London schools get ICT purchasing freedoms

A London council is creating a framework worth up to £60m to open up choice of solutions for schools and academies in the capital.

London Borough of Lewisham is seeking suppliers to provide educational ICT solutions and specialist ICT goods and services to schools, councils and academies.

The council says it would allow all such bodies in Greater London to make use of the four-year framework.

The tender, released today, said: “Lewisham has worked closely with schools within the borough to establish functional or output specifications across a number of lots that will cover the full range of ICT infrastructure services that may be required, including design, specification, hardware supply, integration, implementation, testing, training, support and maintenance.

“The aim of this framework is to allow schools to act as ‘intelligent customers’ and enable them to retain control and management of their own solutions, risks and budgets.”

The catalogue of services available through the framework will allow customers to determine their own levels of risk by calling-off options within the framework that meet their particular needs.

According to the tender: “In this respect this framework differs from previous frameworks for ICT managed services in that it does not attempt to “gold plate” the standard services within the framework or transfer the maximum amount of risk to service providers.

But it added: “The model contracts for calling-off the framework do provide a high level of protection for both customer and provider in line with good practice within the sector.”

In addition, “there is an opportunity to appoint one specific supplier to manage services from a number of lots on their behalf, if required,” according to the tender.

Suppliers who are awarded a place on the framework will be required to provide maximum prices and mechanisms to benchmark the pricing offered through further competition on the framework.

The framework will provide customers with a choice of preferred suppliers in each lot.

Lewisham Council has a committed spend over the lots in this framework valued at GBP 1.6 m for two of its schools in the next 12 months.

Colin Marrs

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