Frameworks are generally poorly understood by Clients and are often not the lucrative cash stream that they initially suggest, unless of course you are one of the chosen few!
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A framework agreement is essentially an ‘umbrella agreement’ which sets out the terms under which individual contracts (call-offs) can be made throughout the period of the agreement. Frameworks can vary in duration, however these are typically for a four year period.The principle of a framework is to establish and develop long term relationships between Clients, Consultants, Contractors etc. and to work together to achieve continuous improvement. This is measured in different ways, however the overriding objectives would be to improve quality, look for efficiencies and at the same time reduce costs.
An invitation to submit for a framework will only be given once the Client is satisfied that the Contractor or Consultant have the track record and resources needed. This will be established from information submitted in a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). The main submission will then require a whole host of different information relating to details of relevant projects, a organisational structure highlighting key personnel, health & safety policy and record, environmental credentials, numerous answers to all sorts of different questions and scenarios and obviously fees that will be charged. After assessment of the documentation and if successful, the Contractor or Consultant will be invited to an interview where eventually the Client will select a number (typically 4 to 6) to appoint to the framework.
Anyone who has prepared documentation for a framework submission, whether as a Contractor or a Consultant will be aware of how much work is involved. Typically, it will take a Senior Manager with administrative support a significant amount of time to pull the information discussed above, together. When you consider the hourly rate of a Senior Manager and support staff, together with the bulky printing and preparation of the documentation, the whole exercise is a real cost to a business, and is completed on the principle that if successful, there will be a continuous flow of projects for the duration of the framework. This however is rarely the outcome.
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