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Why Should Public Sector Bodies Use Existing Frameworks For Their Tendering Process – And How To Use Them

Using existing frameworks can save authorities time and money in tendering processes. So what are they, and how do they work?

public sector tendering frameworks

The UK government recently announced that progress towards the country’s transport decarbonisation objectives must be accelerated – with local authorities playing a ‘crucial role’ if ‘net zero’ targets are to be achieved. 

In recognition of these responsibilities, a new £500 million funding package was unveiled to support LAs in boosting public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, particularly in areas where residents lack off-street parking. 

This investment – unveiled in the updated Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy – forms part of a wider £1.6 billion EV transition funding increase, and comes amid plans to increase the number of public EV chargepoints to 300,000 by 2030. 

The government has made an existing Crown Commercial Services (CCS) framework available for LAs to use to procure a commercial partner – such as EV charging specialists Mer – to install public EV chargepoints.   

Councils also have the choice to use a framework designed by another specialist  procurement body, or to create their own. 

But what is a framework and how can LAs use them? 

 

What is a framework and how do they work?

Frameworks are procurement tools that help contracting authorities – for example, LAs or public sector bodies – to obtain goods and services from a list of pre-approved suppliers. 

Essentially, they are pre-written ‘templates’ where suppliers are vetted and have signed up to pre-agreed terms and conditions.  

Contracting authorities requiring services or products for one or a number of projects – such as the installation of EV charging infrastructure – can then choose a supplier before tailoring the agreement to suit local requirements. 

Frameworks set out initial terms – relating to price, quality and quantity – under which individual contracts (known as ‘call offs’) can then be awarded. 

As ‘umbrella agreements’, frameworks do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ in procurement – saving time and money by avoiding lengthy and expensive tendering exercises and ensuring suppliers are legally-compliant. 

We, as a supplier on a framework, pay the framework body a small fee from any work we do under the framework. This helps the body – who set up the framework in the first place – to cover their costs. 

 

The benefits of using frameworks

There are real benefits to using existing frameworks, particularly when procuring over a set period of time.  Not only are they fast, efficient, legally-protected, and cost-effective – but the largely pre-agreed terms make them easy to use. 

public sector tendering frameworks

And because the suppliers – who, in this case, are installing EV charging infrastructure – have to prove they can do the work to an approved standard, LAs can be more confident that the resulting work will be ‘high quality’. 

 

Mer EV Charging Frameworks

Kent County Council via KCS Professional Services

Mer is also a preferred supplier for the supply and delivery of Electric Vehicle Charging Point and Associated Services (EVAS)  – a framework developed by Kent County Council and KCS Professional Services, that is available to all public sector bodies across the UK. 

Through this, Mer again can provide a full EV charging solution – including the design, supply, installation, support and maintenance of EV chargepoints. 

Mer’s additional ‘associated services’ include holistic EV charging solutions – such as Solar PV and Battery Storage amenities. 

 

Crown Commercial Services

EV charging experts Mer have been named as approved suppliers for the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) EV charging framework – known as the ‘Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Solutions (VCIS) Dynamic Purchasing System Agreement.’ 

Mer – backed by Statkraft, Europe’s largest supplier of renewable energy – offers a full end-to-end charging infrastructure solution, including funding, installation and project delivery, to support the transition to low-emission vehicles. 

LAs can access the CCS framework here, or by registering with the government’s contract finder on the Find a Tender Service (FTS) which has replaced the EU’s ‘Tenders Electronic Daily’ (TED). 

CCS is a ‘dynamic purchasing system (DPS)’ – an electronic method of procurement that operates an ‘open market’ for suppliers.  

One of the main benefits of a DPS is that it is open for suppliers to join it on a frequent basis – so LAs can choose contractors that meet their changing needs, while speeding up the process with a fully electronic route to market. 

 

ESPO

ESPO is a public sector owned professional buying organisation. The Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (VCI 2) framework provides access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure solutions including fast/rapid and ultra-rapid chargers and compatible back-office solutions.  

As an awarded supplier, Mer can supply, deliver, install and commission electric vehicle charge points to specification with both purchase and lease options offered.  

Service and maintenance of existing EVCPs, consultancy services and emerging technologies are also covered through the framework. ESPO offers a direct award to simplify the process as well as pre-agreed terms and conditions. More info here. 

 

Oxford DPS

Oxford DPS is a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for the Supply of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure and Associated Services. Mer are qualified/registered for multiple different lots to provide various solutions. 

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