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What is a framework?

A purchasing framework is an 'umbrella agreement' that sets out the terms (particularly relating to price and quality) under which individual purchases (call-offs) can be made throughout the period of the agreement. Framework agreements are designed to help buyers procure goods and services from a list of pre-approved suppliers. Each framework supplier has been through a robust procurement process to get a place on the framework. A contract is only formed between your institution and a supplier (not CPC) when you make a purchase.

How do I use a procurement framework?

This can vary from framework to framework and it depends how complicated your requirement it is. For some purchases it can be a relatively simple matter of comparing price lists and selecting the cheapest. For more complex purchases you may need to define your requirement then invite all suitable suppliers on the framework panel to submit their proposals with prices

How do I use a framework compliantly?

A framework cannot deliver compliance simply because it is used. You need to run your procurement in a compliant manner in accordance with the UK Public Contracts Regulations.

Under Procurement Regulations, if there is more than one supplier on a framework you are typically required to carry out a mini competition exercise to give all eligible suppliers an opportunity to submit a proposal in response to your requirement. There are financial thresholds set out in the UK Public Contracts Regulations and if the cumulative value of the purchases is likely to exceed the threshold for your institution the Regulations must be followed.

What are the main benefits of using purchasing frameworks?

1. You can be assured of the supplier's quality and capabilities as the panel of suppliers has already been vetted and approved

2. Prices are as keen as possible because every supplier has been through a competitive process in compliance with the Procurement Regulations

3. The suppliers are engaged in constant and repeated competition for business throughout the life of the framework (where a panel has more than one supplier)

4. The buying process for each framework is made as straightforward as possible by CPC and the process is clearly explained in a User Guide

5. Better prices and service because using a framework consolidates the purchasing power of lots of individual institutions

6. You can rely upon CPC's advice, expertise and collective muscle if you experience a problem with a supplier

How are CPC frameworks created?

Typically, CPC will set up a framework in the following way:

1. CPC consults its members to find out what goods or services are required, and whether the total spend is likely to exceed the regulation threshold - £214,904.00 for goods and services, £5,372,609.00 for the procurement of works and £663,540.00 for the procurement of a specific list of services found in Schedule 3 of the Regulations.

2. CPC, with assistance from its members, develops a specification and researches the supplier market for the commodity or service in question

3. CPC carries out a competitive tendering exercise in compliance with Public Sector Procurement rules, inviting tenders from all suitable suppliers. The tender specification sets out how the framework will be accessed by CPC members

4. A supplier or (more usually) a panel of several suppliers is selected, based on a number of criteria including price, quality and service

5. CPC prepares a User Guide that explains to members how to use the framework

6. CPC manages and improves the performance of the framework throughout its life

See our range of frameworks