Headlines: July 23rd, 1999

Framework contracts have been awarded to twelve companies to supply Information and Communication Technology to schools. The contracts provide one stop shops for the supply of managed services including computers, local networking, Internet access, software, servicing and technical support, testing and certification of readiness for use as well as training in their use. Prices range from 11,000 pounds to 23,000 pounds spread over three years. Investment in ICT during this period will be 1.6b pounds.

The benefits of the contract for schools are that they will no longer have to make hand to mouth decisions about buying computer equipment and the risks will be shared with the supplier. The practice of monopoly suppliers locking schools into contracts for a number of years will also be ended. Suppliers will be subject to ‘MOT’ tests each year to maintain quality.

Nearly 120 suppliers expressed interest in the contracts and a second round of tendering for managed services will begin almost immediately.