Guide for setting up Framework Agreements Considerations for setting up a framework agreement 1. Is it possible to commit to purchasing goods, services or works? • Yes – award a public contract in order to secure best pricing, continuity of supply and most advantageous terms and conditions. • No – set up a framework agreement which sets out the terms and conditions under which specific purchases (call-off contracts) can be made through. 2. Reasons for setting up a framework? • Common goods and services required by a number of different users; • Delivery value for money, improved quality and economic opportunities through collaboration; • High volume of call-offs/repeat business; when awarding call-off contracts under a framework agreement the users do not need to repeat many of the stages of a full competitive tendering process. 3. Who will want to call-off from the framework agreement? • Will the framework be utilised by a contracting authority for it’s own use? • Is there an opportunity to work with other contracting authorities either on a national, sector or cross-sector basis? • All identities entitled to call-off under the terms of a framework agreement must be named or immediately identifiable from the class of contracting authority referred to in the contract notice; • The contract notice should also provide an indication of the scope of requirement, estimated value and volume of the total requirements of all the participating entities. 4. What is the optimum duration from the framework agreement? • The Regulations state that the period of framework agreement should not exceed 4 years, including any extensions, except in exceptional circumstances; • Based on the nature of the commodity is competition required on a regular basis; • Unsuccessful suppliers are locked out for the duration of the framework; • Is the time required to establish the framework agreement warranted by the proposed duration of the resulting framework agreement; • Can you justify exceeding the 4 years?
Buyer’s Guide for setting up Framework Agreements 5. How many suppliers will be on the framework agreement and how will requirements be awarded? • Single supplier for standard and readily available goods and services may offer best value for money; • Multiple suppliers may be required to satisfy requirements where there are potential capacity issues; • Splitting the requirements into lots may ensure that specialised suppliers are included for specialised requirements; • It may be necessary to split requirements into lots by geographic regions to ensure that the same level of service is provided to remote and rural areas. 6. Which method of call-off is most appropriate? • Instructions on how users will call-off from the framework agreement must be provided to suppliers at the ITT stage and to users after the framework has been awarded; • Even for single supplier frameworks it may necessary to ask the supplier to supplement their original bid if all the terms were not agreed when the framework agreement was awarded; • The method of call-off will be influenced by the type of good, services and works to be provided; • A combination of methods may be permissible and required on the same framework agreement e.g. direct purchase and mini-competition; • Understanding the proposed method of call-off will influence the supplier’s initial bids for inclusion on the framework agreement. • How to run a competitive tendering exercise for a framework agreement? • If the estimated maximum value of anticipated call-off contracts exceeds the relevant EU threshold and the procurements in question are not covered by the exclusions set out in the Regulations, framework agreements can be awarded after an open or restricted procedure. The negotiated or competitive dialogue are also permitted, where the conditions for their use are met; • Ensure that the contract notes states that a framework agreement is being awarded, includes the identities of all the contracting authorities entitled to call-off under the terms of the framework agreement, state the length of the framework agreement, take care in drawing up the specification and state whether the requirements will be split into lots; • Observe the mandatory standstill period following the conclusion of the tendering exercise for a framework agreement.