CCS Framework RM3785 FAQ's

FAQ

This is the Frequently Asked Questions page for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework RM3785.

How do I contact CCS? And how do I find out about the Framework from CCS?

Information about the contract, contact details and telephone numbers are available via: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm3785 

How long will it take to complete the process?

A typical mini-tender should take approximately three months. You should allow the bidders four weeks to submit their responses from receipt of the Statement of Requirements/Invitation to Tender (SOR/ITT); you need time to evaluate which often takes up to a further four weeks; and there may be up to four weeks for the new arrangement to be Mobilised and/or Implemented. Clearly, there are situations where you may need a faster solution – this is also possible with consultation with the bidders and cooperation from your own internal teams.

We’re not really in Central Government or the Wider Public Sector, are we permitted to use the Framework?

The main test as to whether or not you can access the Framework is whether or not your organisation is publicly funded or part, publicly funded. If this is the case, the likelihood is that you will be able to access the Framework. If you are not publicly funded at all, it is unlikely that you will be able to use the Framework. If in doubt, you should contact the CCS Team for definitive advice via: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm3785

Can we meet with the suppliers during the process?

Yes, the Framework promotes such meetings. You should consider meeting with the suppliers before completing your SOR (ITT) – this gives you a chance to discuss what the market can offer you and your organisation including recent innovations and improvements in technology that you may want to take advantage of in the new arrangement you are intending to compete. Additionally, or alternatively, you could hold a supplier briefing event once you have started the competitive process where you invite the bidding suppliers to meet so that you can properly redefine your requirement, let the suppliers meet Key Stakeholders and give the suppliers opportunity to raise any questions. This could avoid lots of unnecessary clarification questions during the bidding process.

Do I need to engage with all suppliers?

No. There is no need to meet with all suppliers ahead of the competition indeed, some authorities choose to meet with one or two to explore the potential of the contract as this is more manageable for them. However, once the SOR (ITT) is issued, you must ensure that each supplier is treated equally and fairly with other suppliers bidding. If you would like supplier engagement mid-competition, you should ensure that each of the bidding suppliers is invited to engage.

Can we ‘direct award’?

Yes, but this is strongly discouraged because the concept of the mini-competition is lost. The process of a mini-tender does not have to be onerous and the result will provide you with a ‘best value’, market tested solution designed to meet your requirements.

We no longer have the specialist understanding of the specific requirement to be able to generate a ‘fit for purpose’ SOR (ITT) what do we do?

You have a number of options:

  1. Contact the CCS Team to see what help and advice they can offer: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm3785
  2. Contact any of the suppliers on the Framework (their contact details are available from CCS or via the supplier’s own website) and engage with them. They can meet with you to discuss and understand your requirement and advise you what specialist information should be included in your SOR (ITT).
  3. If you would like to engage with CDS (one of the six approved suppliers) you can contact David Burton, Crown Commercial Services Director at CDS on: 

Tel: 0113 399 4180
Mob: 07710 533615
Email: david.burton@cds.co.uk

Why is this Framework good for us and why should we use it to generate a solution for our requirement?

Ten reasons to choose CCS Framework RM3785:

  1. Significant savings on print are (and have been) delivered
  2. Transparent pricing models, open and honest trading
  3. Fully managed bespoke print and digital solutions
  4. EU compliant
  5. Efficient, easy access and short procurement process
  6. Supplier engagement to help you define and fine tune the requirement
  7. Pre-agreed T’s and C’s offer sound contractual safeguards
  8. Six framework suppliers fully scrutinised and evaluated
  9. All suppliers have all key management systems including Cyber Essentials Plus
  10. Excellent Account Management capability provides access to help, advice, product engineering and consultancy

What services are available through the Framework?

The CCS Framework RM3785 offers all Public Sector and Wider Public-Sector organisations the ability to source a competed, fully-managed, end-to-end print and digital solution that includes associated services, such as design, storage, fulfilment and distribution, postal dispatch, scanning and stock management. 

Who are the suppliers on Lot 2 of the Framework?

There are six suppliers on the RM3785 Framework all of whom have been fully vetted by CCS as part of the Framework’s competitive process. Details of the six suppliers can be found on the CCS website under Framework Contract RM3785: http://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm3785

Have the suppliers got the necessary Quality Management and Security systems in place?

Approved suppliers have invested in key management systems which include: Quality Management, Cyber Essential PLUS, Business Continuity, Environment, Health and Safety, Data Management Systems and Data Protection.

What other benefits are there in using the Framework?

Using Lot 2 of the Framework assures your organisation that it will achieve savings and benefit from excellent account management, help, advice, product engineering and consultancy. You will benefit from a digital-first strategy, multi-channel options (OMNI Channel), product rationalisation, benchmarking and market-testing the requirement, as well as bulking-up, to reduce the cost of similar products.

FAQ

Do you have any advice about generating a good SOR (statement of requirements) for the requirement we have?

Engage with all Key Stakeholders who will be using the proposed contract. Establish whether their requirements fit the generic requirement you have identified and for which you intend to go to market. If they do, so and good but if they do not, get them to explain to you precisely what it is that they require. Ask them to provide a detailed brief of the requirement and ask them to give their specific requirement a bespoke title e.g. ‘Appeals Bundles’; ‘Committee and Agenda Papers’ etc. 

In your SOR, ensure that all the specific requirements are identified – there should be no surprises. For each requirement, try to define the likely urgency for the nominated supplier to meet the requirement. If this is variable try to explain which elements require urgent or immediate action, e.g. four-hour response for Committee and Agenda papers and which elements require a standard turnaround. Try to explain what percentage of the requirement falls into the urgent category and how often the urgent service may be required. Also explain why there is a need for the urgent/immediate requirement – what is it for? What is its purpose? This helps the supplier design a solution that will best fit your requirement.

To the bidding suppliers it is important that your information is as comprehensive as possible. Don’t worry about providing too much detail – it is better to have lots of detail than be faced with lots of clarification questions from suppliers trying to understand what it is you are looking for.

How should we approach the questions and responses in the technical part of our ITT?

Do not fall into the trap of seeking a great number of responses to questions. Remember, the suppliers have already proved their value and worth to the CCS Team when the Framework was originally competed, evaluated and awarded. The advice is to draft ten or less questions covering off issues that are important to you e.g:

  • Explain how the various requirements specified will be managed
  • How will you ensure that products meet our quality standards?
  • Provide details of the staff to be assigned to the contract including their specific skills and experience
  • Explain how your approach to Corporate Social Responsibility will benefit this contract and our organisation
  • Provide a high-level implementation/mobilisation plan which deals with the key issues of taking over this contract
  • Provide key milestone dates Etc. etc 

For each of the questions asked, try to explain precisely what you are looking for in terms of a response – there should be no ambiguity. This approach will ensure that you receive good responses that will assist in the mini-tender evaluation.

How should we approach the pricing or commercial part of our mini-tender?

Do not fall into the trap of seeking a great number of responses to questions. Remember, the suppliers have already proved their value and worth to the CCS Team when the Framework was originally competed, evaluated and awarded. The advice is to draft ten or less questions covering off issues that are important to you e.g:

  • Explain how the various requirements specified will be managed
  • How will you ensure that products meet our quality standards?
  • Provide details of the staff to be assigned to the contract including their specific skills and experience
  • Explain how your approach to Corporate Social Responsibility will benefit this contract and our organisation
  • Provide a high-level implementation/mobilisation plan which deals with the key issues of taking over this contract
  • Provide key milestone dates Etc. etc 

For each of the questions asked, try to explain precisely what you are looking for in terms of a response – there should be no ambiguity. This approach will ensure that you receive good responses that will assist in the mini-tender evaluation.

I’m reluctant to publish the potential value of the contract because I want the bidders to submit a proposal that gives us the best possible value based on their understanding of the contract and market conditions rather that a solution that is built around the current contract value.

This is a good point but the reality is, the bidders are competing the requirement against each other and will be looking at their costs for providing the service to be as keen as possible to receive the award. The bidders need to understand the approximate value as this will determine how they approach the delivery of the contract and, more importantly, whether they feel able to bid the requirement. 

When considering the contract term, what are the key considerations?

Ensure that you are clear about the term you are offering. This is usually an Initial Term, e.g. three years and then there is the option of an extension, e.g. plus one year by mutual agreement or, you could let a contract with an initial term of two years with potential extensions of one year plus a further one year. You need to keep in mind that the maximum length of contract under this Framework is four years so the total of any initial term plus extension should not exceed four years.

CDS are on the CCS RM3785 Framework

CDS transforms Birmingham City Council's print approach

Delivering considerable savings for Wakefield Council

Easy Read for the United Nations International Labour Organisation

Online web2print for Queen's University Belfast

CDS Print Management for West Sussex County Council