The CCS Education Technology framework: What you need to know
6th December, 2018
Earlier this week, the Government's procurement agency Crown Commercial Services (CCS) launched its search for suppliers to bid for places on a new Government-sponsored Education Technology framework.
Commercial Partner Frank Suttie looks at the opportunities ahead for businesses in the sector.
What will the procurement cover?
In November, the CCS confirmed the procurement would be multi-lot – providing opportunities for suppliers to state their case on what they could offer.
- ICT solutions – turnkey technology fit out and/or system management contracts;
- Broadband fibre infrastructure;
- Broadband connectivity services;
- Hardware and peripherals including networking equipment;
- Audio visual – covering whiteboards, screens and audio equipment (but not video conferencing).
Who can participate?
The opportunity will be open to multiple suppliers and is advertised through the Official Journal of the European Union meaning that bids can come from both within and outside of the UK.
If CCS opts to take the framework forward for procurements in the future, there will be further opportunities for suppliers to join the framework as and when refresh procurements are conducted.
CCS has been set up to operate commercially – it receives revenue through the frameworks it manages with a management charge payable by suppliers against contract revenues received by that supplier. Details of how that will operate is set out in the ITT.
Will schools and academies be required to buy through CCS?
The answer is no. Maintained Schools have discretion over spending decisions – delegated to the school leadership team by its Governing Body. Academy Trusts are independent and free to make their spending decisions as they see fit. But in both cases, demonstrating value for money and, where relevant, compliance with public procurement rules must be demonstrated across all spending decisions.
CCS will promote the frameworks as an effective means for an education body to make its procurement decision on a basis that will tick the boxes for value for money and procurement compliance.
Are SMEs at a disadvantage?
As it continues to be Government policy to implement and support initiatives that help SMEs secure public sector contracts they should not be. However the requirements of public procurement evaluation exercises frequently involve demonstrating a strong track record across previous business achieved within the relevant sector (in this case education). Evaluators will be given guidance by CCS to no base scoring decisions on historic experience but on the manifest ability of that bidder to deliver the requirements of a contract.
There are 20 places on each lot – some will be more competitive than others. Where you think there will be strong competition and you are an SME forming a joint venture with other suppliers may prove to be an effective way to make sure you do secure a position on the framework and also win business through that participation.
How could Ward Hadaway help me at this time?
We know CCS will be undertaking this procurement using the recently published Public Sector Contract. When bidding, businesses need to understand how the practicalities of the services they offer fit into that contract.
We are ourselves participants in a CCS framework. We also advise clients on their participation e.g in relation to G Cloud and how to manage the development of the formal relationship with customers when call-offs are secured. Our knowledge of many of the practical and legal issues that arise could be useful to you.
If you are thinking of partnering with other suppliers, we can support your negotiations to ensure you achieve the outcomes you look for from that relationship and develop a compelling proposition that schools and academies will want to take advantage of.
For more information, please get in touch.
CCS has created a dedicated webpage for this procurement accessible by clicking here.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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