Schools that have saved money on contracts, recovered overpayments from the local authority and bucked conventional wisdom have been recognised at the inaugural Education Procurement Excellence Awards.
The award for Best overall results in procurement went to Prince’s Mead Preparatory School which - in collaboration with other schools in the area; Winchester College, St Swithun’s School, Pilgrim’s School and Twyford School – was successful at claiming £155,000 back from Winchester City Council having overpaid for waste disposal services over six years.
The school’s bursar Richard White said: “It has been a real triumph for collaborative working as we were able to make significant savings by working with other schools in the area to recoup money that we would have otherwise lost. Certainly I would not have succeeded if I had tried to work alone.”
The prize for Best OJEU procurement went to Copleston High School which managed to minimise its reprographics bill through a competitive tender.
Thirteen schools in Oxfordshire were recognised in the Best collaborative procurement category, for their decision to refuse a deal for payroll, HR admin and finance software offered by Hampshire County Council. Instead they saved more than £24,000 collectively by using an independent firm to go to the marketplace.
Judges of the awards included Jack Salter, head of commercial policy at the Department for Education, Caroline Wright, director of the British Educational Suppliers Association, and Noel Erskine, director of consultancy The Bursars’ Office.
Founder of the awards and managing director of Minerva Procurement Lorraine Ashover said: “What we have seen is a celebration of the huge financial benefits that schools can tap into by professionalising their procurement activities. We’ve heard how the use of well drafted specification documents has achieved significant savings with OJEU procurements, how collaborating with others allows a sharing of best practice as well as achieving significant cost savings.”
Full list of winners
Best OJEU procurement
Copleston High School
Highly Commended: Dunraven School
Best collaborative procurement (5+ schools)
Oxfordshire Academies Payroll Project
Highly Commended: Ringmer Community College
Best collaboration (independent and maintained school)
Park House – St Gabriel’s Learning Partnership
Highly Commended: Prince’s Mead Preparatory School
School supplier of the year
Pelican Procurement Services
Highly Commended: UK Energy Partners and Palatine Primary School
Best overall results in procurement
Prince’s Mead Preparatory School and surrounding schools
Highly Commended: UK Energy Partners and Palatine Primary School and Ditcham Park School