What are the options? (part 2)

Framework agreements

A framework agreement is when a group of institutions or a consortium establishes a contract with one or more suppliers for a defined period of time.

The institutions define a collective set of requirements and negotiate contract terms for the duration of the agreement. Normally the collective purchasing power means that suppliers are able to offer very competitive pricing.

Institutions wishing to purchase the goods/services can then complete a 'call off' contract without having to go through the full tender process themselves. In some cases institutions might want to put different weightings on the collective set of requirements, in which case they can run a 'mini competition' involving all of the suppliers on the framework capable of meeting their requirements.

The price and basic terms of the specification cannot be renegotiated or subsequently altered.

Scottish universities and colleges are part of a procurement consortium known as APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges) which has set up a framework agreement for VLE supply.

In the sections of this Toolkit on Requirements gathering and prioritisation and Testing and evaluating you can find out more about the experience of working together to create the VLE framework agreement and how it worked for Glasgow School of Art who acted as the pilot institution.

Being part of an arrangement such as this was particularly valuable to a small institution such as Glasgow School of Art which does not have a large procurement team [0.5 FTE] as the full procurement process is very onerous.

Correy Murphy, Blended Learning Co-ordinator, Glasgow School of Art