What are the rules for calling off contracts from frameworks?

Calling off contracts from frameworks, for lots of public-sector bodies, is the most popular way to acquire goods and services for contracts whose value is above the OJEU threshold. In this briefing, we answer some of the most common questions or issues about calling off from a framework.

Can we use any framework we want?

To use a framework, you need to ensure that a) your Contracting Authority (CA) is listed as a beneficiary of the framework (not all frameworks are available to all CAs) and b) that the framework will deliver best value. Each CA must satisfy themselves that the framework selected will deliver best value for the specific requirement.

Can we award to whichever supplier we want?

This depends on the terms laid down in the framework documentation. Each framework will specify the methodology for calling off contracts. Sometimes this will be on a rotational basis, sometimes it will be based on which supplier is able to offer the best terms for your requirement. What you can’t do is simply pick the supplier you want, regardless of best value or the call off methodology described in the framework documentation.

When do we have to reopen competition?

If there are multiple suppliers on a framework, you do not need to reopen competition (i.e. run a mini-competition) if the framework sets out:

  • all the terms governing the provision of the works, services and supplies concerned, and
  • the objective conditions for determining which supplier should be selected

So, you DO need to reopen competition if the framework does not set out all of the terms, including price. If you ever need to get a quote to obtain current pricing, then you MUST run a mini-competition1.

Do we need to create a Regulation 84 report?

It’s a common misconception that calling off a contract from a framework does not need a Regulation 84 report. While single-supplier frameworks are exempt, any above-threshold1 call-off from a multi-supplier framework requires a Regulation 84 report, just as if you had run a full tender. You can create free, compliant Regulation 84 reports using a new online tool developed in partnership between Lifecycle and Mills & Reeve. For details, email regulation84@lifecycle.co.uk

Is the term of the call-off contract affected by the framework term?

It doesn’t matter when the framework ends. Contracts called off from a framework can be for any length of time (although you may need to justify your use of a long contract – just as you do for any contract).

This 60-second briefing only tackles some of the key issues. For the full rules, see Regulation 33 of the Public Contracts Regulations.

1 You don’t need to run a mini-competition, or create a Regulation 84 report for below-threshold procurements unless aggregation applies (see Aggregation of requirements. What is it and what are the rules?)

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