that some frameworks only allow for mini-competitions and do not offer the option for direct award.

  • 7. Mini-Competition - This is when you can invite all suppliers to respond to a requirement. You must invite all eligible suppliers on the framework. You can’t just pick and choose who to invite or invite external suppliers who are not a party to the framework. To conduct a mini-competition on one of our frameworks you can use either the CPC Quote Tool or our E-Sourcing cloud depending upon the complexity of your requirements. Both make it very simple to notify all relevant suppliers of your requirement and to then issue clarifications to all suppliers and award to the chosen supplier.

  • 8. How good are the suppliers on the frameworks? - The panel of suppliers are vetted, approved and contract managed by the CPC, so you can be assured of their reputation and quality.

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