Public Sector Framework Agreements
In many procurement projects, framework agreements have proven to be better value for money, greater sustainability and greater benefits to communities than individual supplier contracts. However, framework agreements are not a one-off solution – not all public or private sector requirements are necessarily tailored to framework agreements. The size of the market and the specifications of the necessary goods, works or services will show whether a framework agreement is the right option and it is up to the contracting authority to decide. We draw attention to some of the key benefits of framework agreements to determine if framework agreements are the right option for you. When a framework agreement is publicly funded and the estimated total value of all potential calls exceeds contracting thresholds, it should be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ L 347 of 31.12.2006, p. 1). Although the European Council reached a political agreement on the proposed directive on 21 May 2002, the date for adoption of the proposed directive has not yet been set. Once the directive is formally adopted, it will take up to 21 months for the directive to enter into force in the UK. In the meantime, the Office of Public Trade, which played an important role in the negotiations on the provisions of the proposed directive, will continue to support the implementation of framework agreements by public bodies and will recommend the allocation and operation of new frameworks on the basis of the procedures defined in the proposed directive. This view is reflected in our own construction industry. Following Sir John Egan`s highly influential “Rethinking Construction” report, the construction industry was challenged to change lanes and take a less fragmented approach to contracting. The impetus for change is based on the premise that long-term labour relations are beneficial to the construction sector as a whole by providing a better understanding of clients` needs and objectives and more effective projects.
In the current climate, the implementation of framework agreements has been seen as positive, as these agreements could play a useful role in improving client-contracting relations, including framework agreements concluded under the proposed directive, although they are limited to four years. Notices announcing framework agreements are published in the same way as standard tenders. When a particular contract (or purchase) is to be awarded, the public body can simply go to the supplier, advisor or supplier of the framework that offers the best value for money for its specific needs.