As ICT advisors to UK Education, we have assisted hundreds of school leaders over the years to achieve efficiencies, as well as best value for money, by helping them to navigate their way through the ICT procurement process. 

Since many schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) say they find it difficult to buy and choose ICT, we thought it might be useful to provide some practical tips. 

Our 6-step guide (downloadable below) details how to: 

  1. Plan the process
  2. Carry out soft market engagement
  3. Write the specification and service level agreements
  4. Write the invitation to tender (ITT)
  5. Manage the tender process
  6. Select a preferred bidder and reach contract agreement

6-Step Guide to ICT Success


When would you need to run an ICT procurement exercise?

The process is usually triggered when a specific ICT requirement is recognised at a school or trust.  Common scenarios include:

  • Your ICT needs a major refresh project to bring systems up to standard as they’re not performing for you. This is likely to be a significant investment so must adhere to EU procurement law; you want to ensure you spend wisely.
  • You want to do something innovative. You want to see a step change in how you’re using your ICT.  You need to procure new solutions.
  • You want to rationalise the operational delivery of your ICT to bring efficiencies across your trust.


How do you decide what ICT you should purchase?

Sometimes it can be hard to determine what you actually need to buy. In this case, the key to maximising ICT budgets is to approach ICT purchases strategically, in line with your ICT vision and strategic aims. This way you can be sure you’re buying the most cost-effective, fit for purpose ICT to support both your short and long term goals.

There have been numerous articles in the press about centralised procurement and how groups of schools, chains or MATs can achieve significant savings. Strategic procurement allows them to take advantage of economies of scale by leveraging their buying power through collaborative purchasing. 

In our experience, the running of a robust procurement process will save money for your schools and result in better quality services and systems for your money. 

Limited capacity or in-house skills for this? Then let us help you …

iStock_000012566800_large (1)An external advisor can provide you with greater cost certainty and help you clarify your budget before you go to market. Their engagement with the market can also promote the opportunity, increasing competition to drive down costs. In major refresh projects this can help you to achieve considerable savings.

Some of Novatia’s most notable results include: 

  • £300k reduction for a London Borough/Local Authority through ICT contract negotiation.

  • £1m saved in operating costs for a Trust through strategic procurement of an ICT managed service.

  • £2.6m savings for a large Trust through outsourcing the ICT department to a full managed service.

How does it work?

Novatia will provide a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your requirements. From here, you can decide how much you want us to be involved. Our wide range of support includes: bid strategy and documentation, functional/technical/service specification, procurement management, contract management and installation oversight. For full details about our ICT Procurement Service click here.  

We can also provide additional guidance on ICT Vision & Strategy should you require this.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, get in touch either by phone on 01962 832632 or by email on  We’d be happy to help.

Further resources

Department for Education (2017) , Schools' Buying StrategyLondon: DfE

Department for Education (2016: updated 2017), Buying for Schools, London: DfE 



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