How to use our services

Please see below for details on the next steps in using our services. Or you can get in touch with our Procurement Team on 0208 036 0004.

Next steps

Here’s what we’ll need from you:

  • Completed project checklist with your requirements including timescales i.e. contract start date
  • Confirmation as to whether you’d like us to draft the contract for you (Please note SEC charge £50 plus VAT per JCT contract we draft).  A copy of the draft contract will be issued with the tender documents.  Please provide any amendments / inclusions for your contract
  • Your specification & cost model (if you need advice on this, let us know )
  • A comprehensive property or asset list, if applicable
  • Any other documents you want included with the tender pack
  • A signed framework authorising agreement.  This will allow you to use our OJEU compliant framework. You’ll need to sign a framework authorising agreement the first time you use a framework. The agreement will be sent once you’ve confirmed you want to proceed
  • Once the tender documents have been issued we will ask you for potential dates for the written evaluation.  You and your project team will need to evaluate the written responses. SEC doesn’t evaluate the written responses but can facilitate the session if required

What we’ll do for you:

  • Provide a project timetable if required
  • Send out an expression of interest to the framework contractors
  • Draft the tender documents.  Once finalised, we’ll issue the tender documents on our chosen tendering portal
  • Any questions raised during the tender period will be sent to you for a response.  We will then send clarifications to the tenderers
  • Once the tender deadline has passed we’ll download the submissions and carry out the financial evaluation
  • We’ll facilitate the quality evaluation process if required
  • We collate all scores and send a tender report for your approval
  • Once you’ve approved the results we’ll send out the award decision letters
  • We’ll arrange for the contract (if SEC draft it) to be finalised and issued for signing.


If you are procurement ready you can fill out our checklist. This will give us the information needed to progress your tender requirements with the Service Provider(s). Please complete the relevant checklist and e-mail to

  1. Mini Tender Checklist
  2. Direct Award Checklist
  3. Bespoke Procurement Checklist


Who can use our frameworks?

SEC Frameworks may be accessed by all publicly funded organisations – access is not limited to SEC Members alone.

Full details can be found here.

How do I use the framework?

There are two ways to use a SEC framework; mini-competition or direct award.

Direct award: We approach the number one ranked Service Provider on your behalf, advising of your requirements.  If they’re interested in the project we’ll arrange for them to meet with you and discuss the opportunity further.  If they decline the opportunity we’d approach the second ranked Service Provider and so on (cascade method).  Once you are happy to proceed we’d finalise the direct award with the Service Provider

Mini tender: We approach the framework contractors giving them an overview of your requirements. Those who are interested will be sent to the final set of tender documents. We’ll manage the process on your behalf and formalise the award once complete.

How do I decide whether to use the mini-competition or direct award?

Direct award: Your requirement should be in accordance with the scope of the framework. Any pricing agreed should link to the framework. SEC will validate the pricing. A direct award will take approximately 3-4 weeks depending on your internal approval processes. The cost / quality split will be as per the framework. The framework pricing will act as a ceiling rate. We can share the framework pricing with you, for information, prior to you meeting with the Service Provider.

Mini tender: This enables you to use your own specification and cost model. You can also choose your own cost / quality split and quality questions. All pricing submitted must be linked to the framework. The tender process takes approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on your internal approval processes. If there is a quality element you will need to factor in extra time for the evaluations.

What can you do to help me gain approval to use your framework?

We can provide relevant framework information to support your request to use the framework, i.e. Framework tender report / OJEU documents.

For a mini competition do I need to invite all the Service Providers or can I choose?

We need to approach all of the framework Service Providers for the award to be OJEU compliant. We can issue an expression of interest to the Service Providers to see who is interested. Those who say yes will be sent the tender documents.

Can I add another Service Provider to the tender list?

No, if you are using the framework you aren’t able to add a Service Provider to the list. We do offer a bespoke tendering route which would enable contractors outside of the framework to bid for your opportunity. We can discuss this option with you.

Can I direct award outside of the number one ranked Service Provider?

If the framework is ranked you are able to direct award outside of number one, for example appointing the fourth ranked Service Provider. We’ll ask you to provide valid justification for wanting to do this. We’ll then approach the Service Providers ahead of your chosen Service Provider advising of the justification reasons. The Service Providers will then advise if they are happy to step aside.  If they all agree we can then proceed to direct appoint your chosen Service Provider. If they decline the opportunity we may have to consider a mini competition.

Can I see the framework specification and pricing document?

We’ll be happy to share average rates from our framework, this will give you an idea of the detail in our cost model and rates the framework could achieve for you. We’ll be able to assist in shaping your specification and cost model as the procurement project progresses, if applicable.

Are the frameworks free to access?

Most of our frameworks are free to access apart from New Build, Legal Services and Electronic Payment Services. These three frameworks have an access fee.  Please ask us for further details.

Can I use the framework if Section 20 applies?

You can use the framework if Section 20 applies. Please see the guidance below and contact us if you need further advice.

Section 20 Advice

What form of contract I can use?

Our framework agreement outlines the range of contracts you are able to use. They are JCT / TPC / NEC or any bespoke contract of your choosing.

Can I issue the mini tender through our own tendering portal?

Ideally SEC would like to issue the tender documents to ensure consistency with our framework Service Providers.

If necessary you are able to issue the documents yourselves but SEC will need to see the tender documents prior to issue. We need to ensure the documents make reference to the relevant SEC framework and the levy.  We’d send an expression of interest to the framework Service Providers to let them know of the opportunity and the tendering portal you will be using.