Mar 06, 2006
@UK PLC has been selected as the preferred provider of a system to make the purchasing of goods and services by all schools within nine boroughs of the Greater Manchester Association more cost-effective and easy to carry out. The authorities of Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport and Tameside have together set up a dedicated team to manage the electronically-based schools purchasing information service (e-spi).
It is intended that @UK will provide a mechanism for secure procurement of goods and services from both agreed commercial and local authority providers.
The e-spi Manager, Fiona Orr explained:
“Schools are our primary customers. We recognise that often they are faced with pressure to manage finances within tight budgetary constraints. The aim of the project is to achieve a vibrant and robust school market place which supports the efficient and effective management of school resources and this encapsulates what we are aiming to create for our schools. We envisage that this will take the form of a dedicated website which schools can use to help them buy both goods and services from a wide range of suppliers with confidence”.
“The website will be easy to use and will not only contain information on suppliers, but will also include useful links for schools to other informative sites on procurement and other Best Value issues, together with links to the DfES, Teachernet and other Government sites. Furthermore, purchases made via the website, once approved, will automatically be recorded in the relevant school’s Financial Management Information system to save time for school staff. All that schools are required to do is ‘click and order’, just like many people are now used to doing at home when they shop on-line from companies such as Amazon or Tesco.com”.
@UK Marketing Director Dudley George said:
“We are delighted to have the chance to work with the e-spi project. They have had a very clear vision from our first meeting. As soon as we have all the necessary legal contracts in place we will be meeting to decide the exact specification of the e-spi approach. I am confident, however that many local Authorities throughout the UK will immediately identify the benefits of a similar strategy”.
Pictured in photo from left to right; Ian Taylor, Director of the Centre for Procurement Performance DfES, meets with Fiona Orr, Nadine Carey-Whitehead and Liz Oliver from the e-spi project in Greater Manchester and Dudley George, Marketing Director of @UK PLC, at the Education Show 2006.