Buying goods and services: options for public sector buyers

Procurement options available from the Crown Commercial Service for the public sector.


If you work for a government, public sector or third sector organisation and are buying goods and services for your organisation, you can use the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to buy a variety of common goods and services. The options available to all include:

1. Self service options

  • run further competitions through a framework agreement
  • use the eMarketplace to buy through a catalogue and request quotes

2. Aggregation

  • eAuctions
  • national further competitions


All public and third sector organisations and government departments can use the self service options to buy a variety of commonly used goods and services.

If you can’t find what you want in the self service area, or would like to combine your needs with those of other organisations to get best value, CCS can provide advice and support to help you, either through another CCS service or via the wider marketplace.

Whatever route you take, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with:

1. Self service options

The CCS self service options can be used for both large and small purchases whether above or below the EU threshold.

You can buy a variety of commonly used goods and services including travel, print, stationery and office equipment, technology hardware software and services, professional services, fleet and energy. You can buy them through a number of methods.

Framework agreements

A framework agreement is a type of ‘umbrella’ agreement negotiated with suppliers by CCS, on behalf of the public sector. Because so many organisations buy through these agreements the suppliers can offer competitive prices. Each framework agreement comes with standard terms and conditions.

Where there is only one supplier on the agreement, or if there is an option for direct award within the guidance notes for the agreement, you can place an order directly with the supplier.

You can also run a further competition against an existing agreement through the CCS eSourcing tool or your own organisation’s sourcing tool if you have one.

The eMarketplace

If your requirements are straightforward the Government eMarketplace provides a range of options for smaller purchases you can buy online.

Through the eMarketplace you can:

  • place direct orders for products and services via our catalogues
  • send electronic request for quotes to pre-registered suppliers on the Dynamic Marketplace
  • view contracts or supplier lists

2. Aggregation services

If you can’t find what you want in the self service area, or would like to combine your needs with those of other organisations to get best value, you can use one of CCS’s aggregation services. We run eAuctions and national further competitions on your behalf, to help you manage the procurement process and achieve great savings.

3. Commercial service (central government only)

This service is for departments requiring goods and services above the EU threshold and where a suitable self service agreement is not available.

The procurement operations team is responsible for delivering the end-to-end OJEU and sub-OJEU procurement process. The process includes:

  • the initial contact and pre-procurement engagement to fully understand customer requirements
  • defining the requirement, through the sourcing cycle to evaluation
  • award and contracting

CCS will run the procurement process up to the award of the contract. Once awarded the contract will be managed by you. This service incurs a charge.

Contact the customer service team on 0345 410 2222 to discuss how to access this service.

Other discounts

Special public sector discounts have been agreed with a number of software suppliers providing significant savings.

Eligibility criteria may apply. Get more information on these software discounts

Updates to this page

Published 8 December 2014
Last updated 21 August 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated section on aggregation and added link to new page.

  2. Updated software discounts link and added link to online enquiry form for aggregation.

  3. Added information about aggregated further competitions

  4. The title contract service has been changed to commercial service

  5. The fully managed commercial and procurement option has been removed.

  6. Updated information about software discounts available.

  7. Link to eMarketplace log on page added

  8. Summary list of framework agreements currently available through CCS added

  9. First published.

Sign up for emails or print this page