What the Academies Bill could mean for procurement

CIPS 30 June 2010

The proposed Academies Bill from the new coalition government will give schools the opportunity to become academies and in turn more flexible in their approach, but what does this mean for smart procurement practice?

The new Academies Bill announced by the Queen recently aims to give parents a choice of better-quality schooling and to drive up standards, away from local authority control. The Bill will speed up the academy application process and give all schools whether primary, secondary or special schools, the opportunity to become academies and to create an educational framework they feel would better fit the needs of their local population.

Total spending on schools is approximately £46.5 billion a year and in a rush to gain independence, these new academies may lose the opportunity to procure smartly and collaboratively. This is especially important given this age of austerity, where public money needs to be spent wisely. Academies could be out of the loop with the wider schools network and miss out on economies of scale and procurement expertise.

Smart procurement is not just about driving down costs, it's about securing quality and setting benchmarks for the best possible solutions and the best quality equipment within budget constraints.

Teachers are not procurement specialists. Having a centralised procurement strategy or putting skilled procurement professionals in place will mean money is spent wisely.

David Noble

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