Schools Procurement & the Importance of Engaging Governors

Schools Procurement & the Importance of Engaging Governors

On 9th June 2018, Education Secretary Damian Hinds gave a speech at the National Governors’ Association annual conference calling for leading business professionals to offset skills shortages in schools governing bodies by volunteering to become governors. The NGA’s recent survey of educational governing bodies found that, although there are around 250,000 governors and trustees who oversee the management of schools and academies in the UK, about one third of institutions have at least two vacancies for such roles, and more than half struggle to recruit suitable candidates.

The work that governors do is essential. From overseeing financial performance, promoting accountability, setting targets and developing long-term strategies for improvement and growth, governors and trustees play a critical role in the strategic leadership and management of the school. Governors work hard to ensure that the school’s policies, aims and objectives are the best that they can be, so they can deliver a first-class educational service to pupils and parents within the community.

The NGA are currently calling for more young people and individuals from ethnic minorities at all levels of business (through their campaign, “Everyone on Board”), as well as industry leaders, to apply their commercial expertise for the benefit of local schools and academies. The government acknowledges the vital work that governing bodies do, as reflected by the doubling of the budget to train and support governors and trustees seeing £6m made available over the next three years.

As procurement professionals working within the education sector, Tenet recognise that it is essential to fully include trustees and governors in key procurement processes, to maximise value and secure optimum purchasing results.

Tenet Senior Procurement Consultant Craig Lockley, who has worked with many schools across the UK, says that “governors play an invaluable role in the tendering processes that education establishments are required to go through. They bring a plethora of experience from different professions, sectors and roles that ensures the most effective solution is achieved”. Their commercial expertise and knowledge of their own school, its pupils and its requirements, are fundamental ingredients for a successful tender process when procuring goods, works or services that will have a tangible impact on the delivery of school business.

Craig also explains that “having governors involved throughout the tendering process compliments the knowledge procurement professionals provide and maintains the education establishment’s core values”. Their input is essential because they offer an alternative perspective on the procurement process, alongside a commitment to the role of driving continued high performance standards for the school.

Like any major business stakeholder, it is important to engage governors and trustees in the procurement process from the earliest stage. Involvement may include:

  • Working closely with governors during all aspects of the procurement lifecycle, particularly in developing specifications, evaluating bids, and conducting interviews/presentations with shortlisted suppliers.
  • Allowing appropriate scrutiny of the final solution purchased, to ensure that it is fit for purpose for the school’s requirements.
  • Scrutinising promised contract deliverables to ensure these are realistic.
  • Building strong professional relationships between governors and suppliers, to assist with contract management and ongoing service delivery.

    At Tenet Education Services, we recognise the importance of school governors and the significance of the work that they do, and we endeavour to fully involve these critical stakeholders at all stages of any key procurement process.

    Need help engaging your stakeholders? Want to find out what Tenet can do to support your school’s procurement practices? Contact us today on 01376 511 411, or email [email protected].