Contract Types - definitions

The main definitions are provided here for supply, services, works contracts and framework agreements.

A public contract means contracts for pecuniary interest concluded in writing between one or more economic operators and one more contracting authorities and having as their object the execution of works, the supply of products or the provision of services.

A public supply contract means public contracts which have as their object the purchase, lease, rental or hire-purchase, with or without an option to buy, of products, whether or not the contract also includes, as an incidental matter, siting and installation operations.

A public services contract means public contracts which have as their object the provision of services other than those referred to in the definition of ‘public works contracts’.

There is a category of services entitled ‘Social & other Specific Services’ to which a higher contract value threshold is applied before The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 apply.  The services that fall into this category are listed in Schedule 3 of The Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

A public works contract means public contracts which have as their object any of the following:

  1. The execution, or both the design and execution of works related to one of the activities listed in Schedule 2 The Public Contracts Regulations 2015.
  2. The execution, or both the design and execution of a work;
  3. The realisation, by whatever means, of a work corresponding to the requirements specified by the contracting authority exercising a decisive influence on the type or design of the work.

A work means the outcome of building or civil engineering works taken as a whole which is sufficient in itself to fulfil an economic or technical function; but ‘works’ is to be interpreted in accordance with paragraph (2).

A framework agreement means an agreement between one or more contracting authorities and one or more economic operators, the purpose of which is to establish the terms governing contracts to be awarded during a given period, in particular with regard to price and, where appropriate, the quantity envisaged.

A service or works concession contract is a contract by means of which one or more contracting authorities entrust the provision and the management of services or works to one or more economic operators, the consideration of which consists either solely in the right to exploit the services or the works that are the subject of the contract or in that right together with payment; and

  1. the award of the contract involves the transfer to the concessionaire of an operating risk in exploiting the works or services encompassing demand or supply risk or both; and
  2. the part of the risk transferred to the concessionaire shall involve real exposure to the vagaries of the market, such that any potential estimated loss incurred by the concessionaire shall not be merely nominal or negligible.

The concessionaire shall be deemed to assume operating risk where, under normal operating conditions, it is not guaranteed to recoup the investments made or the costs incurred in operating the works or the services which are the subject-matter of the concession contract.

Contracts that meet the definitions of a service or work concession contract are excluded from The Public Contracts Regulations 2016, but from 18 April 2016, are subject to the Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016.