Frequently Asked Questions
What is Government Procurement Service?
Government Procurement Service is an executive agency of the Cabinet Office. Our overall priority is to provide procurement savings for the UK Public Sector as a whole and specifically to deliver centralised procurement for Central Government Departments.
Our value for money, commercial procurement solutions are fully EU compliant and cover energy, travel, fleet, office solutions, professional services, ICT, eCommerce and property & facilities management, saving customers time and money.
For further information please visit our About Government Procurement Service section.
Who can use Government Procurement Service?
Any UK Public Sector Contracting Authority, as defined by the Public Services Contract Regulations 1993, or any Service Provider acting on its behalf, can utilise Government Procurement Service’s framework agreements. This includes central government, health and the wider public sector.
Centrally negotiated contracts and catalogues are available to those named in the original OJEU notice.
Why should I use Government Procurement Service?
We help the public sector to maximise procurement efficiency and value for money. By centralising, standardising and aggregating spend on common goods and services we deliver significant and sustainable cost reductions.
Operating at the heart of Government Procurement, we play a key role by delivering expert sourcing, category and centralised data management.
What is centralised procurement?
The new centralised procurement model means all Central Government Departments, their NDPBs, Agencies and Arms Length Bodies must use the buying power of Government by committing volume and transitioning their spend to centrally sourced contracts and frameworks.
It will deliver significant, sustainable savings through the centralisation, standardisation of specification and aggregation of spend on common goods and services.
How will centralised procurement be enforced?
The new centralised procurement capability has been mandated across all Central Government Departments, their NDPBs, Agencies and Arms Length Bodies by the Minister for the Cabinet Office. This has also been endorsed by one of the Cabinet sub-Committees.
The Procurement Executive Boards, known as PEB and EPEB, were established in November 2010 to oversee and align Departmental purchasing policies with the new category strategies. This is overseen by Government’s Chief Procurement Officer Commercial Directors from all Central Government Departments make up these boards.
What is mandation?
Mandation requires Central Government Departments, their NDPBs, Agencies and Arms Length Bodies to buy from single, centrally-sourced contracts and framework agreements instead of buying separately or setting up alternative procurement arrangements.
This centralisation of central government procurement was mandated by Government in May 2010 as part of a series of controls to reduce spending.
How is the centralising of Central Government procurement supporting wider public sector organisations?
Centralised procurement currently focuses on the 17 Central Government Departments. However, where other public sector organisations can standardise and commit volumes, central contracts will be made available to them. We continue to work with wider public sector organisations to ensure, where possible, they can take advantage of the savings opportunities available from the new centralised procurements.
We remain fully committed to our customers across the public sector; in health, local government and devolved administrations (Scotland Ireland and Wales).
What categories is Government Procurement Service responsible for?
Government Procurement Service is responsible for, or involved in, the following categories: energy, office, property and facilities management, professional services, learning and development, travel, fleet, ICT, eCommerce, print and print management.
For Central Government, we will be working in partnership with some Departments in categories where it makes sense to make best use of expertise across government. For up-to-date information, visit http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/frameworks/cat_overview.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Customer Service Desk on 0345 410 2222.
I cannot see a framework for the product or service I need. Does this mean you can’t help me?
The following link provides an overview of procurements that are being planned or in progress. Otherwise, for advice please call our Customer Service Desk on 0345 410 2222 or email email@example.com.
Do you have customer stakeholder groups where I can represent my organisation’s views?
All categories have stakeholder groups. To find out if your organisation is represented or if you want to join a stakeholder group, call our Customer Service Desk on 0345 410 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, we conduct a quarterly customer survey to collect views on the performance of Government Procurement Service on:
- category management
- centralised data management
- prices for goods and services
- management information to enable departments to control spend
- quality of customer service
- supplier management.
We ran the first survey in July 2011 and will publish the findings on our website as soon as they are available.
What is the timetable/programme for central contracts?
The following categories are due to be centralised during 2011/2012: energy, office, professional services, travel, fleet, IT commodities (including telecommunications and networks), print & print management and advertising & media.
At present, centralised contracts are available in: energy, fleet purchase and lease, office supplies and print. For more information, visit http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/frameworks/procurement_plan.html
Is there a buyer’s guide to accessing the deals and where can I find it?
You should be able to find all the information you need on our website. However, if you are having difficulty, please contact our customer service desk who will put you in touch with the appropriate category specialist to provide information and a full update on current deals and future plans. Call our Customer Service Desk on 0345 410 2222 or email email@example.com.
I’ve heard the term delivery centre – what does this mean for my organisation?
Government Procurement Delivery Centres will be responsible for managing demand and delivering procurement solutions that maximise efficiencies and value for money through aggregation of volumes and controlled spend. Government Procurement Service is the main delivery centre with support in some categories from Departments.
To ensure a seamless service is delivered to all public sector organisations irrespective of the delivery centre, a single online Government Procurement Portal on how to access contracts and do business with Government will be available in December 2011.
What is the Government eMarketplace and how do I use and access it?
The Government eMarketplace which will enable departments to easily access centrally negotiated deals and transact, is endorsed by the 17 Departmental Commercial Directors.
Government eMarketplace can also be used by customers across the public sector; in health, local government and devolved administrations.
Government eMarketplace provides two tools:
- Dynamic Marketplace provides a quick request for quotation (RFQ) service for contracts below the EU threshold of £100,000.
- eMarketplace provides online catalogue access to centrally negotiated arrangements for products and services with fixed pricing.
It will also enable suppliers and, in particular SMEs, to bid for Government work much easier than before through an effective quick RFQ service for contracts below the EU threshold. Government eMarketplace will be delivered through existing technology and is expected to be operational by December 2011. For further information visit: http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/frameworks/cat_overview.html
Will e-catalogues be made available?
Details of all Government Procurement Service products and services are already online and available on our website. To register go to: https://login.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/signup/slis/index.html
Additionally, the Government e-Market Place which will be available before the end of 2011, will provide the hosting of Government Procurement centrally negotiated contracts and catalogues (available to those named in the original OJEU notice) ensuring for the first time consistent pricing for common goods and services across Government Departments.
Where can I find pricing and other commercial information on Government Procurement Service contracts?
Pricing and other information is available to public sector customers and/or their agents once their website registration is completed and accepted by Government Procurement Service. To register go to: https://login.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/signup/slis/index.html
In the near future, a single open Government Procurement Portal for suppliers and procurement professionals will be available to communicate how to do business with Government and provide links to other online facilities, including Government eMarketplace . For further details including access information visit: http://www.buyingsolutions.gov.uk/frameworks/cat_overview.html
Who is responsible for contract management?
As the delivery arm of Government Procurement, Government Procurement Service will manage most contracts. However, we are in a transitional period where centralised arrangements for Central Government are still under review. In some cases, where it makes sense to use existing departmental expertise, specific departments will take responsibility for Central Government arrangements. For example, HMRC is the lead body for office supplies and print in Central Government supported by Government Procurement Service. For up-to-date information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Customer Service Desk on 0345 410 2222.
What Governance arrangements are in place to manage the Government Procurement Service/ Department relationship
Government Procurement has a Customer Service Agreement (CSA) with each Department which frames the relationship in terms of accountabilities, roles and responsibilities, inputs and outputs, performance management and governance. Each Department has a Relationship Manager from the Government Procurement Service Customer Service team providing a single point of contact and who will manage the CSA. The Relationship Manager also provides a conduit to other parts of Government Procurement for information or, if necessary, escalation of issues to PEB and EPEB – see Q3 for further information.
Part of the work is to create a transparent transition plan in order that the Departments spend in the common goods and services categories moves to spend under management of the centralised procurements, as agreed by Ministers. In addition, as the engagement and relationship matures, new opportunities for more effective and efficient ways of working will be explored.
Annexed to this over arching CSA, there are category-specific Service Level Agreements (SLAs) signed between Government Procurement Service and Departments which include key performance indicators to ensure effective monitoring and management. Also, within the CSA, there may be Memorandums of Understand (MOUs) which outline arrangements from specific service delivery centres (see Q9 above).
Each category will also have its own Governance Board which will include representatives from Government Departments and other appropriate public sector bodies.
How are you funded?
Government Procurement Service is a Trading Fund, using a supplier commission model to fund operations and support continuous improvement in Government’s procurement capability.
What do I do if I am unhappy with the service?
Please telephone our Customer Services Desk on 0345 410 2222 or email: email@example.com We will advise the relevant Category Team(s), who will contact you within 2 working days. We always strive to resolve concerns in an efficient and timely manner. You should expect a reply within 21 working days. If we cannot respond fully to your enquiry within 21 days we will keep you informed of the progress of our investigation.
For further information, please visit our Contact Us page.