[Editors note: this post was written by Ayub Khan, Face to Face Services Manager for Warwickshire County Council]
When looking to redesign and remodel a number of libraries, we looked for a more cost effective way to procure design services. With reductions in staff capacity and with limited resources, Warwickshire, like other authorities, were finding procurement processes ever more challenging and time consuming. We looked to see if anything already existed that might help, but found nothing to meet our needs.
Rising to the challenge, we embarked on the development of a refit framework which would provide bespoke design services, refit and after-care and, importantly, a process that would offer real savings in time, money and resource both now and in the future.
Creating a framework
Following a rigorous assessment process, seven leading suppliers were rated for their ability to provide quality assurance and an innovative design service. After 6 months work, contracts were awarded to 3 outstanding suppliers who we felt embraced our aspirations for the service, would provide the very best in innovative use of library space, and who had the needs of the customer at heart.
The resulting framework not only meets our needs, but we know it could provide the ideal solution for other local authorities too. By removing the lengthy and often complex procurement process, calling off from this ‘ready-made’ framework enables library services to get the ball rolling immediately, leaving more time to focus on their requirements and getting on with the exciting design development.
Developed by library, legal and procurement colleagues and fully compliant with EU procurement regulations, the framework user guide helpfully walks through the entire process of calling off from the framework. The cost of accessing the framework is more than covered by the advantageous supplier discounts that we have been able to negotiate.
Three local authorities have already taken advantage of this opportunity and have signed up to the framework, with a fourth finalising arrangements, all in the last couple of weeks.
We feel that the resulting framework provides a service that has the needs of the libraries’ customers at its heart. We’ve done all of the leg work, which means anyone using the framework can get the ball rolling immediately – no lengthy procurement process and more time to focus on the creative side.
For further information on how to start using the framework, the Framework User Guide or Access Agreement, please visit:
A model for future work?
I’m sure that there are a number of other areas where a similar type of framework could work, saving us time and money. If you have an idea, just go with it and let others know.
Please note, this is a guest blog. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of DCMS or the Libraries Taskforce.