A Guide to Crown Commercial Service Frameworks

17th March 2021

Crown Commercial Service Framework FAQs

[Last modified: July 2021]

The Crown Commercial Service frameworks help the UK’s public sector save money when buying common goods and services. The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK.

They help buyers in the central government, public and third sectors to purchase a wide range of services and goods. From building materials to police cars and networks to nursing staff – they cover a wide and varied range. Crown Commercial Service frameworks are also referred to as Crown Commercial Service (CCS) commercial agreements.

Crown Commercial Service frameworks allow their buyers to get the best commercial deals in the interests of taxpayers. Being a supplier on Crown Commercial Service frameworks can be a lucrative opportunity for your business. Tendering for contracts has many advantages, particularly for SMEs.

If you’re wondering how Crown Commercial Service frameworks work, read our guide below.

What is purchased via Crown Commercial Service frameworks?

There are four main categories and a number of sub-categories of Crown Commercial Service framework agreements. They are as following:

  1. Buildings

  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Workplace
  1. Corporate Solutions

  • Document Management & Logistics
  • Financial Services
  • Fleet
  • Marcomms & Research
  • Office and Travel
  1. People 

  • Contract Centres
  • People Services
  • Professional Services
  • Workforce Health & Education
  • PSR & Permanent Recruitment
  1. Technology

  • Digital Future
  • Network Services
  • Software & Cyber
  • Technology Products & Services 

How to respond to Crown Commercial Service frameworks

In order to respond to tender opportunities, you will need to be registered on the CCS eSourcing tool. To register, you will need to provide the following information:

  • The full legal name of your organisation.
  • Your DUNS number (a unique nine-digit number provided to your organisation by Dun & Bradstreet).
  • Profile information describing your organisation and the size of your business.

What are Crown Commercial Service frameworks?

Buyers are able to purchase everyday goods and services such as office supplies from the CCS catalogue. The CCS publishes commercial agreements for more complex procurements. For example, if one is looking to buy a fleet of vehicles, they would be procured via a framework.

A framework comprises a description of common public sector requirements. They are multi-supplier agreements and these suppliers have been evaluated and deemed capable of delivering the requirements and contract. Frameworks are typically divided into lots, often by product, service type or location. There are various tendering procedures used by a buyer to purchase something. Businesses looking to buy from a framework can directly award a supplier or run a further mini competition among suppliers.

Further competitions

Further competitions enable the purchase on high-value or complex goods or services. Anything from stationary to complex facility management. These Crown Commercial Service frameworks can run from a few weeks, to several months depending on the complexity of requirements. Further competitions allow an open and fair procurement process for potential suppliers.

3 key things to note

Here are some things to consider when writing bids:

  1. Timing

Once a framework has been awarded, additional suppliers can’t be added – unlike a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). If this is the case, you will need to wait until the next opening arises. As mentioned above, the length of Crown Commercial Service frameworks can vary from a couple of months to years.

New procurements often start several months in advance of the active arrangement’s expiry date. This is because the procurement process can take a number of months to complete. It all depends on the complexity of the goods or services being procured.

  1. Sub-contracting

Sometimes there may not be tendering opportunities available in your area of business. If this is the case, you may be able to sub-contract your services to suppliers on existing arrangements. For this to happen, you should directly contact the relevant supplier. Suppliers can be found on the CCS website.

  1. The Government eMarketplace

Registering on the Government eMarketplace will enable you to advertise your capability to supply products or services. The eMarketplace is an online marketplace providing customers with a request for quote (RFQ) service for low-value, less complex purchases. This enables you to supply on a national or regional basis without the need of going through the tendering process.

Any supplier can register for the marketplace. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that registering on this marketplace does not mean you’re a CCS supplier. You will not be listed on the Crown Commercial Service website as a supplier. This shouldn’t dishearten you as it is still a great way to secure a pipeline of work.

Where can I find Crown Commercial Service Frameworks?

You’re able to find Crown Commercial Service frameworks by registering with the government’s Contract Finder and Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). These two services can be used for finding tender opportunities relevant to your business area.

TED is the online version of the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Contracts Finder shows the longer term and wider government pipeline. You are able to find all public sector tenders over £10,000 here. It’s automatically updated every weekday night with new notices published on TED.

Both sites will give you information about both CCS and wider government tender opportunities.  You will need to constantly monitor the procurement pipeline for new opportunities. This can all take quite a lot of time out of your day or night.

What if we told you, there’s an easier way to go about this that streamlines the process, saving you time?

Enter…Hudson Discover!

Hudson Discover gives you access to all the Crown Commercial Service frameworks, unique and public sector opportunities in your industry. Find them all in one, easy-to-use, central portal.

At Hudson Discover, we house 11 sector-specific tendering portals. These consist of:

A subscription to one of our industry-specific portals will include:

  • Unlimited portal access. You can browse your industries portal to your heart’s content. See the hundreds of opportunities that are available, intuitively categorised and easily accessible. You’ll have access to all unique, public and private tendering opportunities in one place.
  • A daily email bulletin. Receive email alerts when new tenders are uploaded, straight to your inbox.
  • Filter results. There’s no reliance on inaccurate CPV codes. You are able to filter and search results by keyword, location budget and more. This allows you to find the perfect opportunity for your business.
  • A dedicated Account Manager. They’ll handle any questions or queries you may have about the portal.
  • A free 20-minutes phone consultation with a Bid Writer. Our expert bid consultants will chat with you for 20-minutes about anything tender-related. They can recommend all the tender searching options that are available to you. 

Need assistance securing a place on a Crown Commercial Service framework?

If being a supplier on a CCS framework is something your business is interested in, we can help. It’s understandable if you don’t have the necessary resources or time to complete an application in-house. Our dedicated Hudson Succeed team have over 60 years bid writing experience, boasting an 87% success rate. We have secured direct contract wins totalling over £300million for our clients. We offer four bid writing support services.

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect Crown Commercial Service framework for your business, why not send it our way? Our Bid Writers can take care of it all for you. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. They’ll even submit it on your behalf. The tendering process is time-consuming which is why we are here to help with writing bids.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your own tender response and need someone to double-check it for errors, Tender Mentor can help. The Bid Team will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar or spelling mistakes. They’ll also ensure that it’s in line with the specification before you submit.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready 4-week programme is perfect for businesses that have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to make sure you have everything in place to tender successfully. Tender Ready offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to one of our Hudson Discover portals.
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CV’s and 8 policies.
  • Additional flexible benefit options.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing the results you want, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents, working with you to improve for future submissions.

Discover Elite

Upgrading to Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts – even when you’re busy. Our two new time-saving tools can improve your competitor awareness and success rate.

The Ultimate Time Saver package offers your business:

  • A maximum of five tender breakdowns per month.
  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Hudson Discover sector-specific portals. This option can help businesses that overlap two industries such as Healthcare and Facilities, for example.
  • Pre-market and award engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Buyer portal management, including registration, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid or no-bid
  • Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable tendering opportunities.

The Become a Pre-Bid Master package also includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • A Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.

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