Case study list
Tendering a shared framework contract for building maintenance services
Monmouthshire County Council
On 1 April 2009, Torfaen County Borough Council and (from 1 June 2009) Monmouthshire County Council entered into a joint framework agreement with a group of contractors, following a major procurement exercise in 2008-09. Gwent Police also access this framework, as Monmouthshire County Council manages the maintenance work on behalf of the police. Prior to this agreement, one of the partners used almost 100 individual contractors.
The agreement is for three years plus an optional one year extension ("3+1"). There are three contractors for each of the following work types: general building, electrical and mechanical services. The approximate spend via this contract is anticipated to be £4.5 million per annum across the three client organisations.
Works are banded such that;
- work under £5,000 in value is ordered directly with the preferred contractor, selected from the three contractors in each category; and
- works above £5,000 in value are tendered by competition between the three contractors in the work category.
The main drivers for this project were to:
- reduce lead time and costs of setting up individual jobs;
- provide better value for money via greater purchasing power;
- improve collaboration and learning between the client and contractor organisations via a long term commitment to a limited number of contractors;
- improve quality assurance via the much reduced number of contractors to be checked for compliance with increasingly stringent requirements (Health and Safety, tax, insurance, Criminal Records Bureau checks, etc); and
- improve sustainability through increased use of local labour.
The joint framework agreement is in accordance with the Welsh Assembly Government's "Making the Connections" principle of public services working together across boundaries to achieve value for money.
Although the contract has not been in place for very long, the client organisations are able to share some early lessons learnt:
- setting up the framework involves a significant amount of work and can take over two years, having regard to OJEU requirements, so it is important to be realistic in planning your workload;
- it is vital to choose a public sector partner(s) which shares your view of the type of service that you require, so that selection criteria and weightings are common to you all; and
- early in the procurement process, the split between price and quality needs to be seriously considered by all partners, having regard to available budgets and decision makers' views.
An early view on the benefits gained is that:
- contract management arrangements have improved;
- contractor compliance checks are virtually trouble-free;
- the speed of setting up jobs has improved;
- the long-term commitment from the contractors is beginning to deliver service improvements;
- sharing the framework responsibility may increase the complexity of set-up, but that is more than outweighed by the support and learning benefits experienced; and
- contractors are largely local to the area which supports local sustainability.