The Department for Education (DfE) is working on a digital procurement platform for schools aimed at helping them to save money when buying goods and services.
It has completed the alpha phase and is preparing to move towards a private beta of the Buying for Schools platform. This has involved beginning procurements for technical architect and development support for its Schools Commercial Team in Sheffield.
The platform will provide a single starting point for procurement, enabling users to search for DfE approved deals and to access networks of other schools to work collaboratively. It is also aimed at helping them to aggregate buying and find help in specialist procurements.
The initiative is part of the DfE’s Schools Buying Strategy, which is aimed at helping schools to save £1 billion of their current £10 billion spend on non-staff costs by 2020.
It reflects findings in the department’s research that buyers often feel overwhelmed by the number of catalogues available and are unsure of where to get the best value. Also, there is a need to streamline the process by which teachers create orders to be collated and processed by school buyers.
An earlier procurement notice said that the primary users would be schools’ business professionals and anyone involved in the buying process.
Image by Antonio Chaves, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons