It could happen! DIY guide to winning an ICT Contract in BSF, Primary Capital Programme or Academy's.
There are two ways school technical staff can influence their futures.
1. Write and publish a 'dream' ICT Output Specification that describes the service you think BSF should be using the standard documents downloaded from Partnerships for Schools website. Persuade your local schools and Local Authority to adopt it.
2. Bid for BSF contracts yourselves:
2.1 Organise yourselves and form a limited company for around £65. Probably a good idea to get some investment on board, perhaps from the schools who want your services or suppliers that want to sell their services.
2.2 Find out which wave each LA is in, and target some that haven't yet procured.
2.3 Persuade LA's to seperate the ICT Contract as a seperate Lot in their procurement. If necessary get schools interested and apply pressure to LA.
2.4 In the meantime work up a good bid proposition based on your target LA's published Strategic Business Case and Strategy for Change, or ask for a copy under Freedom of Information.
2.5 Look for OJEU procurement notices for Academy ICT, BSF and 'express an interest' for each one you want to target. You will then be invited to submit a Pre Qualification Questionaire. Can be found and subscribed to at HERE)
2.6 Assuming you have the required financial bona fides and some good references (no problem for Edugeek members as its your stock in trade) you may receive an Invitation to Proceed to Dialogue (ITPD). Submit your bid and it will go through an evaluation by the LA and schools. Successful bidders will then receive an 'Invitation to Continue Dialogue' (ITCD). Modify and improve your bid which will be re-evaluated, and you may be lucky enough to receive an 'Invitation to Submit Final Bid' (ITSFB). This is it! If you are lucky you then get appointed as a Prefered Bidder (PB), and provided you can close the deal, you have the ICT Contract. Whole process around 2-3 years!
Note: Academies are usually tendered on a case by case basis so are a good first target in your area. There doesn't appear to be any money being provided for primary school ICT in the Primary capital programme. All ICT procurement must go through TED, so its worth getting using the RSS feed.
Just a thought!
Let's do it!
I've always been of the impression that small capital programmes for individal schools or a handful of schools was well within the capabilities of a group of school IT pros to deliver.......from design, through to procure and implement. These small PFI rebuild/refrb contracts as distinct from academies and the wider BSF contracts. Some smaller BSF contracts could also be feasible so long as the cost for tendering wasn't prohibitive.
The value of the IT element of one of these PFI schemes i remember seeing was 10million.....for 3 or 4 schools from what i remember.
IT would cost a lot less than that to deliver on the ICT part for such a scheme, and for areas which couldn't be done 'in-house' by the schools support staff the LLC could easily sub-contract to a specialist firm. Think data cabling install for example..... I mean, that's what peple like RM do anyway......they don't own or they arent specialised enough in all aspects of the entire IT chain to do everythign using their own staff.
It's a great idea and would be a nice little earner for the LLC.......if only politics didn't stand in the way.
The only problem is the process of tendering which is far from straightforward, so much so that most contractors employ people especially to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.
Getting the right paperwork filled in at the right time with the right criteria would be extremely off putting to most SME's.
Lower-value Contract Opportunities - Public Contract Bidding - Lower-value Contract Opportunities - Tender Opportunity Portal
Last edited by somabc; 29th November 2008 at 08:05 PM.
cool.. yea " Lets Do This! "
The limiting factor for small companies tendering for large contracts isn't usually their capability, it is the fact that they frequently don't have the 'economic or financial capacity' to be eligible for tender. The assumption is that large companies have the processes in place to hire in the knowledge and are less likely to become bankrupt, so the process usually has a pre-qualification questionnaire to weed out the small companies.
Because all the BSF contracts are valued over £90k, they are all publically accessible through OJEC.
Smaller companies with limited finances or limited financial background (ie companies that are created purely for bids such as this) usually have to be supported by an investment partner that opts to take the risk.
Within BSF this has led to some of those partners actually deciding that they can limit their risk by doing the bid themselves, providing their own solutions and then they may choose to buy in what they need, taking a larger cut of the overall profits. An example of this is Dell. Rather than be just the supplier or solutions architect they now have a team that do the lot. They may choose to then buy in particular expertise or use the expertise employed within the schools to flesh the rest out.
Without significant backing from a partner the most EG could be are consultants, and if a group of us were to get that financial backing then there are lots (and I do mean lots) or clauses that may mean we can't do things the way we want. Imagine we got backing from a large supplier ... we would be under pressure to implement a solution based on that suppliers offerings.
And this is before we get into the legal, contractual and commercial side of things. Remember that it can take significant money to put together bids, employing people for up to 2 years before there is any return.
I'm not saying it is a bad idea ... just that there are so many things in place that make it damn improbable.
@asynchro : do you have some spare cash to help us out with setting it up? ;-) It does raise some possibilities about how involved people may get in the whole process but we do have some members that have been 'pro=active' from word go ... and still not been happy with how things are gone (and their schools are *seriously* not happy!)
I believe there are also some very tight SLA's designed to keep smaller businesses away from the BSF contracts. The company I worked for previously got sub contracted to help a larger company do some roll out work on some of their BSF contracts. I got sent in to setup a schools network which basically consisted of around 200 desktops and 60 laptops plus 2 servers(pretty small) - the project manager for the other company mentioned some of their SLA's including 15 minutes for desktop replacements - if they don't meet the SLA's they get penalised.
We were often threatened with £5k per day penalties if the projects over ran.
I love the idea but... practically the organisation and risk involved is massive just to bid a lot of would have to give up the day job and take on lots of dept with no promise we would be sucessful.
The cost of bidding is said to be around £1 Million.
No the better policy is to act like the Russians in the Cold War placing sleeping agents undercover in large organisations just to slowly rise to the top and take them over
Disclaimer: I wasn't actually being completely serious...
Honestly though ... others have thought about it and suggested it ... and ranted when it was laughed off or ridiculed, so it is only fair that people do actually have a discussion about it and see what the possibilities are.
He needs to help some of the schools in his own county first!@asynchro : do you have some spare cash to help us out with setting it up? ;-)
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