Helpful Tools & Guides

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The Department for Education provides helpful tools on the

GOV.UK website, to help you plan and run efficient procurement processes for your school. We have also provided a series of useful Buying Guides for you to download.

Buying Guidance for Schools

This provides a step-by-step guide on how to plan and run an efficient procurement process – to buy goods, works or services for your school.

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Buying Guidance for Schools

This provides a step-by-step guide on how to plan and run an efficient procurement process – to buy goods, works or services for your school.
A well planned procurement process can help schools to get value for money and follow EU procurement law.
Use this step-by-step guide to plan and implement the most appropriate process for your school’s procurement needs.

Go to School Buying Guidance

Financial Benchmarking for Schools

The Schools Financial Benchmarking tool allows you to compare your school's income and expenditure with other schools in England.

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Financial Benchmarking for Schools

The Schools Financial Benchmarking tool allows you to compare your school's income and expenditure with other schools in England. You can:

  • view your school's financial data

  • see how similar schools manage their finances

  • use the information gathered to establish relationships with other schools
    Go to Schools Financial Benchmarking

Templates, Forms & Model Documents

Here you will find exemplar documents and forms that you can adapt and use, to help with your procurement processes.

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Templates, Forms & Model Documents

Exemplar documents and forms that you can adapt and use, to help with your procurement processes.

Go to Templates, Forms & Model Documents

What is TUPE?

If you are outsourcing services – such as cleaning, catering, grounds maintenance and ICT – for the first time, or procuring a new supplier, it is likely that TUPE will apply.

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What is TUPE?

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE)
If you are outsourcing services – such as cleaning, catering, grounds maintenance and ICT – for the first time, or procuring a new supplier, it is likely that TUPE will apply. Learn more about TUPE from this government guide:
Go to TUPE Regulations Guide

Glossary of Procurement Terms

The meaning of the terminology used within public sector procurement.

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Glossary of Procurement Terms

Aggregation

Adding together the value of separate contracts for the same supply and/or service.
   

Audit trail

System or paper generated evidence, showing how and by whom certain processes and functions were carried out.
   

Benchmarking

Comparison of performance against other providers of similar services, particularly those recognised as adopting best practice.
   

Best practice

The most effective and desirable method of carrying out a function or process, derived from experience rather than theory.
   

Best value

The relationship between 'worth' and 'cost', assessed over the whole life of the goods or services in question, reflecting a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
 

Closed procedure

One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which only eligible applicants who meet the buyer’s criteria are invited to tender in a two-stage procurement process. Also see 'Restricted procedure'.
   

Collusion

Generally: a fraudulent arrangement between two or more parties. Specifically: such an arrangement, where prices or service requirements are manipulated to get around competitive tendering thresholds and requirements.
   

Competitive tendering

Awarding contracts by the process of seeking competing bids from more than one firm.
 

Contract

A binding agreement made between two or more parties, which is intended to be enforceable at law.
    

Contract award notice

Notice of an award of a contract published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), in fulfilment of the requirements of EU public procurement directives.
     

Contract documents

Documents incorporated in the enforceable agreement between client (such as the school) and contractor, including contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the successful tenderer’s responses (including method statements), and all other relevant documents expressed to be contract documents (such as relevant correspondence, etc.).
   

Contract notice

Notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) by contracting authorities, seeking expressions of interest or inviting companies to tender.
    

Contract value

The total monetary value of a contract over its full lifetime (NB not simply its annual value).
   

Contractor

An organisation or individual who has made a contract to undertake works, supply goods or provide services.
 

Deliverables

A collective name for the tangible goods and/or services that the supplier or contractor is required to supply under an agreement.
 

E-procurement

The use of electronic methods in every stage of the purchasing process, from identification of requirement through to payment, and potentially to contact management.
 

Estimate

A genuine and realistic price calculated by the relevant finance officer, that represents an estimate for defined works, goods or services, as required by EU rules or standing orders for the purposes of determining the procurement process and ensuring adequate budget provision. This should not be confused with an estimate from a contractor, supplier or service provider for a defined piece of work.
 

EU rules

The Public Services or Supplies or Works Contracts Regulations relevant to the implementation of the EU (European Union) directive on award of public services contracts.
 

Evaluation

Detailed assessment and comparison of contractor, supplier or service provider offers, against financial and quality criteria.
 

Framework agreement

An arrangement under which a contracting authority (e.g., Local Authority or Government Department) establishes - with a provider of goods, works or services - the terms under which contracts subsequently can be entered into, or 'called-off' (within the limits of the agreement) when particular needs arise. See also 'call-off contract'.
 

Invitation to tender

An invitation to contractors, suppliers or service providers to bid for the provision of works, goods or services. Also known as an 'ITT'.
 

Invoice

A request to pay submitted by a supplier of works, goods and/or services.
 

Invoice payment terms

Specified terms of payment agreed between the supplier and purchaser.
 

Most economically advantageous tender (MEAT)

The tender that will bring the greatest benefit to the school (or other buyer), having taken a number of factors into consideration, including quality and cost.
 

Offer

A supplier’s offer to provide goods and/or services for a consideration in response to a buyer’s enquiry.
 

Open procedure

One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which all eligible applicants are invited to tender in a one-stage procurement process.
 

Selection questionnaire ('SQ')

A questionnaire completed by companies that wish to be considered for a procurement activity. The purpose is to assess the company’s general suitability in terms of financial and economic standing, technical capability and experience, quality assurance, health and safety procedures, environmental issues and equalities considerations. Previously known as a 'pre-qualification questionnaire' or 'PQQ'.
 

Procurement

The process of acquiring goods, works and services, covering acquisition from third parties and from in-house providers. The process spans the whole life cycle from identification of needs, through to the end of a services contract or the end of the useful life of an asset, including disposal costs.
 

Public sector buying organisation ('PSBO')

A joint federation of Local Authorities, working together to act as a single purchasing agent for its member authorities and other public sector customers, to offer a cost effective procurement and supply service. See also 'consortium'.
 

Quality

The level of fitness for purpose which is specified for or achieved by any service, work or product.
 

Quality Assurance (QA)

A discipline to assess quality standards, covering all activities and functions concerned with the attainment of quality.
 

Quotation

A written or verbal price given by a contractor, supplier or service provider, after being requested either orally or in writing. A quotation may be the written confirmation of an earlier, oral offer.
 

Restricted procedure

One of the procedures for procurement under the EU Directives, under which only eligible applicants who meet the buyer’s criteria are invited to tender in a two-stage procurement process.
 

Risk

The probability of an unwanted event occurring and its subsequent impact.
 

Services

Services provided to the contracting body (such as a school) by an external service provider (an individual or a company). Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.
 

Sourcing

The process of establishing potential suppliers of specified works, goods or services.
 

Specification

A description of requirements and standards to which the goods, works or services should conform. Also known as a statement of needs, a statement of requirement, an operational requirement, or a brief. Its purpose is to present prospective suppliers with a clear, accurate and full description of the organisation's needs, to enable them to propose a solution to meet them.
 

Stakeholder

An individual or organisation that has an active interest or a stake in a particular organisation or issue. For example, funders, members, contractors, purchasers, trustees, beneficiaries, volunteers and paid staff are all stakeholders in a voluntary organisation.
 

Sub-contracting

The process where a contractor assigns part of the contract to another contractor(s).
 

Supplies

Goods, either purchased or hired. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.
 

Tender

An official written offer to an invitation that contains a costed proposal to perform the works, services or supplies required, and is provided in response to a tendering exercise. This normally involves submission of the offer in a sealed envelope to a specified address by a specified time and date.
 

Tender documents

Documents provided to prospective tenderers when they are invited to tender, forming the basis on which tenders are submitted - including instructions to tenderers, contract conditions, specification, pricing document, form of tender and the responses from tenderers.
 

Tender evaluation panel

A group of people who analyse tenders received and make final recommendations on the award of contracts.
 

TUPE regulations

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981(as amended from time to time) implementing the Acquired Rights Directive on the acquired rights of workers – i.e., legislation covering the requirement for new employers, under specific circumstances, to adopt the existing rights of employees who maintain their current duties while moving to the new employer.
 

Value for money

The provision of the right goods and services from the right source, of the right quality, at the right time, delivered to the right place and at the right price (judged on whole-life costs and not simply initial costs).
 

Whole life costs

The systematic consideration of all relevant costs and revenues associated with the acquisition and ownership of an asset.
 

Works

Building, construction and engineering related works. Those that have a value exceeding the current threshold defined by the EU rules will be subject to the European tendering requirements. Standing Orders may have different values covering works, services or supplies.  

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