The DfES Centre for Procurement Performance (CPP) has published number of guides on the issues of implementation of e-procurement in schools, in conjunction with the Department of Communities and Local Government. These guides raise many important issues from the point of view of suppliers, individual schools, and of Local Authorities(LAs) implementing a marketplace for their schools. There is also a separate publication on the topic of collaboration, where e.g. a number of LAs may be working together to achieve one set of contracts on key lines and making these accessible to all their schools through a single shared marketplace. Through an appropriately structured e-marketplace for schools, local authorities may therefore show national contracts on products where this is beneficial, using regional arrangements on others, but also local contractors- especially for services such as taxis, grounds maintenance, plumbing etc.
Darron Cox, DfES' Deputy Commercial Director, said "Our task in CPP is to help catalyse a process of ensuring best value wherever possible for schools. This may involve providing encouragement and advice to get local and regional suppliers onboard where these are the best solution. Likewise in the case of some major sourcing categories, contracts negotiated by Central or Local Government may well be more appropriate. Local Authorities need to consider the requirement placed upon all their schools to achieve efficiency savings in procurement. E-procurement is a leading strategy to allow this to happen."
Dudley George, Marketing Director of @UK PLC said "Through our national supplier network we are already achieving real-life examples of several different approaches. The collaborative approach of developing joint supplier arrangements appropriate for schools in one area is being followed, for example, by a number of authorities in the Greater Manchester area. In other parts of the country single authorities such as Durham and Ealing are making their central contracts available to their schools. As well as these strategies, our Request for Price (RFP) facility present on all the marketplaces we provide is very useful to detail service needs to a number of prospective suppliers and to select the best value proposal. Authorities such as Gloucester County Council are already seeing real benefits from this approach. What is important to remember is that there are gains for buyers and sellers from e-Procurement. Paperwork can be eliminated, orders are received faster and more accurately, minimising "returns" and all the costs and disruption that creates. It's important that everyone in the school supply chain looks to see how this new technology can be used to mutual advantage. Hopefully these guides for schools, suppliers and the local authorities can be a real stimulus to that. We encourage everyone to read them".
Download the guides mentioned above:Guide for LEAs
(PDF, 792Kb)Guide for suppliers
(PDF, 792Kb)Guide for schools
(PDF, 792Kb)Guide to collaboration.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org@ukplc.net