The Department for Education (DfE) has unveiled its new Information Management and Learning Services (IMLS) procurement framework, to help schools buy key software services.
The framework includes 18 ‘pre-approved’ suppliers, from whom schools can buy technology without going through the full procurement process. It’s split into two lots – one covering management information systems (MIS), the other covering learning platforms.
The Department for Education says the new framework will drive costs down by creating competition, and encourage interoperability.
It also claimed it would prevent suppliers from charging academies twice for software licences. A number of providers have been criticised for forcing schools to spend up to £25,000 on a new MIS licence, when they become an academy and are not longer covered by local authority-wide contracts.
Plans to launch the new framework were exclusively revealed in EducationInvestor last June. At the time, rival suppliers characterised it as an attempt to break outsourcing giant Capita's market dominance, in light of repeated complaints that its 80% share of the MIS market was anti-competitive.
But a document seen by EducationInvestor shows that, after a competitive tendering process, Capita had been ranked highest on both lots.
Five other suppliers are also included on both lists. They are RM Education, Serco, Pearson Education, Bromcom Computers and Novatia.
The document also shows, however, that a majority of firms invited to submit tenders rejected the government's overtures. Although 98 firms were invited to tender for a place on the framework, less than 25 did.
Nigel Rayner, sales and marketing director for RM Education Software, welcomed the new framework.
“The market for education management systems has changed dramatically over the last two years, with more schools opting out of local authority control, by becoming academies," he said. "This framework allows all concerned to see the range of providers for essential services and enables a competitive market where schools may previously have felt that they didn’t have a choice."
The successful suppliers, listed in order of their score received by their tenders, are:
Lot 1: Management Information and Finance systems
Lot 2: Learning Platforms
CDSM Interactive Solutions