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 the public sector and are buying goods and services for your organisation, you can use the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to buy a variety of goods and services. The options available include:
1. Self service options
- run further competitions through a framework agreement
- use the eMarketplace to buy through a catalogue and request quotes
2. Procurement support
- aggregated further competitions
All public 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:
the current procurement regulations which govern public sector procurement
the government recommended process for operating, managing and delivering procurement projects from the start to finish: the Lean Sourcing Process
courses in procurement basics
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.
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.
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 such as Communications Marketplace via Contracts Directory
Find out more and register: eMarketplace guide
2. Procurement support
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 other procurement support services that run eAuctions and aggregated further competitions on your behalf to help you manage the procurement process.
By encouraging competition amongst suppliers and combining your needs with those of other customers, you can reduce the price you pay through an eAuction.
eAuctions can also consider other criteria such as quality, delivery and service levels.
aggregated further competitions
When buying common goods and services, bringing together customers’ needs provides several advantages, including savings and a simpler tender process.
Recent examples of our aggregation success can be found in our case study collection
If there is something you are looking to buy, and you would like us to explore the potential to help you achieve further savings by bringing your requirement together with other customers, please get in touch to discuss your opportunities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Aggregation is suitable for most common goods and services, and we can use any CCS multi-supplier framework where further competitions can be run.
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.
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
Published: 8 December 2014
Updated: 19 October 2016
- Added information about aggregated further competitions
- The title contract service has been changed to commercial service
- The fully managed commercial and procurement option has been removed.
- Updated information about software discounts available.
- Link to eMarketplace log on page added
- Summary list of framework agreements currently available through CCS added
- First published.