As 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 to steer them strategically through the ICT procurement process. 

This is because the process of buying ICT systems and services can be complex. It’s not like buying standard school supplies.  You need to be able to describe technically what you want to buy, you need market knowledge to know where to buy it, and you need to comply with procurement law.  Many schools simply don’t have the skills and capacity.

It’s increasingly clear that technical innovations, such as cloud computing and mobile apps, can bring real cost savings. However, a clearly run procurement process is still essential if you want to avoid any costly mistakes further down the line.

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Read the Note: 6-steps to successful ICT Procurement

Click above to download our procurement guide.  Read our advice on how best 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

Frequently asked Questions:

How do I know if I 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 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 outsource the operational delivery of your ICT to bring efficiencies across your trust.

What technology does my school or MAT actually need? 

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.

You should consider the many ways in which Cloud computing and services impact your buying decisions.  Look at areas where cost savings can be made such as:

  • Cloud-first choices for software products
  • Maximising your Office365 or Google platform to move communications and storage into the cloud
  • Moving your server infrastructure into a data centre

Is Centralised Procurement a viable option for us?

There have been numerous articles in the press about centralised procurement and how groups of schools, chains or MATs can achieve significant savings. Here, 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. 

Watch the Webinar

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Like to learn more? Alex Wood has also made a FREE webinar 'Trust-wide ICT Procurement - is it right for your MAT? ' . For further details and the recording click here.

Limited capacity or in-house skills? Then let us help you ...

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 recent results include: 

  • £500k savings over three years for a large MAT through centralised procurement of broadband, telephony and e-safety
  • £300k reduction for a London Borough/Local Authority through ICT contract negotiation
  • £1m saved in operating costs for a MAT through strategic procurement of an ICT managed service
  • £2.6m savings for a large MAT 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.  

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.


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