Ahead of the new academic year, schools are being urged to take advantage of special deals negotiated by the government that could save them thousands of pounds on their energy, ICT equipment and printers and photocopiers.
All publicly funded schools are free to make use of these pre-existing contracts, and on average they could save up to 10% on energy and over 40% for printers and photocopiers, also known as ‘multi-functional devices’ (MFDs).
The deals are:
All schools use energy and the savings from the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) energy deal are typically 10% compared to the average market rate. The deal is tailored to make it easier for schools to access, and schools can join the deal when their current deal(s) expire. For MATs, this means there is no need to amend all the current deals to expire at the same time before joining. All you need to do to access the deal is complete the transfer forms. CCS continually reviews the energy market, so schools don’t need to worry about whether the deal is still delivering good value.
Andy Burns, the Group Facilities Manager of Grace Academy in the West Midlands, said:
For us, the CCS energy deals represent consistent service, benchmarked savings and solid assurance. This comfort comes from being in a framework with a large buying organisation dedicated to the public sector as a whole. I would wholeheartedly recommend to those charged with managing utility services or facilities in academies that they take a good look at CCS and their energy contracts.
Schools could make savings of over 40% on printers, copiers, scanners or multi-functional devices, with over 3,300 schools already benefiting from this photocopier and printer deal.
The current deal expires on the 31 August, and CCS are working with Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) and YPO on an improved deal to be in place by September/October.
Having identified a product that suited their requirement, Fitzjohn’s Primary School purchased 2 digital machines at 40% less than their previous costs. The £5,000 saving went towards improving student learning, with new art materials and more after-school clubs. The money also supported the school’s kitchen refurbishment.
“This deal delivers big savings and peace of mind - certainly best value. I’ve recommended it to other business managers and they’re seeing great results” said Frank Swan, Business Manager at Fitzjohn’s Primary School.
If you’re buying technology and you want the supplier to install and/or maintain the equipment, the ICT Services for Education framework is available. The deal was put together specifically for schools by the Department for Education and the CCS, with input received directly from schools. Recently, a school made use of this contract and achieved a saving of £100,000 per annum (£500,000 over the 5-year contract) on the previous contract price.
For purchases of ICT hardware items, like computers and laptops, we recommend first looking at CCS and other public sector buying organisation (PSBO) deals. PSBO deals provide preferential pricing, are legally compliant, have pre-agreed terms and conditions, and provide access to support and category expertise.
DfE’s procurement guidance for schools and academies provides advice on how to plan and run an efficient procurement process.
Links to PSBOs: