The Cabinet Office has confirmed the line-up of suppliers for the latest pan-public sector mega framework, but is unable to provide a start date nearly a year after the contract notice was first published.
“We are pleased to announce that the Technology Products agreement has been awarded. We will share further information on the expected go live date in due course,” stated Crown Commercial Services, an executive agency (and trading fund of the Cabinet Office, itself responsible for supporting the PM and cabinet) which runs government procurement.
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CCS said in the meantime, the Commodity IT Hardware and Software (CITHS) and the IT Hardware and Software (ITH&S) procurement rigs are existing routes for “customers with urgent requirements”.
The start of Technology Products is in sight for suppliers and public sector buyers, but getting to this point has been a long and arduous journey.
The contract notice for the Technology Products framework, worth an estimated £6bn over its lifetime and which covers infrastructure kit and software, was sent to folk in the channel in January, some months after it had been expected.
The delay forced CCS to extend the deadline for CITHS — the predecessor to Technology Products — from March until the end of October so public sector buyers had some continuity of supply, as new tenders were submitted and reviewed.
Fast forward to September, and CCS told 33 suppliers including resellers and OEMs that they had won a seat on the framework, though just 3.06 per cent separated the highest and lowest candidates under the scoring metrics.
A ten-day standstill or cooling off period started on midnight, 15 September, and on the first day CCS received a legal challenge from Misco, which had not initially made the grade. By 23 September, Misco and others including ANS Group, Centerprise, Software Box and Supplies Team were hauled on board. Sources tell us CCS lowered its barrier to entry, which allowed the other four additions to be made.
On 24 September, CCS wrote to suppliers telling them it had decided to extend CITHS and ITH&S until the end of January. It subsequently received a legal challenges from reseller CCS Media, and the Chesterfield firm is understood to have been belated added too.
Sources told us they are still in the dark over a start date, with one suggesting “all things being equal I would have expected Technology Products to be re-tendered. But CCS hasn’t got the capacity to revise given the other frameworks are running”.
“CCS has made a total ballsup,” said one supplier on the framework, “quite frankly its like watching a kindergarten, it’s a joke,” he added.
Another source said CCS had to get the framework ready before 5 December to comply with procurement regulations, or they would have had to re-tender Technology Products in the Official Journal of the EU.
Individual contracts for Technology Products are now on the desks of suppliers awaiting a signature, and once counter signed the framework is good to go. But getting there ... ®