Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Christopher Bovis
Chapter 4: Public procurement and frameworks
Framework agreements have become an established feature of the public procurement landscape. Essentially a means of identifying a qualified supplier (or suppliers) with whom contracts might later be concluded on terms broadly identified by the framework, they represent a flexible tool deployed across a range of procurement activities, useful almost irrespective of scale and to some extent frequency of dealing. Such arrangements potentially offer a means of readily achieving administrative and price efficiencies, particularly in the context of repeat dealings in the same or similar types of goods and particularly for the acquisition of commodity goods. The purpose of this chapter is to offer an exposition of the nature and purpose of the framework agreement at large and to then focus in on the framework agreement as it is defined and conceived for the purposes of European public procurement regime with a particular emphasis on the understanding of that regime in the UK. This chapter will consider the concept, definition and forms of framework agreement and how frameworks to which Directive 2004/18/EC is applicable may be operated, established and breaches of them remedied. Finally, this chapter will turn to examine whether, notwithstanding their wide usage, frameworks are in fact capable in principle and in fact of delivering the efficiencies and cost benefits that they appear to herald while maintaining fairness and transparency.
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