All Public Sector Bodies including Schools and Academies have a duty of care when spending the public purse and need to ensure that consideration is given to the Public Contract Regulations and any local Contract Procurement Rules and that public funds are spent openly and fairly. In general for goods and services, although this can be different between establishments, the values that Schools and Academies work within are:
- Up to £5,000 – Obtain best value
- £5,000 to £50,000 – go to market for 3 quotations or more
- £50,000 to £172,514 – go to market conducting a tender process with 3 or more providers
- £172,514 and above – European compliant process is required
The above values need to take into account the whole life costs of the service or goods required on a continuous basis over a contract period, this is normally over a 4 year period. An example of this is a School purchasing 600 devices @ £300# each (£180K) would need to go through a full European Compliant process, this would also be the case if a School would be leasing 125 devices @ £300# each for a 4 year leasing period as this would also end up as the same value.
# This price includes all additional element added in like case, software, insurance etc.
A European compliant process does take a long time as there are some strict timescales that need to be adhered to and the process needs to be carried out within the 2015 Procurement Regulations, failure to do so can result in a challenge to the procedure and a potential fine if the process had been found out to be ineffective.
Complying with the process can be very time consuming and slow. You can tackle it yourself or alternatively employ the skills of one of a number of specialist companies offering the service.
They will be able to give you access to a range of suppliers that have been through the European Compliant process. They will also be able provide you with competitive prices.
Information kindly provided by: www.pagabo.co.uk