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Budgets and Expenditure Thread, Best value in School Administration; When purchasing, we're ment to get the best value for the tax payers money. No problems with that - I ...
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    steve's Avatar
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    Best value

    When purchasing, we're ment to get the best value for the tax payers money. No problems with that - I don't want my taxes being wasted either.

    Usually this means, 3+ quotes, tenders etc. which is a pain.

    So I'm looking into reducing the admin I do for purchasing, while maintaining best value and not upsetting our bursar and the auditors.

    Things I'm looking at are becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers and regional consortiums (for us the Yorkshire Purchasing Org).

    What do you do that saves time / effort purchasing?

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    What do you mean by:
    "catalyst approved suppliers and regional consortiums"
    Not come across that before tbh.

    At our place, we only have to get 3 quotes if its over a grand.
    So what i generally do is spec up with one supplier, then send the same email out to 4-5 others. Wait for them to come in, then print them, staple them together with an order form.
    Sign the order form, pass to a head of IT for signing as well (aparently theres only 4 people in the school that can sign off on purchases?) and then give it to the burser for ordering.

    Bit long winded, but its not too bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    Things I'm looking at are becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers and regional consortiums (for us the Yorkshire Purchasing Org). What do you do that saves time / effort purchasing?
    I buy a large amount of equipment from eBay. It can take a little while for some stuff to be shipped from Hong Kong, but it mostly works very well. I don't bother with the whole auctions palaver, I just list "buy it now" items cheapest first.

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    David Hicks

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    Ive been wanting to do that here.
    How do you get that put through though?
    As your gonna need a paper trail for auditing are you not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    When purchasing, we're ment to get the best value for the tax payers money. No problems with that - I don't want my taxes being wasted either.

    Usually this means, 3+ quotes, tenders etc. which is a pain.

    So I'm looking into reducing the admin I do for purchasing, while maintaining best value and not upsetting our bursar and the auditors.

    Things I'm looking at are becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers and regional consortiums (for us the Yorkshire Purchasing Org).

    What do you do that saves time / effort purchasing?
    Where are you going wrong with what you're doing at the moment.....i would say getting three+ quotes for all items is a problem. Large purchases, yes there may be an organisational requirement, and it would help also if you're not quite sure of the value of a high priced bit of kit.

    But for lower and medium value purchases it's unnessary as it takes up too much time.

    I would say it's a good idea to use suppliers that you can work with on a regular basis....that doesn't always mean they're the cheapest. But you know they're reputable, that they're not going to send letters or refuse to deal with you due to financial cockups or backlogs as is often the case. And you know they can get what you want and that if there's a problem they'll deal with it.

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    contink's Avatar
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    I'm with Torledo on this one...

    For small bits of kit like printers surely it'd be just as easy to print off a quick "pricerunner" style cost comparison at time of purchase and keep it with a reference sheet of the best support times, warranty terms, etc... for your preferred supplier.

    That way you can easily backup your choice of supplier without a lot of work.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomam View Post
    How do you get that put through though? As your gonna need a paper trail for auditing are you not?
    I work at a private school, so things might be different where you are. I just buy stuff with my PayPal account, hand the bursar an envelope stuffed with printed receipts and delivery notes and she writes me a cheque.

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    David Hicks

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I work at a private school, so things might be different where you are. I just buy stuff with my PayPal account, hand the bursar an envelope stuffed with printed receipts and delivery notes and she writes me a cheque.

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    David Hicks
    Yes in the public sector things work quite differently to that.

    I think the Business Manager would p*ss himself laughing if I handed him an envelops stuffed with receipts and delivery notes.

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    We have to follow the same procedure down here, or at least I do. Every order has to have 3 quotes, and then each one has to have evidence of us choosing which is best value (ie, a note saying 'cheapest, good prior relationship' on the quote).

    No-one else seems to have to do this in the school - if they want to buy books, they go to consortium. If they want building equipment, they go down the road to Jewsons. If I want to buy 5 new mice, I have to contact several companies. I have pointed out that the government has already done all the procurement stuff and created the Catalyst scheme, in compliance with the EU regulations on this issue.

    It seems to just be a waste of time, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

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    We only have to have 3 quotes/prices if it's over 500 I think it is.

    I just email 3 of my normal suppliers and use those prices.

    Catalyst is available to all public sector companies I think.

    Small items that I need in a hurry I can get from our local computer shop on account, other items that are purchased locally are reimbursed to us by the way of cheque, this could also include internet purchases as well by personal credit card or paypal account.

    Ben

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    I only need to get 3 quotes if I'm spending over 10,000.

    I agree with the best value way of thinking too. It would be easy for me to over spec every piece of kit we buy, but I couldn't justify to myself spending over a grand on a computer that maybe only gets used for word processing.

    On the other hand I do have to try and get equipment that will not only see us through our 4 year replacement cycle, but as different subjects have different requirements, it also needs to be fit for the job too.

    So I suppose best value doesn’t have to mean cheapest. It can also include the quality of service from a supplier.
    Last edited by jcs808; 8th April 2008 at 12:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve View Post
    When purchasing, we're ment to get the best value for the tax payers money. No problems with that - I don't want my taxes being wasted either.

    Usually this means, 3+ quotes, tenders etc. which is a pain.

    So I'm looking into reducing the admin I do for purchasing, while maintaining best value and not upsetting our bursar and the auditors.

    Things I'm looking at are becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers and regional consortiums (for us the Yorkshire Purchasing Org).

    What do you do that saves time / effort purchasing?
    Most schools would normally have a few suppliers which they already use, if not then look at some of the quote generating systems like

    OpenDNS

    Their are alot of good suppliers such as ourselves who can not get added to
    'becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers' through no fault of our own, but because they stopped adding new suppliers along time ago.

    This could mean going through 'becta frameworks, catalyst approved suppliers' you end up with the same companies, who may not always give you the best price and service.

    Good luck in your search.

    P.S. I don not work for or get any money from recommeding OpenDNS, as we are a reseller and just use the service.

    David Millar

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    ^^ No idea why it says OpenDNS but anyway.

    We go to tender on orders over 15,000. But also purchase a lot through catalyst suppliers.

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