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Framework Agreement for Technical Support

Contract ID: RM3761

Start Date: 07/10/2013

End Date: 03/04/2017


The Framework Agreement for Technical Support (FATS) has been developed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and provides central government departments a route to market for technical support.

There are two singe lot agreements that fall under the FATS banner:

  1. Framework Agreement for Technical Support - Design and Engineering (FATS D&E) which began on 14/04/2015 and will expire on 03/04/2017
  2. Framework Agreement for Technical Support - Specialist Technical Support (FATS STS) which began on 07/10/2013 and will expire on 03/04/2017

These frameworks are multi-participant agreements with a supplier base representing a wide array of technical capabilities. Each member’s submitted areas of expertise are listed in a Market Knowledge Matrix (MKM) to identify possible competition. Technical support can be defined as:

  • Technical Studies – Research based activity including studies, prototyping and technical demonstrators.
  • Technical Project Support – Project based activities provided into the Operating Centres where there is a capability gap, including, manufacturing concepts, assessment, development,  in-service, disposals, independent safety activities, independent security activities, reliability modelling.
  • Technical Engineering Support - Task based support including Post Design Support (PDS), calibration, analysis testing and integration.

The FATS D&E framework offers a contracting route for general technical support, whereas the FATS STS framework offers a contracting route for ‘Duty of Care’ areas, such as safety. 

To use FATS, customers should consult the FATS D&E or FATS STS Taxonomies. They should then email a list of Narrow Capability Areas (NCAs), which are relevant to their task, to defcomrclcc-techspt1a[at]mod[dot]uk (Please note that the list of NCAs should relate to FATS D&E or FATS STS but not cover both frameworks). The FATS team will then run a Market Knowledge Matrix search for you and email you back a tender field.


  • A fast and efficient route to market for the MoD and other government departments (OGDs).
  • Task price based on a robust set of ‘Key Deliverables’ – focuses customer in to defining requirement fully.
  • Opens up the market and encourages competition.
  • Builds on the recognised brand associated with ‘Technical Support’.
  • Introduces more generic terms in order to ease OGD use.
  • Mandated ISO accreditation gives all suppliers more credibility with customer.


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The FATS D&E and FATS STS Customer Guidance in the documents tab provides a step-by-step guide on how to access and use the agreements. 

Anyone wishing to use FATS should be aware that competition is the default and any request to use FATS is subject to an approval process conducted by the FATS Gates and Governance team.


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  • It has been estimated by the team that savings of 8% have been achieved. However, when reviewed by the Cabinet Office these savings were estimated to be nearer 20%. Before FATS, technical support requirements were disaggregated and tended to be placed with a small group of contractors. FATS is designed to open up the marketplace and establish that competition is possible for the vast majority of requirements. FATS is a one-stop-shop for technical support needs and is a quick route to market.
  • The 8% saving was based on prices paid with key suppliers for similar tasks prior to commencement of the original framework and then what was paid under the framework for similar tasks less 2%. 
  • The default is that all tasks are placed following mini-competition and therefore the market finds its own level.  When tasks are placed on a ‘sole-source’ basis these have to be to pre-agreed man hour rates or lower. These rates do not apply in competition. These rates are generally lower than agreed under the previous iteration of the framework. However, it is believed that testing the market by use of competition is the best way of achieving good value for money.
  • There are no sanctions for existing suppliers, as we believe the market finds its own level.  However, when setting up the framework a formula was set up whereby tenderers had to submit rates that were within the median + 65% for STS and + 50% for D&E of submitted rates for any given Broad Capability Area.


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Before FATS, technical support requirements were disaggregated and tended to be placed with a small group of contractors, using a variety of contracting routes.

FATS was generated to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for all technical support requirements.

FATS is based around capability areas, in effect skill areas, which form a taxonomy.  This is reviewed with each iteration of FATS in order to reflect future requirements.

Suppliers tender at framework level for these capability areas which form the taxonomy.  Once the framework has been awarded customers use FATS by selecting which capability areas are applicable and this creates a pool of potential suppliers. 

Placing a framework saves customers time as opposed to placing individual contracts but also provides the opportunity for tasks to be competed to ensure value for money.

Maximum rates have been agreed with the supplier base, but competition should allow them to find their own level.

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Lot details

Lot Number Lot Name Lot Category Number of Suppliers Contract Expiry
All Lots Framework Agreement for Technical Support Professional Services 1 - click here to view suppliers 03/04/2017

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Framework Manager Contact Details

David Pyle

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