Maybe an independent body - I don't know If one exists, maybe dfe should have a stand or at least do some seminars at BETT.
It seems like they have really wasted every opportunity to publicise their own systems.
Do LAs get a newsletter from Gove, or some regular official comms? I presume yes. Who heard about IMLS officially? What was the guidance that went with it? I only remember going to the website as someone tipped me off it was available.
27 September 2012
School management information systems procurement
Mike Beasley - Schools ICT Support Team, FCG Commercial Group
The Department would like to respectfully remind schools and local authorities that they may need to consider undertaking a Management Information System procurement soon if they are to complete the purchase within the time allowed under their current contract renewal decision clause. The majority of customers will have to complete the procurement by the end of December 2012 to stop the "roll over clauses" in their contracts being enacted, locking them to their current supplier for the following year.
It has been highlighted that a high proportion of customers presently have contracts which may not be legal and are therefore open to the prospect of a legal challenge if they do not run a full and fair competition. Schools and local authorities are encouraged to check their contracts to ensure they do not unwittingly fall foul of the contract regulations.
If you are a school that is considering becoming an academy, you are also advised to review your local authority’s contract, as a number of contracts have transfer restrictions that can leave schools facing large cash sums to find for transferring the contract to the new academy, even if it is with the same supplier. There are also potentially large cost savings indicated for procurements through the Framework, of up to 75%.
Further information can be found here or guidance can be sought from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well... I'm confused.
The MIS Challenge was to get suppliers to open up to the whole market about what their products can do. If anything this could or would assist your mountains of requests for information. An ideal end goal would be a school puts in an RFI with a caviat 'are you on the MIS CHallenge'. Schools may start to use the questions in their entirety and so if you have responded then schools can refer to those answers and may even request that.
My goal has been to ensure schools know as much about everyone to help them make an informed choice, so they do not miss anything from anyone.
Of course for suppliers, it's a great piece of advertising, and an opportunity if it does get used as well as I hope.
For the LA Challenge im not convinced of what the market benefit is to spend the time on that. Obviously for suppliers there is benefit, to schools as a whole? Personally, I don't see any, and so it isn't something I could entertain being involved with. This is very much down to you and other suppliers to be doing. Particularly as you are wanting to know what is a driver for them to go to tender... do schools or other LAs want to k ow this? I only see benefit for suppliers, so is a very commercial thing... and sorry but I don't spend my spare, unpaid time on such projects. Convince me of the value and there may be scope.
@vikpaw is right there needs to be involvement and push from DfE. I'm finding it interesting trying to get the information out of you suppliers... and I know most of you! LAs would not go near anything like this!! Without a push from above mind...
I'm also confused as to why you are not putting any effort or interest in with individual schools when proportionally there is far more opportunities out there, and potentially easier to 'win' with the right solutions. Given too that winning an LA doesn't not guarantee any sales (remember, I have played in this arena ;)). Gives schools some attention ;)
It is best that we drop you a PM/note on this.
The role of an LA is to advise schools that don't have experience & resources on which system best suits their needs. Secondary schools will generally have expertise but that's harder to come by in primary schools simply because they don't employ as many people.
Having worked in three different secondary schools in the past ten years I've used and abused three different MIS providers. I've taken a school from one MIS to another following numerous complaints from the end users and then within six months I was again inundated with end user complaints! Clearly, the grass wasn't greener, just a different shade of green.
The driver for change in my case was to provide a solution that was primarily easy to use for the end users in order that they could in turn provide the leadership team with required data. Do not underestimate the influence key end users have in the decision to change MIS providers, or anything else for that matter....
Then along comes a new Headteacher/Principal who was used to using a particular MIS and understands how to get the data out in a way he/she can use it and it's all change again.
I guess what I am trying to say is that irrespective of what framework a school/academy should or shouldn't be using when 'tendering' for a replacement MIS, they will potentially just ask for a few quotes from recognised providers in order to satisfy the basic financial standards. They can always justifying going with a more expensive solution as it is deemed to offer 'best value', better functionality in a certain area perhaps. They pretty much know what system they want to use and why and will steer the decision accordingly.
Interesting thread with some illuminating comments. What is apparent is that nobody (with maybe one exception) really 'gets it' when it comes to selling MIS to LA's.
I remember being invited to an RM conference in Abingdon just after the Becta report was published and they definitely didn't get it. Hiring a QC for the day to give delegates a 'telling off' for not tendering wasn't going to make them many friends - nice lunch though.
We fully agree with you and hence we proposed in the thread along the lines:
"An independent survey should be carried out and establish what will motivate LAs to come out to tender. Is it saving, sea change in technology, usability etc.. Such survey will assist the market to understand whether it is something suppliers needs to do, DfE or any other body. It is extraordinary that after Becta Report 2010 and now OFT Market Survey 2014, LAs will defy the EU/UK Procurement Laws and resist tendering. The market has to listen to LAs and together move forward for the good of children education where School MIS is identified as critical mission component in managing this most effectively.
Bromcom-PR is happy to contribute whatever reasonable for this LA-Survey to happen and we hope other MIS suppliers will do the same."
May be you could throw in some ideas here yourself - so what will motivate LAs to come out to tender?