More on Schools Procurement – thanks for all the comments

Our recent piece about schools procurement and the Panorama programme got some excellent comments from readers – thanks to everyone who contributed.

A number of you pointed out that there are good and safe routes though which schools can buy – the regional collaborative buying organisations (ESPO, YPO, NEPO, CSC) and indeed the Government Procurement Service offer their contracts, goods and services to schools. Indeed, I remember going for a visit to YPO in Wakefield a few years back and being amazed by the huge warehouse and the number of different schools related items actually held in stock by YPO.

Useful guidance produced by the Department of Education was also highlighted – available here. The Department has its fair to say reduced the effort it puts into schools procurement, but the guidance is useful and worth reading for any manager, governor or teacher involved in procurement.

There’s still a bit of an issue when schools get into large scale projects. I gave a bit of assistance to an Academy this summer on a re-development type project. The school is fortunate in having an excellent head and deputy, and governors who include a lawyer and a senior business executive (who all turned out to be really nice people too). But even with that line-up, I was able to add some value in terms of explaining the mysteries of running an EU type procurement process, designing PQQs and ITTs and so on.

That’s not a commercial for my services by the way – rather it provoked thoughts around how procurement people or the profession more generally could help schools and other smaller public bodies who can’t justify their own internal professional resource.  Could CIPS offer an advisory service – free or low priced? Or could the Department of Education commission such a service that schools could take advantage of?

Going back to our poor head teachers who lost their jobs over the technology scams Panorama exposed, it would have been very different if they could have picked up the phone to a “procurement expert” before they signed those contracts... (assuming our expert was switched on enough to recognise a scam of course!)  It’s an idea anyway.

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First Voice

  1. Paul Smith:

    Peter – you are welcome back anytime 😉

    Slight correction it is CBC not CSC

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