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Driving Real Value from Multiple Supplier Framework Contracts

How technology can simplify contracting and help buyers maintain competitive pressure when using frameworks, in the public sector and beyond

Frameworks, and their close cousins preferred supplier lists, have become a central tool used throughout the public and private sectors used with the aim of driving effective and good value procurement. But there has been criticism that, too often, they don't deliver that value; they may be convenient for users, but the lack of volume commitment up-front means that the terms offered by suppliers are often a long way short of their best.

But Spend Matters believes they can, if used properly, (and that is a big 'if'), be an essential and valuable tool in the procurement armoury. So, in this White Paper, we'll explain some of the conditions that enable frameworks to deliver a range of benefits to their users, including excellent value for money. In the first section we define frameworks, and consider why and how they are used. We explore the positives and negatives and in particular look at how organisations so often fail to get good results – and good value – despite putting a lot of effort into setting them up in the first place. The Paper then highlights how, by using competition at the second phase of the framework process, better results can be obtained.

And in the second section of the Paper, we take a case study and look at an innovative new tool, launched by the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) and Intenda to help UK schools and local authorities take advantage of pre-agreed frameworks for food and catering services. The tool allows each buying organisation – school or similar – to tailor the service they require AND drive very competitive pricing from suppliers on the framework. The technology is user-friendly, and provides convenience, value and compliance to government and EU procurement regulations.