Barely a publication goes by these days without an article covering procurement in some way, shape or form. The reason for this is clear: getting more ‘bang for your buck’ has never been more vital. Budget cuts, coupled with the constantly mentioned increases in National Insurance and Teachers’ Pensions Scheme contributions, means that you are required to eke out even the smallest savings from the procurement of your goods and services. So to help you here are our ‘Top Three’ ways we think you can make some improvements.
Collaboration gets mentioned on an almost daily basis when it comes to schools and here at Minerva we have declared 2016 the “Year of Collaboration”. When it comes to the purchasing of goods and services, joining together has huge benefits including:
N.B. If you do collaborate don’t forget that the OJEU threshold has been lowered to £164,176 and that the Public Contracts Regulations were updated last year.
The days of assuming that you are getting best value for money from long standing suppliers are long gone. Many schools have some great relationships and it’s a difficult conversation to have when you advise them you’re going out to tender for the products or services they provide to you. However, even the best long term relationships can result in the supplier being complacent and now is not the time to shy away from those difficult conversations.
There are some fantastic resources out there to help you improve your procurement knowledge. The Department for Education has just updated the advice and guidance on their website. There are a number of useful templates on there to save you reinventing the wheel! You can also access 12 training modules from the same link. Also, in late 2015 NASBM launched their Professional Standards for School Business Managers and procurement is one of the competencies, see here. You can use their self-assessment tool to get an understanding of your present level as well as ideas on how to improve.
Good luck, the savings are there, go eke them out!
Lorraine Ashover is Director of Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services who provide procurement services exclusively for schools. More information can be found at www.minervapcs.com
This blogpost was written as a guest article for the education newsletter of Sylo Associates