Frameworks and when we use them

South of England Procurement Services ‘Framework Agreements’, including further information on initiating the framework and full contact details are available:

A framework is described as :

“an agreement or other arrangement between one or more contracting authorities and one or more economic operators which establishes the terms (in particular the terms as to price and, where appropriate, quantity)under which the economic operator will enter into one or more contracts with a contracting authority in the period during which the framework agreement applies.”

A framework agreement is, therefore, a general term for an agreement or arrangement between a supplier or suppliers, on one hand, and a contracting authority or contracting authorities, on the other, which sets out the terms and conditions under which “call-off contracts” can be made throughout the term of the agreement.

A framework agreement does not bind any contracting authority to purchase goods, services or works – a contracting authority can decide to use the framework agreement if it represents value for money. If a contracting authority considers that the framework agreement does not provide value for money, it can choose to award a contract outside the framework.

Framework agreements are generally used for purchases where there is a repeat need but exact quantities or timings are unknown. They allow contracting authorities to make individual purchases without repeating many of the stages of a full competitive tendering process required by the Regulations. There is no need to formulate terms and conditions for call-off contracts because these are pre-agreed.

Setting up a framework agreement – early considerations

Is a framework agreement the right approach for the particular goods, services or works to be purchased?
Will the framework agreement be for a contracting authority’s own use or for use by a number of contracting authorities?
Will the framework agreement be divided into categories (or lots)?
Will the framework be concluded with a single supplier or multi-supplier framework?

How will call-off contracts be awarded?

Once the framework agreement has been established the terms of the agreement should include instructions on how call-off contracts should be awarded. The contracting authority may also produce further guidance for the identified users of the framework agreement on how a call-off contract should be undertaken.

Calling off from a framework agreement – early considerations

Was the contracting authority expressly identified in the contract notice?
Is there more than one framework agreement which could meet the need?
What are the terms laid down in the framework agreement for call-off contracts?


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