With increasing pressure on social care organisations to reduce timescales and costs whilst maintaining quality and service, now it’s more important than ever that organisations look to improve spend performance and efficiency.
A framework is a purchasing agreement put in place with a provider or range of providers that enables buyers to place orders for services without running lengthy full tendering exercises. Frameworks take away the complexity of procurement by offering an open, fair and transparent service. Under the EU regulations, frameworks are available to be used to assist in procurement exercises.
Frameworks can save members a lot of time, money and unnecessary stress and hassle because there are simple and well-structured procedures in place that also offer flexibility to members. When you sign up to use a framework, the procurement company has already undertaken the pre-qualification stage at framework stage. They provide bespoke timescales to suit your requirements and only work with quality suppliers. They are often able to produce the call off contract for you, using standard terms and conditions and can offer contract advice at any stage of the process.
They are designed to ensure ease of access and offer a compliant route to market as well as ensuring competitive pricing, helping to drive savings and improve efficiencies.
The past decade has seen a steady increase in the use of frameworks and this looks set to continue. Frameworks have been in use and tested for more than ten years in the private sector and, more recently, in some local authorities.
What are the advantages of framework agreements?
The main advantage to a purchasing authority of using a framework agreement is that they do not have to go through the full OJEU process every time the requirements arise. Having to go through the tender procedure once rather than several times, will obviously reduce tendering costs. It also means there is less downtime between identifying the need and fulfilling it, which considering how lengthy the OJEU process can be, could be a considerable benefit. There are also further potential savings to the purchasing body because of economies of scale, which may prompt suppliers to offer more competitive prices.
As well as cost savings, frameworks commonly offer these benefits:
- Provides an opportunity to share information and expertise
- Encourages more integrated working
- Supports local economies through SMEs
- Up-skills employees of the organisations involved
- Develops efficient standardised processes
- Develops pipeline of work to support consistent supply chain
- Promotes community engagement and social economic investment
- Reduced transaction costs
- Continuous improvement within long-term relationships
- Better value and greater community wealth
- Solutions that delight customers.
Careium is part of these large purchasing frameworks:
- Northern Housing Consortium — a membership organisation supporting housing providers across the North of England.
- Procurement for Housing — the only national procurement organisation dedicated to the needs of the social housing sector.
- ESPO — is a customer-focused, public sector owned professional buying organisation.
- NHS SBS – ease of access and a compliant route to market for NHS and public sector organisations.
- Scottish Excel – the leading non-profit organisation serving Scotland’s 32 local authorities and over 100 associate members from across the public and third sector.
For more information on how Careium can support you, please contact your regional key account manager.