Public sector framework for retail supply due to go live on 13 March


Retailers will know within a month whether they have made it on to the framework agreement being managed by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to smooth the path for public sector customers in England to choose their water supplier.

CCS is understood to have evaluated all the retailers who have applied to take part in the framework, and to be in the process of conducting the necessary legal and administrative tasks. Letters are due to be issued in early March informing applicants of who is included and excluded. At that point, the process will enter the “standstill” phase stipulated by EU legislation, where stakeholders have ten days to comment or raise objections. The tender is expected to go live on 13 March, ahead of market opening on 1 April.

CCS has valued the public sector retail market at £960m. It has been working with partner organisations including the Ministry of Defence and regional purchasing organisations for months to deliver a framework agreement to which multiple retailers will be appointed. Each public sector customer will be able to pick its suppliers from those on the framework.

The framework agreement will consist of three lots:

  • Lot 1 – supply of water and sewerage services.

  • Lot 2 – supply of ancillary services (such as new connections and site-works; metering; demand side management and water conservation measures; Automatic Meter Reading; and water reduction/management advice and guidance).

  • Lot 3 – one stop shop (supply of services listed under lot 1 and lot 2).

The move follows a survey of public sector consumers which found 98% would use the framework to procure a new supplier. 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.