The submission deadline for suppliers wishing to appear on the new Network Services Framework has been extended for the second time.
In November, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) extended the submission date by one week until the 11th of December, claiming potential providers required more time to compile applications.
It is believed the current extension until the New Year is to allow CCS to answer clarification questions from suppliers about the framework.
The number of questions received despite the workshops help in October is possibly responsible for the delays.
A second clarification period is now in progress and is due to end tomorrow, while the 19th December is the deadline for the publication of responses to tender clarification questions.
The new deadline for the submission of tender is the 9th of January 2015 and CCS intends to issue award notifications and let unsuccessful suppliers aware of the situation by 20th March 2015.
The 31st March is the planned date for appointment of suppliers to the framework agreement and in April 2015, it is expected that the framework will commence.
PSNGB, the organisation that represents suppliers on the current PSN framework that Network Services will replace, previously welcomed the first submission deadline extension.
“The challenge of pushing boundaries with procurement is that the inclusion of new ways of evaluating, increasing the spread to wider supplier base, inclusion of a new type of customer plus the growing diversity and integration of solutions means that an extraordinary number of questions and clarifications are raised,” claimed PSNGB Director Neil Mellor.
“The current procurement law protects, but also obstructs the smooth flow of information between the procurement body and potential suppliers meaning that bottlenecks are caused. This seems to be the case with the Network Services Framework,” he added.