A CCS spokesperson said: “We are working hard to launch the framework in August”

The Ministry of Defence is gearing up to tender a major international consultants framework, Building has learned.

The news comes after the government’s buying arm, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), cut three international lots from its repeatedly delayed £2.9bn flagship consultancy framework and put back the tender to next month.

The CCS’s project management and full design team services framework - orginally due to go live way back in June 2013 - had been expected to tender this month, before the latest delay.

Whitehall insiders now believe the MoD is the best body to organise procurement for its consultancy work overseas as well as for other departments, which could include the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development.

A CCS spokesperson said: “The complexity and size of the Crown Commercial Service Project Management and Full Design Team Services Framework mean it is essential that we were able to appoint the right level of procurement expertise and market knowledge. We are working hard to launch the framework in August.”

On the CCS framework, the number of suppliers required has been reduced on five of the six remaining lots following the removal of the international lots.

The CCS will lead on UK consultancy service provision for public sector clients, while the MoD will lead on overseas delivery.

The CCS took over the Project Management and Full Design Team Services framework in November 2014 after its procurement partner UK SBS cancelled the previous process amid a storm of criticism that saw then-failed bidder Turner & Townsend challenge the framework in the High Court.

Previous delays have been attributed to “ambitious timescales” and the simultaneous procurement of complex projects such HS2, Crossrail 2 and the Palace of Westminster.

The latest delay follows the news that Scape’s £350m consultancy framework is being challenged.

Meanwhile, the government’s search for a contractor for its £500m Northern Estate Programme, which looks like it will now also involve delivering a temporary home for the Houses of Parliament during the revamp of the Palace of Westminster revealed by Building earlier this month.