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Jo Austin, Commercial Bid Lead, reviews how procuring through frameworks can ease the pressure on resources, reduce risk and ensure procurement compliance.

What is a Framework?

Frameworks assist public sector buyers in procuring goods and services via pre-approved (vetted) suppliers. It’s an alternative to traditional procurement via the OJEU tender Process, which can be lengthy and expensive.

Framework providers such as CCS, YPO and PfH will run Framework competitions, allowing pre-approved suppliers to sell their products and services directly to public sector buyers; this will include a defined, agreed set of upfront T&C’s. 

Some Frameworks include a specific set of members, i.e. Procurement for Housing (PfH) have a large group of housing association members, whilst YPO members are primarily educational institutes.

Using a Framework assists Buyers by knowing that they are working with suppliers through a transparent pricing structure, who have met strict standards for the products/and or services they are offering and can prove their expertise, relevant qualifications, minimum insurance levels, quality of service and evidence of successful performance on previous, similar contracts. More recently, this has evolved on how they will meet social value and net-zero targets. 

The Evaluation Process

Similar to a tender for a contract, the framework competition is evaluated on a combination of quality and price criteria. The Framework provider will then review all framework bids and approve a specific number of suppliers to be awarded a place on the Framework. 

Suppliers who are awarded a place on a Framework can bid for work from public and third sector bodies who are authorised to use the Framework. 

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Fun Framework Facts!
  • The Framework is usually broken down into LOTs by product/solution/region, and a limited number of suppliers are awarded a place on each LOT. Some Frameworks will have one supplier, while others hold many suppliers.
  • Framework agreements can last for anything between 2-10 years but are usually an average of 5 years.
  • Every Framework has an upper limit on the value buyers can spend through it. Sometimes millions or Billions – when exceeded, the Framework Provider must conduct a new Framework Tender to allow other suppliers to join.
  • Frameworks are open to both SMEs and larger organisations.
  • Some Frameworks allow ‘further’ or ‘mini’ competitions where a customer reviews specific suppliers and invites them to compete against each other for the project award – this reduces the timescales and complexity of awarding specific works and gives buyers the best possible price.
  • Alternatively, some frameworks allow a direct award (so no mini competition or call offs) – this is only permitted for a limited number of goods and services. Work could also be awarded to a bidder based on a geographical lot which has already been agreed upon as part of the framework agreement.
  • Due diligence such as certifications, references and Terms and Conditions are pre-agreed, whilst SLAs and KPIs are contract ‘Call Off’ Specific.


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The Benefits Of Using Frameworks


What Benefits
Direct access to suppliers with the capability, capacity and ability to deliver against the specific requirements of the services being procured. 

Reduces administration time and costs

Pre agreed set of T&Cs ad SLAs with the ability to use a ‘call off contract’ when required by customer.  

The ability to Direct award provides an efficient way to work without having to go through a separate tender process each time.   
Discounts and savings from suppliers with the ability to further award after the initial contract period, i.e. 2 years or 12 months   

Cost Savings and lock in of fixed costs with flexibility to procure over a period.   

Buyers can procure multiple products from one supplier

Reduced Transactional costs 

Suppliers have a proper understanding of the Buyers requirements/objectives and can provide reviews as part of the agreement. 

Long Term trusted relationship with the supplier

Evidence that budgets are being used wisely   

Transactional traceability procuring through a trusted source 


Frameworks you can procure through Chess

Chess is delighted to be a supplier on a number of public sector frameworks for solutions across our entire product portfolio. This includes our recent award on the YPO 1095 Software Application Solutions Framework, which goes live in March 2023.

Find out about our Frameworks

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about how framework agreements could benefit your organisation or need assistance registering with one of the Frameworks Providers or even preparing a framework agreement, please get in touch with your Account Manager direct or one of our expert Framework Managers today at and discuss your requirements.


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Jo Austin

Jo Austin

Jo is an experienced Bid and Frameworks Lead. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience producing 'winning bids' whilst ensuring the customer is always at the heart of the proposition 

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