A big opportunity for small suppliers?
Earlier this month, the contract notice was published for the first phase of the new Facilities Management Framework, with an estimated value of £12 billion. For several years, the government has been aiming to increase the participation of suppliers, including SMEs, in service frameworks by simplifying access. With the current CCS Framework for Facilities Management due to expire next year, it’s replacement, just published, has been seen as an opportunity to encourage greater SME participation as well as stimulate growth nationwide through greater levels of local purchasing.
So, what has changed?
Firstly, there are three value-banded contract tiers. 75 suppliers are sought nationwide for contracts worth up to £7 million, 50 are sought for contracts valued between £7 million and £50 million and 25 larger suppliers are sought for contracts worth in excess of £50 million. However, suppliers are restricted to bidding for a maximum two of the three tiers, meaning that large suppliers cannot dominate all three tiers, leaving gaps for SMEs to fill.
The CCS has also split the country into 63 geographical areas – historically, to win a place on a Framework, a supplier would have to deliver services nationwide, thereby excluding many SMEs. However, the CCS has recognised that there are a huge number of less complex, lower value contracts, such as in schools for example, which could be fulfilled by smaller, regional suppliers. Thus, potential suppliers will now be asked to detail the areas in which they operate, with the possibility to add in more regions should they expand. It is hoped that this will also encourage and stimulate wider economic growth across the UK, with buyers able to purchase more services locally.
What else is different?
It has also been recognised that smaller suppliers probably do not need the same collateral warranties and performance bonds as larger contractors on huge, complex contracts – but in previous Frameworks, it was necessary for suppliers to fulfil the same terms and conditions – thereby creating a barrier to involvement for SMEs. The new Framework includes a set of core terms and schedules – but also now includes a range of optional ones to be selected by both buyer and contractor, allowing a correct and relevant Terms and Conditions pack to be built for each contract.
The new Facilities Management Framework has also been designed with simplicity and ease of access in mind. All tenders must be submitted online through the FM Marketplace Portal, designed to allow future clients to procure services from a wider range of suppliers. For suppliers, the Bid Pack has been simplified, with tender documents being fewer and shorter. Terms and Conditions are reduced and written in plain English. Contracts are much shorter, with fewer and shorter accompanying documents; in addition to core common schedules, there will be bespoke schedules specific to the contract requirements.
Interested? What next…
More information about the Framework can be found on the CCS website
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