In 2023, according to Tussell, a staggering £31.6bn worth of government contracts was let through frameworks. They are a critical component of the government contracting landscape – yet they can be inordinately tricky to navigate.


Suppliers often ask themselves:

  • Which frameworks should I be on?
  • Which ones are, frankly, a waste of time? (There are some frameworks that rarely, if ever, get used.)
  • If a framework is split into lots, can I/should I apply to be on them all?
  • What are the dangers inherent in those frameworks that allow direct awards?
  • What is an evergreen framework?
  • Once I’m on a framework, do I just sit back and wait for opportunities to roll in?

Bidding to get on a framework is important – downstream revenues can depend on it. But make no mistake, getting onto a framework has won you nothing. Zero. All you have won is a license to hunt. You are allowed to play a part in any call-off from that framework, but no revenues are guaranteed.


So, what should you do?

  • Research which frameworks are most relevant to the service you offer.
  • Find out which frameworks are most frequently used by the government departments you are targeting (and don’t forget the pan-government frameworks such as G-Cloud, or the Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPSs) that allow for smaller call-offs).
  • Research those frameworks that are due to expire in the next 12-24 months.
  • Contact Crown Commercial Service and/or other purchasing organisations (especially if you are an SME). They can help you understand how a particular framework works, when it will next be opened up for competition, and sometimes, the forward pipeline of opportunity it is likely to generate.


Getting on the Framework

Now you are ready to bid to get onto the framework. The evaluator will want to know that a) you are competent to deliver the scope of services required, b) you have the financial viability to deliver the services, c) you meet the relevant statutory and policy requirements, and d) you are willing to sign up to broad brush terms and conditions (there may be specific terms and conditions for subsequent call-offs). The aim of any framework is to generate a pre-approved list to enable commissioners to go straight to a shortlist of skilled suppliers.

So, apply to be on the framework. Recognise that this doesn’t guarantee work, but also recognise that without being on a particular framework, you will not be able to win any revenues for that particular scope of work. Bidding to be on frameworks can take time and distract sales teams from those bids that lead to direct revenue generation.

So, use AI to help reduce the opportunity cost here. Secure, enterprise-level generative AI, linked to your company knowledge bank, can help you fill out framework tenders in a fraction of the time, freeing up precious bid resources to work on other tenders in your pipeline that may offer more immediate returns.


After Securing a Framework Spot

You (and your AI) have done all the hard work. You’ve successfully secured a place on a framework. You’re happily sitting there knowing that you’ve been given the government seal of approval; all your credentials have been uploaded, including your rate card (if applicable). You proudly hold your ‘license to hunt’.

And you wait.

And you wait.

You can either be passive – surely, someone will put a tender out via the framework soon? Or – and this is highly recommended – you can be proactive. Make sure your entire sales team knows which frameworks you sit on. Make sure they are reminding prospects that that particular framework exists and can be used. In other words, socialize the framework. Do not assume that all government commercial teams are aware of all the frameworks available to them.


When an opportunity lands (or usually, several at a time):

Government Department X decides it wants to use the framework you are on to let a large contract. Hurrah! There are clear benefits to this:

  • It should be a shorter procurement window (no pre-qualification hurdles).
  • You know who your competitors are (the other companies on the framework).
  • The scope of work should fall under the remit of that particular framework, so your internal stakeholders should be signed up to the parameters of the contract.
  • Terms and conditions are already agreed.

So long as the opportunity passes your qualification threshold, you should bid on it. But your resources are allocated elsewhere, on bids that you have also qualified in. You want to bid on this but don’t have the bandwidth. One of the levers that some frameworks have is a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ clause – in other words, if you no-bid three or more opportunities on the framework, you can be kicked off it. And after all your hard work getting on it in the first place, no one wants that.

So, use the power of AI. Your initial framework bid will be in your document library. Your capability statements, case studies, and testimonials will also be there. The commissioner’s priorities, market engagement event documentation, etc., should also be uploaded. You should also have profiled your competitors (because you know who they are), and this SWOT analysis should also form part of your library. In other words, you are immensely well-prepared to execute call-off bids from that framework. And here, AI is most definitely your friend. Your chances of winning just increased.


To summarise:

  • Frameworks can be a lucrative form of revenue generation.
  • But only if you choose the right ones.
  • Only if you are proactive in your use of them.
  • And crucially, only if you equip your already over-stretched bid teams with the right tools to win any call-offs from them.

Speak to AutogenAI today about how we can help you make the most of government frameworks.