Public sector shapes retail framework

A project group is in the process of creating a framework that will smooth the path for public sector customers in England to choose a water supplier after April 2017.

The group, known as Public Sector Water, will put a framework agreement in place for the supply of water services, wastewater services and ancillary goods and services. The latter include new connections and site-works; metering; demand side management and water conservation measures; Automatic Meter Reading; and water reduction/management advice and guidance. Each public sector customer will be able to pick its suppliers from those on the framework.

The move follows a survey of public sector consumers which found 98% would use the framework to procure a new supplier. It is being delivered by a Water Strategy Group (WSG), which has drawn on expertise from the following organisations:

  • Crown Commercial Service

  • Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation

  • North East Purchasing Organisation

  • The Energy Consortium

  • West Mercia Energy

  • Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation

  • Ministry of Defence

A Prior Information Notice was issued in April, calling for expressions of interest from suppliers – see

Public sector customers ranked the following as the top five aspects they will look for:

  • obtaining the best price

  • accurate billing/Less estimated readings

  • ensuring compliance with procurement rules

  • supply resilience

  • customer service

The WSG is currently in the process of developing its final business case. It estimates it will publish final procurement details in OJEU in November and award the contract in March 2017.