1. When you decide to make a significant purchase check whether this takes you over the relevant threshold. Remember, it may not be just the initial spend you need to think about – if aggregation applies you may need to look at a much longer period.
  2. For more complex purchases, consider ‘soft market testing’. Provided it’s done in a fair and transparent manner, the Regulations allow you to engage informally with potential bidders at an early stage. This will help you understand what the market can offer before you embark on a formal tender process.
  3. Invest time and effort up-front to prepare high quality template documents for procurement. This should help ensure you start with a solid foundation and a sound game-plan, making the whole process much easier to run.
  4. Be clear about the procurement procedure you choose and keep it simple. Complicated processes and unclear requirements can lead to increased bid costs and consequent increased prices from bidders.
  5. Be clear about the outcomes you seek to achieve. This should help bidders respond to your requirements in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner. If they don’t, you know to look elsewhere.
  6. Leave scope for bidder innovation and don’t be overly prescriptive in your approach. This may allow bidders to offer lower prices without undermining quality.
  7. Think about whether the purchase is functional or strategic. This may help you decide how best to balance the scoring of bids in relation to lowest price or highest quality.
  8. Establish and allocate key roles to those who will be involved in the procurement process so responsibilities are clear right from the outset. Don’t leave it to chance at a later date.
  9. Train those who take on the key roles in relation to procurement. Making mistakes can generate bad publicity, lead to costly challenges from disgruntled bidders and trigger an EFA investigation.
  10. Where appropriate, make use of existing frameworks for routine purchases, though be careful to ensure they are legally compliant and can meet your specific requirements.
  11. Look to collaborate with academies or other organisations that possess strong in-house procurement expertise. We’re helping a number of our clients explore the possibility of setting up Procurement Clubs or out-sourcing procurement to social housing landlords.
  12. If in doubt, take professional advice. Getting it wrong could prove very costly indeed.
For more information

Click on the red icon on the right to download the PDF. Alternatively take a look at our short guide to academy procurement or have a look at how we can provide legal services to the education sector.