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Based on discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT), Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and a number of our members we have started to develop a mechanism that will allow us to continually refresh a pool of innovative SMEs that our members can easily access for highways maintenance services and technology solutions covering every region in England.

We initially thought that we might need to implement a series of regionally based frameworks to attract SMEs but since that time our thinking has somewhat developed. Using some of the principles adopted by Blackpool Council in a current procurement exercise which has successfully attracted numerous innovative SMEs we are looking at LCRIG being the legal entity, which of course it now is as a Community Interest Company (CIC), to procure a single framework contract with national coverage.

Of course, the concern with the procurement of a single four year term framework is that innovative suppliers that missed the original opportunity for whatever reason can be locked out for a number of years. Therefore, we are looking at the benefits of using a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) which allows new providers to join the framework at any point in time meaning that new start-ups, or businesses that wish to expand into new markets will not be frozen out of the procurement.

Through such a framework we are able to categorise by type of service, size of potential works packages and geographical location to ensure that niche suppliers and SMEs have maximum opportunity to compete. This will not be an overnight fix but I wanted to share our latest thinking with you at this early stage to give you all an opportunity to contribute. If you have any views or observations about this approach I’d be keen to hear from you. Please email me at Martin.duffy@lcrig.org.uk

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