As part of the day to day operational life of a school or academy trust, it will enter into a wide range of commercial agreements with third parties suppliers and contractors. The pressure is on to make savings across the sector and schools and academy trusts are increasingly looking to work together to generate efficiencies in their contracts and spend profiles.
It’s not a straightforward area, so expert help and guidance can be invaluable for newly converted academies and for multi academy trusts with higher cumulative totals on their contract spend.
Complex rules - The European public procurement regime applies to schools and academy trusts in the same way as it applies to local authorities and is a fast moving and sometimes complex area. There are strict rules about the mechanisms to select contractors through transparent and fair procedures. New rules are almost agreed at an EU level to take effect in 2014 and which all schools and academy trusts will need to understand.
Potential liabilities - Bidders dissatisfied with the procurement processes have rights of redress including unlimited fines and damages claims. Shared service school companies also need to comply with the rules.
Our nationally recognised public procurement team is made up of experts in this field and has enormous experience in all aspects of EU public procurement. We offer cost effective, commercial and risk assessed advice on the rules and case law to help schools and academies to achieve their objectives.
Drafting procurement policies and guidance for trusts
Standardised procurement documents
Setting up and running framework agreements
E-auctions, Dynamic Purchasing Systems and e-sourcing
Procurement challenges and complaints about processes
Advising on the various structures for collaboration which can be put in place
Training on procurement rules and the forthcoming new directives
A particular area of activity for academies is in using existing frameworks to call off contracts, including through central purchasing bodies and LEA arrangements. We can help with strategic and commercial issues, and practical help with day to day operation of these arrangements. We also have specialist expertise in the creation of shared service procurement companies to undertake purchasing for groups of schools, chains and multi academy trusts.
Technically impressive and good at providing practical advice in plain English.