Public Sector Frameworks; Closed or Open?

It’s common knowledge both within the Public and Private sector that within the government exists a department with the sole purpose of negotiating and contracting framework agreements to meet the needs of the various types of public sector organisation.

However what may not be known is that these agreements are often let for a very small subset of government organisations and given the common spending requirements of the public sector this often leads to more than one framework for the type of goods or service. This is not only a doubling of work for the government, but also for the supplier and therefore a waste of both public and private sector funds.

Now this may be an over simplified view, however why does the government not go back to each existing framework and request the suppliers allow the agreement to permit all of the wider public sector to buy from it?  This will not only drive more business for the supplier and given the pricing is often fixed, the supplier will not lose out financially.  Initially this will only simplify the use of approximately 116 existing frameworks, but this in itself would be a tremendous step forward.

A step further would be for the government to ask the supplier to allow the frameworks to be used by Private Sector organisations as well! This requires a significant change in culture, particularly within GPS, however the benefits are clear; private sector organisations get an opportunity to buy more efficiently, which in these times of osterity is sorely needed, suppliers get an opportunity to sell more and most importantly from the governments point of view, GPS get to negotiate better pricing based on higher volume going through the framework, thus benefitting the taxpayer too.  Now for legal reasons I am sure this could only happen when new frameworks are let, but this does seem like a quick win for all concerned!?