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CCS technology products framework goes live with strong SME focus

More than 50% of the 68 suppliers awarded a place on the Crown Commercial Service’s £4bn technology products and services framework are SMEs

The government has gone live with the second iteration of its technology products and services framework run by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS).

The framework, which aims to become a “one-stop shop” for public sector organisations going out to tender for technology products, has six lots with a total of 68 suppliers.

Following on from market engagement and the government’s commitment to make it easier for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell to public sector, 37 of the 68 suppliers on the framework are SMEs – accounting for 54% of the total number. Other suppliers include giants such as BT, Capita and Fujitsu. 

In an interview with Computer Weekly earlier this year, Kelvin Lee, CCS category director for technology products and services, said the new framework is more focused on quality than its previous iteration, with a 90-10 split on quality and price. 

Lee added that this is because CCS is looking for those suppliers that can prove they can do more than just shift products. 

The framework is divided into six lots, with lot 1 and 2 covering hardware and software respectively, and lot 3 being a combination of both. Suppliers that met the criteria for lot 1 and 2 automatically qualified for lot 3.

Lot 4 is focused on encryption and information-assured products and lot 5 lets suppliers bid directly for high volume contracts. The biggest change to the new framework is lot 6 – the catalogue lot with direct contract awards only.

“The only bit that is a revolution is lot 6. Historically, SMEs don’t really get a chance to play in this space, so we’ve developed a catalogue lot with no cap on numbers, lower barriers to entry and much less stringent financial criteria,” said Lee.

CCSs will run a series of customer engagement events over the next couple of months for those interested in learning more about the new framework.

In December 2015, CCS set out its strategy for “smart tech buying”, aiming to grow the supply chain, increase and improve buying power and “support open data expansion and open source creation”.

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