In this blog Kellie Drummond shares her top tips for using the Records Information Management, Digital Solutions and Associated Services framework (RM6175)

This blog has been written in conjunction with YPO, our partner on the Records Information Management, Digital Solutions and Associated Services framework (RM6175), and Iron Mountain, one of the suppliers available on the framework.

Almost every service and product the public sector needs can be bought through a framework. However, there can be a disconnect between what the framework provider is hoping the public sector will gain from using the framework, and the way frameworks are used in practice.

To help with this we share our best practice for using the Records Information Management, Digital Solutions and Associated Services framework (RM6175) below:

You don’t have to run a further competition

We know that organisations may choose to run a further competition as they feel it’s the best way to use the framework, and some believe that a direct call-off is in some way a ‘less compliant’ procurement approach. 

However, it’s worth emphasising that a direct call-off is a valid procurement route. The framework has been set up to give you flexibility, quick procurement and efficiency, by giving you the option to undertake a direct call off. This can help avoid labour-intensive and complex administration. 

If you have any questions or want guidance on when to use a  further competition, we can support.

Your further competition doesn’t need to evaluate everything

If you decide to run a further competition, be sure to avoid duplicating effort. As part of the main framework award, suppliers have already been evaluated on: 

  • their ability to provide the services
  • meet stringent minimum standards 
  • relevant accreditations

This means that you don’t need to include these in your further competition. The risk in over-complicating a competition is that suppliers, like procurement teams, have limited resources. If they are presented with lengthy procurement exercises  under a framework that they have already competed for a place on, they may not have the capacity to respond, and you are unlikely to get the best responses for your requirement. 

Our  specialist team are always ready to help you run through your specifications, and will enable you to filter unnecessary questions so that you get the best and most meaningful responses from potential suppliers.

Engage with suppliers before going out to market

Many organisations are wary of engaging with suppliers and may complete a full go-to-market exercise, or call off from a framework without speaking to any suppliers, or only communicating with  their existing supplier, creating a potential imbalance. 

We recommend engaging with suppliers up until a formal procurement process is underway. This will  help you to refine your requirements and enable you to either complete a fully informed direct call-off, or run a more effective further competition. 

 It is important to remember that there are procurements which fail and have to be re-run as a result of coming to the market with requirements that are not fit for purpose, delaying results and savings. Therefore, it is to your and your end users’ advantage to engage with suppliers before your procurement process is underway.

Make sure your timelines are proportionate

If you are running a further competition rather than completing a direct award, make sure you make your timelines reasonable and avoid unnecessary short timescales. You will achieve much better results if you offer suppliers a realistic response window and timeframe for implementation, rather than encouraging ‘promise-all’ responses which then run into difficulties post award.

Make best use of the clarification stage

It is advisable that you do not rush clarifications for your procurement.  It is beneficial both to you and to suppliers to have a dialogue as long as it is conducted in a manner which is transparent and equal for all suppliers. This can help to ensure a successful procurement process with better outcomes.

Make the most of the support CCS can provide

Should you do a further competition or a direct award? Are there other organisations who have bought something similar that could advise you? CCS, in conjunction with YPO, can provide advice, guidance and practical help with using the framework. Contact the team by completing the online form below to discuss your requirements.

Find out more

If you would like any further information about records management, please get in touch:

Kellie Drummond | Commercial Agreement Manager