Advice for effective buying for your school

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It’s a sad reality that  a school doesn’t always get the best deal from their suppliers. This guide from the DfE is aimed at giving school leaders, school business managers, bursars, back office staff and governing bodies in maintained schools the tools to help them buy (procure) more effectively. The money schools save on the ‘back office’ services can then be used to drive up standards.

The key points in the guide are:

  • Work with your local authority: they have rules as to what limits you can spend up to and can help you find the best value deals. Most have contracts or frameworks with suppliers that you can use, making the procurement process quicker and easier
  • Use public sector buying organisations such as Pro5, the GPS (Government Procurement Service) and Crescent Purchasing Consortium, which have arrangements with suppliers and can get you a better deal, as well as simplifying the buying process
  • Have a basic knowledge of public procurement
  • Buy green and be sustainable – great ways of saving money and reinforcing the curriculum you are teaching your pupils and students.

There are useful links throughout the guide to further information; and sections of the guide deal with specific areas where schools might get ‘ripped off’, such as ICT provision, photocopiers and broadband.

Walker Morris LLP can also help you get the best deal from your supplier. If you need legal advice, we are on several local authority frameworks as approved legal advisers. We work closely with organisations such as YPO (Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, part of Pro5) and have lots of experience of advising on procuring contracts. See our article How to get the best out of your contracts [add link] for tips on negotiating the best deals with your preferred suppliers.