26 May 2022

One stop shop for domestic furniture and furnishings is helping Scotland's communities

Circular economy and opportunities for SMEs are also at the heart of DFF framework


The welfare system is an important public service and is in place to support people at times when they need it most.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a key part of this. It allocates money to all 32 Scottish councils to support residents who need help with costs associated with living in their homes.

One of the ways Scottish councils offer support to local people through the Scottish Welfare Fund, is by directly providing home items like furniture and furnishings.

Several years ago, Scottish councils asked Scotland Excel to support this, by introducing a domestic furniture and furnishings framework which could be used to source a range of items effectively and efficiently from suppliers.

The framework is now in its third generation and not only supports housing providers in Scotland’s local authorities, but also supports housing associations and other social landlords to deliver essential crisis support services.

It enables them to provide furniture and furnishings quickly and efficiently to people facing crisis or who need support to set up a home, by sourcing from framework suppliers which have been through the tender process and are ready to do business.

In additional to supporting councils, Scotland Excel is also keen to bring opportunities for Scotland’s reuse furniture market through the framework, as well as open up opportunities for small to medium enterprises. 

How does it work

The framework contains a range of furniture and furnishing items, so it is a one-stop shop where housing providers, can do the virtual equivalent of walking round a huge furniture, adding items ranging from electrical goods, carpets, beds, curtains, cupboards, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery etc.

Increasingly, now ‘the shopping list’ offers the choice of brand new or quality reused goods – a positive step for Scotland’s environment and for the reuse market.

The choice for new or reuse goods is up to the local councils although Barry says the reused goods must pass stringent tests to ensure they are clean, fit for purpose and safe to use.

Barry Phillips, Category Analyst, Strategic Procurement – Refurbishment and Maintenance at Scotland Excel said: “Sometimes individuals or families can face periods in their lives where they are extremely vulnerable and need help to get their lives back on track.

“The domestic furniture and furnishings framework was introduced to underpin the support that councils and housing associations give to their local residents, by easy access to suppliers who can quickly get household items out to communities.

“The second-generation framework saw £1m on reuse goods. This time where we are about to notch up our first year of the third-generation framework, I am confident that we will match this spend and more.”

Opportunities for SMEs

This latest, third generation of the framework has been specifically structured to encourage third sector organisations and SMEs within the reuse market to competitively tender.  To align with the reuse market, the lot was split into four product categories: flooring, hard furnishings, soft furnishings and white goods

Circular Communities Scotland

Circular Communities Scotland is the main supplier responsible for reuse goods and Michael Cook, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We are delighted that our award-winning Reuse Consortium continues to go from strength to strength.  Trading was up nearly 70% on the previous year which is testament to the hard work of our members and the cooperative approach that the consortium showcases. 

“At Circular Communities Scotland we are passionate about seeing a circular economy in Scotland.  We know this benefits the planet by combating climate change and reducing waste.  It also helps people too by tackling social inequality, creating jobs and helping those in most need. 

“With the current cost of living crisis putting further pressure on households we expect to see the Consortium continue to grow in the year ahead and would love to hear from more partners interested in delivering a more circular future.”

Reuse goods - facts and figures

  • Spend to date: £507,846.04 worth of items supplied between 1st February 2021 and 3rd February 2022
  • of items sold 5,127 items sold between the above dates
  • Figures on weight diverted from landfill. 222,149 kg of items diverted from landfill, equivalent to 589 tonnes of CO2 emissions saved


Now in its third generation, the framework has proved successful in helping councils to support people in need. The first generation of the framework saw a total spend of £46m, while second generation had a spend of £88m.

Additionally the framework has delivered economic benefits as all seven suppliers awarded to the third generation are SME, with one of the suppliers (the CCS consortium) consisting of social enterprises.

After only one year of the third generation Scotland Excel is confident we are well on track to supersede the £1m on reuse from the second generation.