Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has scrapped a Lot on a £3 billion framework because there was an ‘error’ during the bidding process.
The eight-lot Management Consultancy framework should have seen Lots 1-3 go live in July, with Lots 4-8 slated to follow in October.
However, Lot 1 – which specifically covers business consultancy services – was delayed and did not go live with Lots 2 and 3.
CCS has said that Lot 1 will not be awarded because there had been a “construct error” which meant that the bidding process “did not adequately assess the bidders’ quality of delivery to the level required”.
The framework, initially expected to be worth between £2- £3 billion was supposed to offer a range of services to government bodies in areas including HR, education, IT and infrastructure.
A CCS spokesperson said that it was important that to offer a service that would meet all of our customers’ needs now and in the future.
“To address this, we are running a further procurement exercise with a broader scope. A new prior information notice – Management Consultancy Framework Two – has now been issued as part of our ongoing engagement with suppliers. The intention is to award this framework in 2018.”
Lots 2 and 3 of the framework have gone live as planned, with Lots 4 through to 8 set to go live in October. Suppliers already awarded a spot include Capita and Accenture. While the Management Consultancy framework is for broader business services, Lot 8 is specifically for IT and digital services.
Suppliers wanting into the multibillion-pound government framework have been left hanging, with intention-to-award notices already a week late and no sign of them coming.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) schedule for the Technology Services 2 framework promised that intention-to-award notices were due to be sent to suppliers on 7 August, triggering a 10 day standstill period before the framework is awarded on 21 August.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson has promised the award notices are now on course to be sent this week but so far no one has received anything.
Technology Services 2 is the successor to the original Technology Services framework, which expired in May, and is estimated to be worth between £1 billion and £3 billion.
The framework will look after central and local government organisations and covers a range of IT services including hardware and software support, enterprise security and data management.
The four Lots included in the framework are: Technology Strategy and Services Design; Transition and Transformation; Operational Services; and Programmes and Large Projects.
The Cabinet Office spokesperson said the framework will go live this month.
Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has been slammed by a government report as “the latest failure” in the Cabinet Office’s attempts to centralise procurement.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is a a government Select Committee which monitors the government’s public sector spending, has written a damning review of the CCS’s performance.
The outfit is supposed to be managing around £13 billion of spending, but is in fact only currently responsible for £2.5 billion.
Apparently, CCS’ has been a stuff up since it started in 2014 and had a “poorly” executed launch.
Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the PAC, slammed CCS for its “dismal” performance over the last three years.
“Government really needs to sharpen up if this latest attempt to centralise buying is to function properly… This is a dismal showing that calls into question exactly how willing government departments are to accept the authority of the Cabinet Office in this area,” she said.
“There were clearly fundamental problems at the launch of CCS but even now it is unclear exactly how progress will be made during this Parliament and beyond. Meanwhile the taxpayer is losing out.”
The report found that CCS’ management of procurement frameworks “remains unsatisfactory”, and claimed that its current structure makes it “confusing, blurs accountability and reduces clarity of the purpose” of CCS.
The CCS has failed to renew or replace all frameworks before their final expiry dates and before all extension options were used, and claimed that its frameworks do not always offer competitive pricing.
CCS promised the committee that it had fixed its database issue since the summer and that it had improved its management of frameworks.
“However, when we asked CCS about benchmarking prices, it told us that it did not collect information on the prices on contracts and that how it really knew whether it was competitive was through ‘those call-offs and those contracts which are done underneath the frameworks’,” the report said.