Using Purchasing Consortia

Procurement consortia

A procurement consortium is a collective of businesses or organisations that procure jointly in order to maximise their bargaining power and enjoy economies of scale.

Advantages of membership

Becoming a member of a consortium of similar collaborative group can:

  • achieve improved levels of value and service
  • save time and resources, as tendering is done on behalf of all members
  • make available professional support and expertise
  • provide opportunities to share experiences and learn from others
  • reduce timescales
  • reduce risk of non compliance with EU procurement legislation (as compliant procurement is carried out on behalf of all members.)

Into action

Generally speaking an institution should always look to source via a framework if available rather than completing their own tender. The institution should check that the framework covers all of their requirements and that it’s appropriate for the particular exercise.

Below is a list of Consortia that colleges may be able to access.

As a general rule of thumb colleges should look to use consortia in this order

  1. Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC)- owned by the FE sector working specifically for schools, academies and colleges
  2. Crown Commercial Services (CCS) - central government purchasing consortia
  3. Regional Higher Education Consortia (e.g. South Universities Purchasing Consortia etc)
  4. Local Authority Consortia (e.g. ESPO)

There are also a range of construction related consortia frameworks that colleges could access.

These frameworks are all trying to promote collaborative working and best practice ideals.

If there is not an existing consortia agreement or contract in place, consider whether there are other local organisations that you could work with jointly, such as other colleges or universities in your region or your local authority.