Schools support government to achieve £1bn savings


Schools are using their newly found freedom to adopt cost saving procurement practices, recent research has revealed.

The finding of the 2012 survey of 630 schools conducted in August of this year by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) was that schools are using a range of procurement practices including 47 per cent of primary schools that are taking advantage of economies of scale by working with other schools to buy ICT in clusters.

The findings revealed on average 84 per cent of schools are now purchasing from low cost web providers and always or sometimes use non-branded products (52 per cent primary, 71 per cent secondary).

The research indicates that schools are moving towards achieving cost savings including always or sometimes searching for and reacting to special offers (86 per cent of primary, 83 per cent of secondary schools), selecting their own brand of products (68 per cent of primary, 75 per cent of secondary schools) and moving purchasing away from local authority (85 per cent of primary, 80 per cent of secondary schools).

The cost savings have been led by the government’s Spending Review which aims to achieve savings in schools of at least £1.0 billion.
Caroline Wright, from BESA said: “It is heartening to know that schools are looking to support the government’s spending review by cutting costs without having to reduce the amount of products and resources purchased. However, as the sector’s trade association, our word of warning to schools is to always consider the total cost of ownership of all products, taking into account the product’s quality, warranty and fit for purpose.”

The findings revealed little notable differences between procurement practice in academy and non-academy schools apart from the unsurprising finding that more academies are always or sometimes moving away from local authority procurement (91 per cent primary academies, 87 per cent secondary academies compared with 86 per cent of primary non-academies and 73 per cent of non-academy secondary schools).

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