Procurement Frameworks.

An alternative route to procuring your new school MIS and Finance services.

Why choose a Framework.

Bromcom is listed on a number of procurement frameworks, offering choice and assurance for schools, MATs or local authorities who wish to procure new MIS or Finance software and related services. These frameworks comprise a structured and predefined set of agreements, contracts, and processes that organisations can use to streamline the procurement of goods and services. They are designed to make the procurement process more efficient, cost-effective, and compliant with relevant regulations, and usually include pre-negotiated terms and conditions and standardised documentation.

Example

G-Cloud Procurement.

G-Cloud enables a buyer to place a “Call off contract” for a selected service on the G-Cloud Digital Marketplace. It can have an initial term of up to 24 months and then can be extended by a further 2 x 12 months. Therefore, a G-Cloud call off can be a maximum duration of 48 months before running another G-Cloud or alternation procurement process. Below, we take a closer look at what procurement looks like through G-Cloud, a framework established by the UK government for public sector bodies.

Below we outline the process that must be followed. This is an adapted and simplified interpretation of the CCS buyers’ guide which we have put together assuming School MIS type services are the requirement. However, you should make sure they check the latest CSS buyer’s guide: G-Cloud buyers’ guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) before embarking on a G- Cloud procurement.

The CCS guide was last updated in 12 November 2019 and we have also corrected one point which was out of date because of a change that came in with G-Cloud 12.

 

Before you start

Before you start your search for cloud services on the Digital Marketplace you should:

    • write a list of requirements (These requirements will help you decide which search category, keywords and filters to use)
    • start an audit trail

Keep an audit trail

An audit trail is a record of what you do when you buy cloud services on the Digital Marketplace. You must be able to show that your assessment of services was fair and transparent.

Follow the step-by-step guide to buying to download a copy of:

    • the category, keywords and filters you used
    • the services you found
    • the date you exported your results

You can add this information to your audit trail.

You should keep your own record of your communications with suppliers, including any early market engagement, clarification questions, emails and face to face conversations you have.

 

How to buy: a step-by-step guide

When you have written your requirements, use the Digital Marketplace to search for cloud services, save details of your search and download a copy of your search results.

After you have assessed the services you found, use the Digital Marketplace to declare the outcome of your search.

    1. Save a search
    2. Export your results
    3. Start assessing services
    4. Award a contract
    5. Submit a customer benefit record

 

  1. Save a search

Use the Digital Marketplace to search for cloud services that meet your needs.

Choose a category

    • If you are looking for a school MIS or school finance system then you likely want to check one of these but the choice is yours and must match your requirements.
      • School accounting
      • School administration
      • Student management

Next search for services using keywords and filters. Save your search so you can export your results later. The search is not case sensitive.

Keywords

    • Try using different search terms to make sure you get the most complete set of results possible. For example, try searching for ‘MIS’ as well as ‘Management Information System’.

i.e. type: MIS management information system

    • If you’re looking for a specific set of terms use double quotes to match the phrase exactly in the returned The above example would return services with any one or more of those terms. But entering “Management Information System” with the double quotes will return only those with the complete phase as typed.
    • If you want a specific word or words included enter a plus sign before the word(s) you want. For example, type: +MIS +Management +Teachers +Parents
    • Add keywords to create a list of services that meet your wants as well as your must-haves.
    • If you want to exclude a word, put a minus sign before the word you don’t want. This is best used to exclude results where your search has returned huge numbers of results and want to exclude irrelevant entries from further consideration. Be careful using the minus sign because it does not understand context. The example from CCS shows where entering ‘-training’ because you don’t want training but that assumes that the descriptions of the services found show/don’t show the term.

Filters

    • The Filters are fixed in what you can look for. They contain entries such as “Cloud Deployment Model”, “User Support” and “Data storage and processing locations”. For example, if you are looking for a service hosted by the supplier in the public cloud or alternatively in a private cloud just for your then click the relevant cloud deployment module check Do you want all methods of user support? Then click all or some as you feel is required to meet your requirements.

Sign into your Digital Marketplace account to see a list of your saved searches.

What to do if you have too many results

You must assess all services in your search results. If you have too many services to assess, add filters to refine your results. The filters you add should be based on your requirements.

Save your search again to record any changes you make. When you update a search, it will only keep the most recent category, keywords and filters you used.

 

  1. Export your results

Export your search results to keep a record of the services you’ve found.

You cannot edit your search again after exporting your results, so you should only complete this step when you’re ready to start assessing services.

Download suppliers’ service descriptions and contact details to help you track and record your decision-making. Add this to your audit trail.

You can download exported results as a spreadsheet or comma-separated values (CSV). Both file types include:

    • service names, descriptions, and prices
    • links to detailed service description pages on the Digital Marketplace
    • supplier names and contact details

 

  1. Start assessing services

Follow the guidance for assessing services (see below). Choose the service that best meets your budget and requirements.

Do not hold a competition to decide the winner. This is not permitted under G- Cloud. You can only contact suppliers to ask clarification questions, not to negotiate.

 

  1. Award a contract

The buyer and supplier must both sign a copy of the contract before the service can be used.

Read how to award a contract when you buy services.

Download the contract

Check the framework name and number (for example, G-Cloud 10) on the service description page before you download your templates and legal documents.

Contract length

The maximum length of a G-Cloud contract is 24 months + 2 x 12 months extensions. After this you will need to start a new search on the Digital Marketplace.

Terms and conditions

If there is any contradiction between the contract terms and conditions and the framework terms and conditions, the framework terms will take precedence. In a contract, the terms and conditions and prices are all agreed when the framework agreement is signed.

Publish the contract on Contracts Finder

You must publish details of all completed contracts on Contracts Finder if the value is over £25,000

Tell us the outcome

Whether or not you award a contract, the Digital Marketplace will prompt you to tell them the outcome. They collect this information and share it with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to help improve the Digital Marketplace for buyers and suppliers.

 

  1. Submit a Customer Benefits Record

Every time you award a contract you must submit a Customer Benefits Record. CCS will contact you if they find any issues with the supplier.

The information you submit to the Customer Benefits Record will not be published.

 

How to assess services

Before you assess the services you have found on the Digital Marketplace, you should read:

    • buying fairly (see below)
    • reviewing service descriptions (see below)
    • what to do if you have a question for the suppliers (see below)
    • choosing the winning service (see below)
    • what to do if only one service meets your requirements
      • If only one service meets your requirements, you can award a contract to the supplier without doing anything else.
    • what to do if no services meet your requirements
      • If none of the services in your search results meet your requirements, you’ll need to start a new search. Even if you don’t award a contract, you should still tell CCS the outcome of your search.

Buying fairly

When you search for services on the Digital Marketplace, you must assess all the services in your search results. Your assessment of these services should always be as fair and as transparent as possible.

You must not:

    • combine the results of more than one search to create a shortlist
    • hold a competition to decide the winner
    • ask suppliers to tender, bid or submit proposals
    • unfairly exclude any services without referring back to your requirements

You can contact suppliers to ask clarification questions, but you must not negotiate with them about the details of their service. Read how to buy Digital Marketplace services fairly.

Reviewing service descriptions

Your assessment should be based on the information in suppliers’ detailed service descriptions. Spend some time going through the descriptions of the services you’ve found to find the service that best meets your budget and requirements.

Each service description includes a:

    • terms and conditions document
    • pricing document
    • service definition

Pricing is normally volume-based (e.g., student numbers by type of school), so you should always look at the supplier’s pricing document to work out the actual price of what you are going to buy.

What to do if you have a question for the suppliers

You can contact suppliers to ask them to explain their service description, terms and conditions, pricing or service definition documents.

You must not negotiate with suppliers about the details of their service. If it isn’t in their service description, you can’t ask a question about it.

Always keep a record of any conversations you have with suppliers.

Choosing the winning service

When choosing the winning service, you should consider:

    • whole life cost – the cost effectiveness, price and running costs of the service
    • technical merit and functional fit – for example, coverage, security measures and performance
    • after-sales service management – the helpdesk, account management function and assurance of supply of a range of services
    • non-functional characteristics – for example, supplier terms, help with onboarding and offboarding, scalability, reliability, and data centre location

Your final choice should be based on best fit, rather than ruling out suppliers that do not meet either your current contract or an ideal set of terms.

When you have chosen a service, you can award a contract to the supplier.

Extending your G-Cloud contract

Contract awards on G-Cloud normally last for up to 24 months, but they can be extended by one year and then a further year.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team and we can help guide you through the process.