By Alex Lodge, Director at Summers-Inman
Views on procurement have differed widely since frameworks were introduced as a means of buying services and products.
For the public sector, which must always be able to demonstrate value for the public purse, a framework can deliver many benefits, such as reduced transaction costs, continuous improvement within long-term relationships, better value and greater community wealth.
Frameworks provide ease of appointment and the opportunity to communicate with all stakeholders – clients and users, the framework service delivery team, council members, regulatory officers and the supply chain – while performance measurement systems, designed to encourage continuous improvement, assist auditors and members to verify that public money is being used wisely.
Framework agreements provide an environment to develop long-term relationships, which can create the optimum environment for sustainable investment, employment in local construction businesses and help to cut waste in processes and physical resources.
Frameworks make clients’ lives much easier, and we know from being active in the public sector and successfully managing contracts on behalf of several higher education, NHS and housing provider clients, how much time and effort frameworks can save – and using the analogy of ‘time is money’, this is also a major consideration.
However, Summers-Inman is not only managing projects on behalf of clients using frameworks, we are also winning work from frameworks directly.
Last year we reported winning 10 lots on the EN:Procure Consultants Framework Agreement across the three regions of Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands and the North West.
This was quickly followed by our appointment to an amazing 30 Lots across eight geographic areas of the Procure Partnerships Framework Approved Supplier Agreement.
To be appointed to these frameworks we were assessed against several selection criteria including relevant experience, framework management and cost and performance management with our approach to social value and delivery forming a significant element of the competitive process.
With some significant success already under our belt from our appointment a year earlier through the North East Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC) to several multi-million-pound projects such as Teesside University’s £21.4m Cornell Quarter, its £10m Student Life Building and more recently, its new £13.5m Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre (NZIIC), we are now in a position to announce some further project wins from our appointment to the Procure Partnerships Framework and the EN:Procure Consultants Framework Agreement.
In the case of the Procure Partnerships Framework, clients can procure professional services practices across 11 regions and benefit from a ‘one stop shop’ approach enabling public sector clients to procure consultants on a direct award or further competition basis.
In the education sector, our Leicester office has picked up a role as Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor for St George’s Academy, Sleaford. We have also had awards from healthcare and education clients in the North East and East Midlands areas.
EN:Procure provides a full range of innovative, cost effective and easily accessible consultancy services for Efficiency North’s (EN’s) membership and customers in the social housing and wider public sector in Northern England.
Designed predominantly for social housing, it can also be applied to other public buildings or premises owned and/or managed by public sector organisations.
With both frameworks it is pleasing to see a range of professional firms have secured a place, with a mix of businesses, including SMEs.
Long may this approach continue. All parts of the construction sector can benefit while the needs of clients and communities are met in a cost-effective manner in the current challenging climate.
We have also recently had further success in being appointed for Project Management Construction Consultancy Services to the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, via the NHS SBS Framework.