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How is a DPS different to a framework?

We write a lot about frameworks, but not a lot on Dynamic Purchasing Systems. In this blog learn what they are and what they have in common with their cousin: the framework.

CCS in the last few years have announced a few new Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) to come to market. Suppliers saw a DPS arrive for the procurement of RPA, AI and machine learning tech, as well as Gigabit Capable Connectivity DPS for the provision of fibre optic network infrastructure and services. We also saw the SPARK DPS go live.  

But what is a DPS and how does it differ to a framework?


What is a Dynamic Purchasing System?

A Dynamic Purchasing System otherwise known as a DPS, is a procurement tool for works, services and goods. A DPS is similar to an electronic framework agreement, but new suppliers can apply to join at any time. Dynamic Purchasing Systems are run as an entirely electronic process and using the restricted procedure. All contracting authorities, including central government purchasing bodies, can set up a DPS.

A DPS is run using a two-stage process. Firstly, during the initial setup stage all suppliers who meet the set criteria will be admitted to the DPS and there is no limit on how many suppliers may apply to it. The second stage of a DPS is where contracts are awarded. The contracting authority invites all suppliers on the DPS or within the relevant category within the DPS to bid for the contract.

Using a DPS can help speed up and streamline procurement for suppliers and buyers and the award of tenders can be quicker than some other procurement procedures.


What is a framework?

A procurement framework is a list of pre-qualified suppliers that can bid for tenders around a specific group of goods, services and works. Frameworks are OJEU compliant, removing the need to run a full and lengthy OJEU procurement processes as this has already been taken care of when the framework was set up. Frameworks have requirements such as particular technical and capability standards. They also come with standardised contract terms. Frameworks are often divided by Lot, product or service type.

Buyers can procure from a framework in various ways, such as direct award, or a further competition among the suppliers who will bid for the business. However, not all frameworks have the functionality to direct award.


How is a DPS different to a framework?

Since not all frameworks are the same it is difficult to determine clear cut differences between the two procurement routes. However, there are a few elements that seem to be a clear distinction when it comes to most tech frameworks currently on the market. Here are just a few of the differences between a DPS and a framework.

DPS vs Framework
DPS vs Frameworks

There are pros and cons to using a DPS above a framework, if suppliers can join at any time it avoids supplier lock out and enables the public sector access to the newest cutting-edge technology. However, when it comes to limited supplier frameworks, suppliers have an edge over the competition. Less suppliers equals less competition.

Ultimately the procurement vehicle should be chosen by weighing up what is being procured and the specific needs of the contracting authority. And, for suppliers our advice is carefully evaluate all the opportunities out there. A new route to market can quickly become a backbone of your business success so don’t rule a DPS or a framework out before you have done your due diligence.

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