11 August 2006 | Paul Snell
The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) has launched a scheme for schools and colleges to buy IT equipment and services.
The ICT Infrastructure Services Procurement Framework lists 16 suppliers of system design, hardware, software, training, implementation and support services. The framework allows educational institutions to use these suppliers without having to advertise contracts themselves.
A spokesman for Becta told supplymanagement.com he expected the deal to save "tens of millions of pounds", although he couldn't give a specific figure. Savings will come from the reduced cost of system designs and equipment through large orders. Savings will also be made through suppliers helping schools to run the systems efficiently, rather than schools doing it on their own. This is estimated at 60 per cent of the total costs of running IT systems in schools.
Suppliers will have to ensure their new equipment is compatible with existing systems. Becta will also monitor their performance.A report by Becta into the value for money schools get from licensing Microsoft education software (Web News, 11 January), has been delayed until next month.