Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have a question about the Schools' Buying Hub South West, you may find the answer you need here. If you cannot find the answer you require, please contact us.

1. How can my school register to use the Schools' Buying Hub South West’s services?

To register your school to use the Hub services please visit: www.schoolsbuyingclub.com/schoolsbuyinghubsouthwest/registeryourinterest/. You will receive a response directly from the Hub.

2. If my school signs up to a Hub, can we still use alternative methods of procurement, or will we be restricted to always using the Hub's services?

The regional Hubs are a free service, providing you with help when buying goods and services. They will provide expert procurement advice and guidance, which will help you to make an informed choice on best value for money product and services, to meet your needs.

3. Is there a charge for my school accessing the Hubs services?

There is no charge to schools for accessing the Hubs service during the pilot. The future funding model is not known at this time, however schools are free to leave the service at any point.

4. What is the difference between the Department for Education's category management team and the regional buying Hubs?

The DfE category management team and the Hubs service will work in collaboration to identity and provide guidance on best deals for schools. However the Hub will be your school's direct contact on a day-to-day basis, and will be able to offer advice and guidance tailored to your requirements.

5. What happens after the pilot phase?

Should the pilot phase be successful in the two regions, it is our intention to roll this project out nationally.

6. My school is not currently eligible to sign up to the Hub service - when can I join?

Unfortunately, if your school is outside of our two pilot areas in the South West and North West, you cannot participate at this stage. The plan is to trial the Schools' Buying Hubs in those areas to help inform a potential roll out of Hubs across England in 2019, and we would welcome your involvement then.

7. My school is in the South West/North West, but my registration has not been accepted at this time. Will I need to register again or will someone contact me when a space is available?

If you are within the region but have not been engaged as part of the pilot, you will be kept on a reserve list in case of an expansion of the service or schools leaving the pilot. You will also be able to access some services from the Hubs website – e.g. local networks and events – and you will also receive periodic updates on Hub activities.

8. What categories of spend does the Hub service cover?

The Hub can provide expert advice and guidance on all non-staff categories of spend.

9. How will the DfE ensure that the Hub services are being delivered in the best interests of schools?

The DfE will hold regular performance reviews with the Hub providers. This is an opportunity for the DfE to review the quality of service being provided. Equally, feedback from participating schools is crucial during the pilot phase, and we will be collecting regular school feedback on service provision. Your responses to periodic questionnaires will be used to further improve the services being offered, and will help to scope the service to be provided during the national roll-out.

10. What is the relationship between DfE and the Hubs?

The Hubs are working in partnership with and are funded by the DfE. The service provided will be monitored to ensure that it adheres to the high standards and quality which schools expect from the DfE, fully meeting the needs of its users to deliver value for money.

11. The Hubs sound like a good idea, but as a school we feel we are okay and have what we need. Why should I participate in the pilot?

The free consultation service offered by the Hub can help to identify whether any savings can be made by your school. Very often additional savings can be attained by aggregating (buying with others) or extending a good deal, with the help of good procurement advice.

12. Can I suggest areas for improvement?

Yes! We welcome your feedback. If you are part of the Hub pilot then please complete the questionnaires which you may see from time to time. If you are not part of the pilot then please email suggestions to Schools.commercial@education.gov.uk

I still have further questions, how do I find out more?

If you have any further questions, please email
contact@schoolsbuyinghubsouthwest.com

You can find out more about the Government's
Schools' Buying Strategy by clicking HERE

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