Procurement - technology peripherals and infrastructure framework: lot 2 - buyer's guide

Buyer's guide for procurement framework for information and communication technology (ICT) products - technology peripherals and infrastructure framework - lot 2 - (SP-21-012).


Mini competition ordering procedures

The framework agreement has been established to enable organisations to purchase networking equipment and services at the most economically advantageous pricing without having to undertake a full public procurement tender exercise.

For Lot 2 of the framework, users must conduct a mini competition for their requirements, no direct award is available through this Lot. This Lot can be used when organisations are looking to purchase more complex networking equipment, a solution-based offering, or require a single supplier over a number of years. These types of purchases typically require pre-engagement and clarity from the suppliers.

An order form has been created to simplify the call-off procedure and substitute the need to complete and sign the call off Terms (Schedule 5) contract agreement. The order form can be used at the discretion of the framework public body. The order form can be found in the ‘supporting documents’ on this page.

If you choose to complete the Schedule 5 document, the preamble data requires some data to be entered. the Find the Tender Service reference is 030614-2021 (F10). The Contract Notice was published on 9 December 2021 (F9 and F12) and the contractors all submitted their responses on 31 January 2022 (F13).

Full details on buying from a framework are detailed in SPPN 5 2010 and further guidance is available on the “Scottish Procurement: Procurement Information Network” group on the secure Knowledge Hub site.

The framework terms and conditions cannot be re-negotiated, however, terms can be supplemented or refined to reflect the particular circumstances of the order e.g. delivery timescales, additional security needs and payment terms. Framework terms and conditions can be accessed via the Scottish Procurement: Procurement Information Network Knowledge Hub site. 

If you do not have access to the Knowledge Hub site, please ensure you are registered on Knowledge Hub and complete the Membership Request Form. Completed forms should be sent to scottishprocurement@gov.scot.

Points to consider, a good practice checklist, and an order form are provided to assist organisations in the sourcing and procurement of infrastructure equipment.

Buyers are reminded of the obligations contained in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 in relation to the award of contracts valued equal to or greater than £50,000 including those awarded as a result of a framework call-off/mini competition. In particular, Buyers should note that in accordance with Section 23(2) the award of contracts must be publicised on the Public Contracts Scotland website and in accordance with Section 35 contracts must be registered in the contracting authority’s “contracts register”.

The process flow below provides an overview of how to run a mini competition. Further information and advice on mini competitions is available from your Centre of Expertise (CoE) representative or contacting Scottish procurement direct.

Framework public bodies should:

Step 1

Establish requirements. Where necessary, engage with the framework contractors to assist in the development of the Statement of Requirements.

Step 2

Create the mini competition documentation. The template order form can be used as a guide.

Step 3

Engage with all contractors on Lot 2 to discuss your requirements.

Step 4

Issue mini competition documents to all contractors. Contractors should complete a mini competition alert form and submit to Scottish Procurement.

Step 5

Organisations will evaluate all responses using your predetermined scoring and weightings as detailed in your mini competition.

Step 6

If required, clarification from tenderers can be requested throughout the evaluation process.

Step 7

Award contract based on the evaluation criteria. Terms and conditions agreed under the framework agreement.

Step 8

Commence with implementation.

Buyers must:

  • ensure the mini competition process is conducted in an open, fair and transparent manner at all times and that the award criteria e.g. most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) is clearly stated
  • consult in writing with all the contractors appointed to the framework and invite them, within a specified time limit, to submit a mini competition tender in writing for each order to be awarded
  • the tender proposals should allow a tenderer to demonstrate how the services will be delivered, with particular emphasis on quality, delivery timescales and customer satisfaction
  • the evaluation criteria allow for flexibility regarding the composition of percentage weightings allocated against each of the criteria shown. The mini competition should be conducted on the basis of the criteria listed above and on the same, or if necessary, more precisely formulated terms. A framework public body should consider the introduction of additional terms, for example, sustainable benefits, full details must be provided in the invitation to tender document
  • set a time limit for the receipt of the mini-competition tenders which takes into account factors such as the complexity of the subject matter of the order and the time needed to submit tenders
  • keep each mini competition tender confidential until the expiry of the time limit for the receipt of mini competition tenders
  • apply the award criteria and weightings to the framework contractors' compliant tenders submitted through the mini-competition as the basis of its decision to award an order for its service requirements
  • the highest scoring compliant tenderer will be awarded the call-off contract. In the event of a tie the framework public body reserves the right to appoint the tenderer who obtains the highest quality score
  • on the basis set out above, the framework public body can award its services by awarding a contract to the successful framework contractor in accordance with the following:
  • standard terms of supply (schedule 5)
  • services requirements
  • the charges payable for the services requirements in accordance with the tender submitted by the successful framework contractor
  • framework public bodies may wish to consider using the Public Contracts Scotland Quick Quote System to conduct mini competitions. When using the Quick Quote facility within Public Contracts Scotland (PCS), please ensure that only those suppliers on this Lot are invited to respond
  • a call-off contract must be concluded by an award letter and the completion of schedule 5 from the framework agreement, letters must also be issued to all unsuccessful tenderers. Templates for letters can be found on the Procurement Journey website
  • contracting Authorities do not have to follow the standstill rules when awarding a call-off contract under the framework agreement, whether by direct award or mini competition. However, they may choose to follow the standstill rules on a voluntary basis (giving summary reasons) when awarding an above-threshold contract by mini competition in order to protect themselves from an ineffectiveness order in the event of a legal challenge

There is no scope to run a general selection procedure, based on technical ability etc. This was carried out before the Technology Peripherals and Infrastructure Framework Agreement itself was awarded and should not be repeated at further competition stage.

Mini competition award criteria

The original framework was evaluated using a quality/price ratio of 40/60. Technical criteria % weightings shall be set by framework public bodies at mini competition, ensuring they reflect individual requirements and best value for money considerations.

The mini competition award criteria should be made available to all contractors and may cover some of the areas listed as follows:

Quality criteria

  • account management
  • support and maintenance services
  • service delivery (with particular emphasis on quality and performance measurements)
  • demonstrable experience and expertise of the proposed personnel
  • security solutions
  • financial options
  • sustainability

Price criteria

  • to be determined by individual organisations e.g. hardware cost, running costs, total cost of ownership

Indicative timescale

Allowing sufficient time to carry out your procurement exercise is crucial to a successful outcome and ensures that contractors have adequate time to complete and return tender documentation. Although timescales will vary according to the complexity of the procurement exercise, the table below provides some indicative timescales.

Procurement route

Mini competition

Supplier response time

1-2 months

Total indicative timescale (incl. supplier response time)

4 months

Points to consider

Identifying the correct solutions will ensure that organisations achieve the most cost effective solution. Consideration should be given to the total cost of ownership of the product (e.g. purchase, maintenance and usage requirements etc).

It is advised that organisations pre-engage with framework contractors as part of their procurement activities. Consideration should also be given to how the products will be connected to the organisation’s network.

The following list of questions (although not exhaustive) provides some areas which organisations may want to consider:

  • do you have a digital strategy in place?
  • what timeframe do you have and what are the product lead times?
  • what are your objectives?
  • do you require a site survey?
  • do you have details on your existing products, types, locations and current costs?
  • what is the best cost model for your organisation?
  • what additional features do you envisage using?
  • what environmental credentials have you considered?
  • have you discussed requirements with other departments such as IT/finance?
  • do you need to conduct trials and further testing of products?
  • have you considered any software requirements?
  • do you have an exit strategy in mind?

Good practice check list

  • devote sufficient time to manage the mini competition process effectively and allow suppliers adequate time to respond
  • provide accurate product information such as locations, usage, product types to assist suppliers in providing a meaningful response
  • draft mini competition documentation clearly and precisely to enable suppliers to put forward their best offer without significant clarifications being necessary
  • use only the framework terms and conditions. You may only refine and supplement the framework terms e.g. delivery, location, and quantities
  • ensure your evaluation criteria and weightings are clearly detailed
  • consult colleagues in your respective procurement areas for advice and guidance (and legal advisers if necessary)
  • ensure you have an exit strategy
  • treat all suppliers fairly and transparently
  • use the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) or PCS-Tender Portals to issue your mini competition and receive responses
  • keep it simple and auditable
  • ensure you are able to compare suppliers equitably from their mini competition submissions against your criteria
  • agree a single point of contact for your organisation
  • if using staff ID cards, ensure all supplier personnel are issued with them prior to any installations
  • ensure that any “proof of concept” sites are fully trialled and any lessons learned are actioned before sign off
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