Who Are Crown Commercial Service?
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) are the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK. As a supplier, understanding CCS' role in the procurement process is crucial!
In short, Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is responsible for managing the procurement of common goods and services and increasing savings for the taxpayer. Importantly, the organisation leads Procurement Policy on behalf of the UK Government, with a strong vision in encouraging more SMEs to supply to the public sector. Over 64% of suppliers on CCS agreements in the year 2019/20 were micro (41%), small (15%), or medium (8%) enterprises, with £275 million spent directly with SMEs. Whether your organisation already supplies to the public sector, or would like to, it is crucial you know who CCS are!
CCS operates its procurement service via framework agreements or Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPSs), separated into four sub-categories:
- Corporate solutions
When purchasing, public sector bodies tender – seek bids – from suppliers in exchange for a product or service. Frameworks operate on an agreement with pre-qualified suppliers who are evaluated and deemed capable of delivering the requirements and contract.
More DPSs are being introduced into the procurement landscape lately. These differ from frameworks in that there is no limit to the amount of the suppliers that can join. Suppliers may also join at any time. Rather than being fixed at the point of tender, pricing is determined at the contract award stage. The rise in use of DPSs allows for quicker award of tenders and streamlines procurement for buyers and suppliers.
As well as providing the routes to procurement, CCS use these to adhere to government policies. These include Carbon Reduction plans and buyer transparency. They also work closely with suppliers to ensure Social Value targets are met and that public services improve.
Benefits of Crown Commercial Service (CCS)
CCS commercial agreements use competition among suppliers to increase quality and value for public sector organisations. As suppliers are carefully evaluated before being allowed to sell via a CCS framework, buyers avoid wasted time in ensuring suppliers are adequately vetted. Similarly, the compiled list of tender opportunities available to suppliers means organisations spend less time searching for opportunities on a buyer’s procurement portals. On the whole, procuring via CCS makes the process quicker for both buyers and suppliers.
How to become a supplier
It’s all very well knowing about CCS and the available routes to the procurement marketplace, but how can you become a supplier?
1. Find a tender for prior information notices from CCS.
These announce future opportunities to keep an eye on, and give details on how to get involved early with frameworks and DPSs. You can also search for open opportunities (a framework in an application window), or even those recently awarded!
2. Check the CCS pipeline regularly.
This has all DPSs and frameworks on it and when they will open. It will let suppliers know what to expect, so they can manage their own internal pipelines.
3. Get listed on frameworks and DPSs.
You can’t get supplying unless you’re on these CCS routes to market. And although there are many other organisations who run frameworks, CCS are the main ones who are tied with government – so are heavily used. If you don’t know how? Check out our resources, or Advice Cloud’s resources for guides – or get in touch with us here!