Tender documents out for long-awaited framework

The government’s badly-delayed £2.9bn consultancy framework has finally launched.

The OJEU for the Project Management and Full Design Team Services framework - already over three years late - is now available online.

The tender officially launched last Wednesday. The framework is scheduled to go live next March.

One potential bidder told Building: “Better late than never… the race begins!”

The government’s buying arm, the Crown Commercial Service (CSS), issued a flurry of updates to its requirements in recent days, which had concerned bidders it was still unsure what exactly it wanted to procure.

Updates included a new requirement for bidders to have cyber security accreditation Cyber Essentials Plus.

Over the past three years the framework has been changed numerous times and passed between various public contracting bodies, before settling with the CCS.

In the meantime various public clients have been forced to use alternative frameworks or to tender work themselves. Building revealed last month that the Education Funding Agency and HM Revenue & Customs are the latest to consider launching their own consultancy frameworks. Elsewhere, HS2 is believed to be using the NHS’s SPS framework for consultancy services.

In July the CCS admitted it was shedding three international lots from the framework that would instead by procured by the Ministry of Defence. This separate tender came out last week.

The international consultancy framework - worth between £25m to £50m over four years - will be used by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development. The deadline for submissions is 7 October.

The CCS has previously blamed delays on “the complexity and size” of the framework, making it “essential” that it gets it right.