All schools tend to add up various expenses as part of its operations. Most institutions assign most of their spending to education staff, but there are other things that schools need to finance too—including electricity, facility maintenance, catering, and back office. But when making decisions on how their budget is spent, schools must follow specific procurement processes.

This means if you’re responsible at any stage of the procurement process, you must be aware of it so that you can make smart procurement decisions to help keep the school running at peak efficiency. Generally, these choices must provide good value for money. At the same time, you must be fair and open when choosing suppliers—whether it’s for minor purchases like a batch of custom lanyards for your staff or major ones like a replacement for busted equipment—especially when using public funds. 

To learn more about understanding the importance of the procurement process for schools, read on. 

It Ensures Your Compliance with Procurement Regulations

Whether your school receives public or private funding, it’s important to follow all relevant procurement laws during the course of operations. Otherwise, it may lead to legal challenges from suppliers, canceled contracts, and financial penalties, which can be costly and time-consuming to settle. More importantly, poor procurement decisions can impact your school’s reputation. When you have a clear understanding of the procurement process for your school, you can make sound judgments that comply with local regulations.

This applies to all purchases, even those that you need to renew or re-purchase. Many schools opt to renew the contract and procure the same product or service because it provides consistency and often offers better savings. But before you do, it’s important to assess whether the product still meets your school’s needs by going through the procurement process again. This way, you don’t miss any crucial steps and avoid penalties.

Procurement Process

You Can Plan the Budget Better

Once you understand your school’s procurement process, it helps you plan out the school budget better. Sometimes, you’ll need to make more expensive purchases. Keep in mind that these may require following more stringent procurement rules. That said, assess what you need to buy and if it will meet your school’s needs in the long run, so you can ensure that you’re getting the best value for money. With this mindset, you also make better choices when looking for areas you can save on.

For example, you can consider loaning equipment or possibly sharing resources with other schools to minimize everyone’s expenses. Also, it’s a good idea to look for deals like those often offered when you buy through local authorities or public sector frameworks. They can also help you with an efficient and compliant procurement process. As a result, you don’t break any rules and save money, which can be dedicated to other things that your school needs. 

You Understand Your Procurement Responsibilities

Another valuable lesson of having full knowledge of your school’s procurement policies is gaining a deeper understanding of your role and responsibilities. Sometimes, local authorities, a multi-academy trust, or a diocese may be responsible for buying certain things for the school. That said, it’s better to check with them so you don’t bypass any steps or break any laws.

However, in most cases, principals, deputy principals, school secretaries, and administration staff take on the duties in different stages of the procurement process. By understanding the procurement process, you also have a clearer scope of your responsibilities and become more effective in managing your school’s finances.

You Can Inform Everyone Who Needs to be Involved

While most schools have autonomy over its financial management, some procurements may need the involvement of governors, trustees, technical experts, legal experts, and suppliers to be processed and completed. When you have a full understanding of your school’s procurement process, it allows you to properly inform people who are involved. Also, recognizing who will be involved in the procurement process helps you identify and remove any potential conflicts of interest. This way, you can come up with a fair and open judgment.

If it’s not possible to remove a person’s involvement whose interests may influence their decisions, the best thing to do is withhold the names of the companies while their bids are being assessed. You can also ask different staff members to assess the bids to ensure there’s an unbiased decision.

It Lets You Create a Solid Business Case

If you need to seek out certain products or services for your school, being aware of the procurement process helps you create a good business case. A business case assists in setting out a baseline of what you need, the reason why you need it, and the specific period you need it. It’s also an orderly approach when seeking the approval of local authorities for procurement as well as helps you record your decision-making process.

When creating a business case, make sure to include a draft of the specifications you need and an estimate of the whole-life cost of the contract. It also helps you develop a winning business case if you include opportunities to work with other schools such as loaning the equipment or buying the equipment with other schools for a better deal.

Every school may have a different procurement process, so it’s best to review the one that works best for your school carefully before making any purchase. This way, you remain compliant with local regulations. More importantly, understanding and following procurement procedures will let you put the funding you allot to good use.

Experienced Educational Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Passionate about early childhood education and empowering educators to make informed instructional decisions to meet the needs of all learners. Skilled in professional development, instructional design, curriculum development, educational marketing, and educational publishing and editing. Strong consulting professional with a M.S.Ed. in Curriculum Development and Instruction from California State University at Fullerton. Currently living is Seoul.


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