ESPO, one of the UK’s largest public sector professional buying organisations, has launched Academy Procurement Solutions (APS), a new and innovative online resource. It enables academies to access an extensive range of frameworks, many of which have been established in partnership with other public sector buying organisations. Contracts include banking, insurance and recruitment services through to grounds maintenance and cleaning, all of which have been subject to rigorous tendering processes ensuring full compliance with UK and EU regulatory requirements.
According to ESPO: “After supporting the education sector for over thirty years, we have an unrivalled understanding of the importance of best value and compliant procurement. APS is a centralised resource that puts the contracts that academies need together in one place enabling them to source the services they require and help avoid all contractual disputes.”
This new online resource (www.espoacademies.org) can be used nationally by existing academies as well as schools that are in the process of converting to this new status. It provides direct links to a comprehensive range of frameworks that might previously have been sourced through local authorities including curriculum products and services, office solutions, ICT, facilities management, professional services, vehicles and transport, energy, food and drink. APS also proves access to consultancy services to support schools converting to academy status.
“As a founding member of the Pro5 group, ESPO has taken the lead on many national frameworks and is recognised as a truly independent procurement specialist that delivers the same level of support previously provided by local authorities,” continued ESPO. “This APS resource will enable academies to procure the services and products they need with the confidence that all contractual and regulatory requirements have been met and that no additional tendering is needed.”
ESPO’s APS site also features a forum where academies and schools can share good practice and access to a helpdesk, staffed by a team of education sector procurement specialists. The helpdesk can assist with procurement related issues and provide advice on the most appropriate frameworks to meet specific requirements. A quick reference guide can also be viewed or downloaded.