What is a Framework Contract/Preferred Supplier?

In the absence of sufficient procurement resources to arrange our own professional contracts, the University has traditionally taken advantage of national, inter-regional, regional and ESPO contracts. The University's Procurement Services objectives are to continue to expand framework contracts which will benefit Cambridge. Where there are departments in the University which have a high level of spend, Procurement Services will look to work with them in order to roll out these benefits to other departments.

Those suppliers selected in all of the above instances should offer good value to the University having been through a competitive process. Procurement Services will advise on the use of these suppliers and, where there are a variety of contacts available, make recommendations on selection and selection methods to the relevant commodity groups.

It is vital that the criteria for a Framework Contract or becoming a Preferred supplier are clear, for both the University departments and for the suppliers.

Framework Contracts/Preferred suppliers must:

  • Have been through a competitive process, whether internal or external, and in some cases both. The competitive process will have included evaluation against a group of commodity relevant criteria.
  • Be endorsed at meetings of the relevant commodity group.
  • Have a University proposer, who will be a member of relevant endorsing commodity group, a regular user of the product/service and involved in all discussions and negotiations. Proposers shall be kept informed of all performance related issues and to report to the commodity group as necessary.

Framework Contracts/Preferred suppliers must have formal arrangements with the University, which should be characterised by:

  • Clear start and finish dates.
  • A contract file, containing all details and correspondence, which should be held by the person responsible for setting up and managing the contract (the proposer).
  • Having been based upon the University's standard Terms & Conditions or terms specifically written to protect the university as a customer.
  • Terms and prices which apply across all university accounts.
  • Suppliers which return electronic Management Information at regularity to be determined by proposer.
  • Suppliers which have completed a standard Vendor questionnaire to ensure that we have “quality” suppliers.
  • Suppliers which ideally have a nett price web site with graphics. As a minimum, an Excel based, core items, nett price list.
  • A mention on the Preferred/Contracted suppliers section of the Procurement Services web site, which should contain clear and concise advice and information on the specific products for which the contractor has been awarded a contract to supply.

Framework Contracts/Preferred supplier status only applies to the specific products, goods or services for which the supplier/contractor has been awarded a contract to supply, and does not endorse or confirm that the supplier or contractor is "preferred" for any other product, goods or service they could supply.

For further information on supplier products, goods and services, please see: