Outsourced ICT procurement gets easier with a new framework from the CPC, joined by AdEPT Education

Two children in a classroom studying information on a digital device

10 June 2021

Flexible and adaptable ICT services have become critical for schools and educational establishments during the pandemic. Therefore, a new framework agreement from Crescent Purchasing Consortium – to which AdEPT Education has just been appointed – is an easier way for schools to procure ICT services that can help in their recovery.

Schools and educational establishments looking to outsource their ICT to help recover from the pandemic can now benefit from a new procurement framework from the Crescent Purchasing Consortium (CPC), on which AdEPT Education are a supplier.

The new ‘Outsourced ICT’ framework, launched on Monday 7th June, has been created specifically to help education professionals to procure everything from remote technical support to ICT project management – and to do so easily, with confidence.

As one of the newly-appointed suppliers, AdEPT Education says the launch of the framework couldn’t come at a better time for the education sector.

“Over the past 12 months, the education sector has faced huge challenges involving ICT. Through that, it has seen more than ever the importance of both reliable and robust connectivity and ICT support services,” says AdEPT Education Sales Director Nick Shea.

“Yet, being able to research, shortlist and assess suppliers in this respect is a huge job in itself. With the pandemic too, more and more education organisations have recognised they need a different mix of support for their rapidly-evolving ICT setups – especially as they have seen considerable migration of services into the cloud.

“Due to this, they need partners that can respond quickly to both traditional ICT support issues and to new, more remote and cloud-based ones, as well as having the tools in place to anticipate problems before they arise.”

It is this mix of reactive and proactive support that underpins AdEPT Education’s partnership with its clients. This is also combined with a flexible, can-do attitude.

Nick adds: “We’ve heard from some schools that lockdown exposed holes in their ICT support. For example, some staff didn’t have the right setup to work remotely. Other schools that might ordinarily have a reliable on-site network found that the same network wasn’t able to handle a large number of staff working at home.

“The difference for us is that we’ve always prioritised business continuity – and we’ve always taken the view that ICT needs are, without fail, complex and changeable. In fact, I’d say ‘change’ should be the biggest focus of anyone working in ICT and I’d say it’s for this reason that flexibility and agility are part of our DNA.

“As a result, when the pandemic took hold, we were able to adjust quickly and continue supporting our education clients with minimal disruption.”

Of course, nobody could have predicted the real impact of the pandemic, and it may only be now that the education sector can start to regroup and look ahead. As it does, the new CPC framework will be of great help.

The agreement has two lots: lot 1 is for ‘Outsourced ICT Services’ and lot 2 is for ‘Outsourced ICT Consultancy’. The former received responses from nearly 30 suppliers and saw the appointment of 10, including AdEPT Education.

Nick adds: “We are incredibly proud of being awarded this place. As you’d expect from the CPC, the application process was highly methodical and rigorous.

“We were evaluated for everything – for example, how we handle initial enquiries, through to our pricing structures, our business continuity, compliance with regulations, security… the list goes on.

“This is great news for the education sector – being assessed and approved in this way saves education ICT professionals a lot of work and time, which is especially important right now.”

Education organisations looking to procure through the new framework will be in good hands and in good company, because being owned and run by the further education sector, the CPC has a real understanding of education – as reflected by its membership of more than 8,000 educational establishments.

As a purchasing consortium, the CPC’s main purpose is to develop and manage procurement frameworks that comply with procurement regulations, making the sourcing of goods and services easier for its members. Those frameworks cover a wide variety of products and services – and the CPC continues to develop this portfolio, while providing specialist advice on best spending practices for the education sector.

Managing the new Outsourced ICT framework is Procurement Officer Lisa O’Shea. She says: “We are delighted to launch this brand-new framework providing education organisations with an education-focused route to market for outsourcing managed ICT services. The framework comes with detailed guides, support and templates making it easy to put your managed ICT requirements out to competition.”

Full details about the framework are available on the CPC’s website. Additionally:

  • AdEPT Education works with schools and educational establishments across the country. One of its main clients is the London Grid for Learning (LGfL), and through this partnership, AdEPT provides network and ICT services (including web filtering and security) to hundreds of schools in London.
  • AdEPT Education has vast experience helping educational establishments move to the cloud, having helped more than 500 schools adopt remote teaching platforms through the pandemic, as part of the recent DfE scheme. Notably, the vast majority of this work was conducted remotely, respecting social distancing and helping schools avoid disruption and downtime.
  • The CPC was created in 1999 as an arm of the purchasing team at The University of Salford. The consortium was developed to fill a gap in the provision of reliable and best-value frameworks for the further education sector. This work proved to be so useful that the FE sector bought the company in 2009, at which point it achieved charitable status. CPC now operates as a not-for-profit organisation, meaning that any surpluses generated are invested back into the education sector.

Written by Ben Rogers

Marketing Manager