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CCS to launch largest public sector water framework agreement in the UK

From 1 April, most business and public sector organisations will be able to choose which company supplies their water. Crown Commercial Service is bringing the largest public sector water framework agreement to the UK market. Working alongside five other major buying organisations, the agreement is the first of its kind. Sam Ulyatt, strategic category commercial director for Crown Commercial Service, talks about the new framework, and what it could mean for the public sector.

The opening up of the water market will create a unique opportunity for efficiency and collaboration.

Crown Commercial Service is joining forces with YPO, The Energy Consortium, ESPO, NEPO, West Mercia Energy and the MoD to bring to market the largest public sector water agreement in the UK.

There are opportunities for organisations who want to get better value for money for the water they use, who want to lower their bills and tailor the service they receive to fit with their own circumstances.

The water retail market is changing. From April, water wholesalers will sell the physical supply of water and the removal of wastewater to licensed retailers. These retailers can package these services with other offers like maintenance or consolidated billing and sell them to the 1.2 million eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations who will be able to choose their supplier.

We’ve been doing a lot of work to understand the market in advance of the change. The collaborative group, called the Water Strategy Group, participated in supplier and industry engagement sessions to understand what the market will come to look like.

We conducted a customer survey which attracted almost 200 responses from potential customers including local authorities, universities, schools, NHS trusts, central government departments, fire service, police and museums.

An incredible 99% of respondents said that, should a framework agreement become available, they would use it. Their top five quality criteria were obtaining the best price, accurate billing and less estimated readings, compliance with procurement rules, supply resilience and the quality of the customer service provided.

After an in-depth supply chain analysis, the Water Strategy Group developed a business case, sourcing strategy and full procurement suite.

The multi-supplier framework will be live and available for the opening of the market in April, running for three years with the option to extend by a further 12 months. 

Public sector customers will be able to choose who provides key supply, sewerage and ancillary services in a way that is tailored to their own unique circumstances. They will also see improved customer service and data collection reflecting their needs and priorities.

So councils with multiple leisure centres who need an enhanced focus on water efficiency can access services that enable them to get an overview of their water footprint, leak detection and repair and benchmarking.

Crown Commercial Service will be carrying out an e-auction on behalf of interested customers in May 2017.


To find out more about the new public sector water framework:

Full information regarding the water market opening can be found at:


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