George Abbot School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status in Burpham, north-east of the town centre of Guildford providing a comprehensive education, for around 2,000 young people, aged 11–18. It is also a Teaching School and a founding member of the GEP Multi Academy Trust.
Having worked with us on a telephony project at her previous school, and having seen the excellent results that delivered, Academy Business Manager Sarah Jones was keen to appoint Minerva to conduct a tender process for George Abbot School too.
The school had a longer term aim to put a more technically advanced telephony solution in place but the IT team had other priorities at the time. Sarah wished to at least ensure the school was getting ‘best value’ for their current calls and lines provision without necessitating any unnecessary ‘technical’ or long term commitment changes to the current infrastructure.
In fact, the service provision was mainly with Virgin Media with some services being provided by BT. This added complexity to the project as any migration away from Virgin Media requires the reinstatement of BT phone lines and technical support would be needed from the winning bidder.
The ‘whole life spend’ of the contract was below the current Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR2015) threshold and so a one-stage ‘invitation only’ Request for Proposal (RFP) tender process was proposed by Minerva.
Tender documentation was written by Minerva which included a Memorandum of Information (MoI) and an RFP Questionnaire and Guidance document. In addition, detailed breakdowns of all calls, lines and associated services were collated and provided to the interested bidders to enable a ‘like for like’ comparison to be submitted.
A detailed Procurement Audit Report was produced for the school which provided Sarah with all the information necessary to make an informed decision. This included, but was not limited to, references from other school clients, financial analysis of the bidding companies, details of their insurance cover and accreditations as well as a detailed cost breakdown.
The two incumbent providers did not directly bid on the opportunity. Virgin Media had already provided ‘renewal pricing’ and BT have a policy not to bid on any ‘calls and lines’ tenders. However, a further two organisations were approached and did provide tender responses.
Having analysed the submissions and compared the costs and service provision to the incumbents the school took the decision to migrate away from Virgin Media and back to BT but via a BT reseller.
The contract mobilisation was extremely complex with technical support required from the company providing the telephone system to the school and from the incoming provider of the calls and lines. The switchover was delayed multiple times due to engineering issues and COVID related problems. However, eventually the migration took place and there were absolutely no technical issues on ‘live day’ as a result.
Importantly, the school now has a service which, even after one-off migration costs, has more than halved their telephony bills for calls and lines delivering savings in excess of £5,000 per annum. An excellent result which the school was delighted with.
Minerva were excellent at keeping us informed and dealing with all the technical issues encountered. I genuinely could not have managed this process at present due to all the Covid additional work I had. Minerva ensured the process was seamless. I cannot thank Lorraine and the team enough.
Sarah Jones, Academy Business Manager