Schools buying service set to be launched by DfE

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
12 February 2021

Education chiefs are planning to launch a buying service for schools in England covering goods and services.

The Get Help Buying for Schools service would provide support around sourcing, identification of suitable frameworks and deals, and aggregation opportunities.

The Department for Education (DfE) said: “The Get Help Buying for Schools service is designed to ensure that buyers and other buying decision-makers in schools have access to specialist support, relationships, information and tools to buy goods and services efficiently delivering value for money.”

In 2017 the DfE published the first Schools Buying Strategy, which aimed to support schools to save more than £1bn a year by 2019-20. As part of this two buying hubs were set up in the northwest and southwest of England as pilot schemes.

The DfE is now consulting on its chosen model of an in-house national service offering online resources and digital products.

“Through user-led research we identified that the ability to plan a procurement and create a specification creates the greatest value for the user as they enable a school to carry out the initial stages of the procurement process effectively,” said the DfE. 

“Our vision of the service beyond launch will be to develop further digital capability to enable schools to self-serve through the whole buying journey digitally. From launch, schools can access further support from procurement specialists when needed, who can offer further advice and guidance as well as conducting a procurement on behalf of the school from source to contract award.”

The service, which will not include contract management, will be available to all state-funded primary, secondary, special and alternative provision schools, and maintained nursery schools.

A consultation runs until 11 March 2021.

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