A new end-to-end procurement agreement for UK public sector organisations buying technology products and services has been awarded by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), building on the former agreement that was due to expire in December. The new way of procuring has been designed to help small and medium-sized businesses become suppliers.
The Technology Products and Associated Service 2 was announced by the CCS on 10 October, with businesses taking to social media to announce they had been selected as part of the agreement. According to the UK government agency, the scope for the new agreement has been “enhanced” to cover new and future technologies as well as key elements such as sustainability options, sector-specific lots for health and education, off-the-shelf and stand-alone services that support technology.
The framework includes eight “lots” that will incorporate both products and services, and is the first time public sector organisations can procure their technology devices and commercial off-the-shelf software in one place from CCS. The agreement has consolidated three frameworks – technology products and associated services, education technology and technology online purchasing content.
The CCS says that the agreement will continue to "deliver value" and provide public sector customers with a "flexible, quick and compliant way" to buy all their technology requirements. This includes end-user devices, technology infrastructures, network and security devices, peripherals and software.
Philip Orumwense, commercial director and chief technology procurement officer at CCS, said that the new framework will offer public sector customers a "new sustainable solution" for their IT through refurbished hardware and "additional services".
"Moving towards circular IT and reducing the environmental impact plays a crucial role in the path towards carbon net zero," Orumwense explained. "The new agreement also aims to build on the progress made by CCS in making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to become suppliers, levelling the playing field and supporting the government’s agenda."
As reported by Tech Monitor, the public sector spends nearly £290bn a year on procurement and recently launched its big data and analytics agreement. There has been a stronger focus on giving more opportunities to smaller businesses for public sector contracts, however, Big Tech businesses and consultancies still get the majority of contracts.
More focus on sustainability in the new framework
According to the CCS, the latest iteration of the Technology Products and Associated Service agreement will have a stronger focus on sustainability, including a dedicated lot for recycling, data wiping and secure disposal. Suppliers that have been included in this lot will focus on extending product life cycles, giving public sector access to refurbished and remanufactured products and services and upgrading existing equipment to extend its useable life.
The framework also provides what are described as "significant" improvements in customer buying options, with the CCS saying it has provided alternate ways to buy and specific guidance on leasing, utility and as-a-service models. Buyers can now fund and simplify the procurement process, having the option to pay only for what they use or spread payments, saving on outlay costs.
The agreement will go live on 31 October, with 172 suppliers secured their place on the framework. It will run for 30 months, with an option to extend for another 18 months.