Our framework agreement lets health and social care organisations in the UK to buy medical and healthcare knowledge resources.

You can use it to buy:

  • print and electronic books and journals
  • databases, including:
    • abstracting and indexing or bibliographic databases
    • full text databases
    • electronic reference works
    • online anatomy resources
  • evidence summaries that provide comprehensive evidence and knowledge.

Knowledge resources are available from a range of health and social care subject areas.

Knowledge resources purchased through the framework are subject to normal public sector procurement rules and your local standing financial institutions.

Benefits of using the framework

  • Simplified procurement process offers a compliant route to market for buyers.
  • Faster and easier than a full tender process.
  • No negotiations on terms required - pre-agreed terms for standard public sector clauses and NHS specific licensing terms for best value.
  • Speeds up purchasing.
  • Easy to use and understand.
  • Variety of provider types.

How to buy knowledge resources

  1. Check the list of eligible organisations to make sure you can use the framework.
  2. Get advice from your procurement team before using this framework.
  3. Draft and agree any requirements. Get any internal approval to purchase.
  4. You can access this framework by direct award or further competition.
    For both purchasing routes, buyers will enter a call off agreement with the provider. This gives buyers access to the services of the framework. There is not a minimum spend.

    The agreement is made up of:

Direct award

Call offs under direct award can only be completed when:

  • The required knowledge resource and any associated service is provided by a single supplier. Lot 1: Sole Supplier is provided for this purpose.
  • The buyer has checked the current list of sole supplied titles. Only those titles or collections listed may be purchased under Lot 1: Sole Supplier of this framework.

Only distinct journal and book collections can be purchased from Lot 1.

View the purchasing steps: direct awards.

Further competition

You should award on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender. Providers must be given the methodology used to assess tenders, including the evaluation criteria and weightings applied. You can use your own evaluation criteria but may want to base these on the core service requirements agreed for agents or non-agents  as well as price.

Further competition for Lot 2: Print Books, Lot 3: Electronic Books and Lot 4: Print and Electronic Journals can be within one of these Lots or across two or more of these Lots. Further competition can be for either:

  • each purchase between the capable providers
  • to select one provider in a Lot for a set period of time. During this period buyers can make call offs from the provider without any further competition required.

For Lot 5: Databases and Evidence Summaries, only a further competition for each purchase can take place between the capable providers.

View the purchasing steps: further competition.

Providers, products and services

There are 18 providers appointed to the framework. Providers on this framework meet the core service requirements set out in the Agent Agreement or HSCC Licence.

They are either:

  • agents - intermediaries such as booksellers and subscription agents
  • non-agents - providers who own, or are licensed to provide access to, the intellectual property of the resources.

For further help with the Framework

You can email us at nice@nice.org.uk.


The framework is provided by NICE on behalf of Health Education England.

Framework details

Agreement code and contract number: NICEFAHEE/2125

Start date: 1 June 2021

End date: 31 May 2024

Lots: 5

Suppliers: 18

Framework documents

Health and social care content (HSCC) licence agreement (Word)

Call off order form (Word)

Call off terms and conditions (Word)

Agent agreement (Word)