Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does it cost to use the EduBuy service?
Nothing, the EduBuy service is free.
Why should I use EduBuy rather than go to suppliers directly?
EduBuy is a free and independent service which brings together a wide range of available products and services in one convenient location to help save you time and money. Even more importantly, by using the contracts offered here you can be assured that you comply with public sector buying regulations.
Why do I need to comply with public sector buying regulations?
Public sector buying regulations must be followed when you spend public money. They help ensure that money is spent in a way which is fair, open and good value for money. Poor buying decisions and a failure to comply could result in legal challenges from suppliers or members of the public, contract cancellations and financial penalties which can be costly, time-consuming and impact on your establishment’s reputation. As a general guide, the higher the value of the purchase and the more public money you are spending, the more stringently you should follow procurement rules.
Is there any procurement advice and guidance available to help me ensure I comply with regulations?
Yes, the Department for Education provides useful advice and guidance on their website. The following documents are a great starting point and contain lots more useful links:
I’m new to buying and would like to learn more about procurement. Can you help?
BuyWays is an eLearning resource developed by the Department for Education for anyone involved in schools procurement. It includes online study modules which give a basic introduction to procurement, contract law and contract management, with examples, hints and advice on how schools can get best value out of all their buying decisions. Schools users can register for free at www.buyways.co.uk
What is a framework agreement?
A framework agreement is a type of agreement for the supply of products or services that has been negotiated by a public sector organisation, such as the Crown Commercial Service, YPO or ESPO, on behalf of a wide range of customers.
Framework agreements are designed to:
- speed up the process of buying products and services where the value to be purchased may exceed the EU procurement threshold (see also what is the EU Procurement Directive?).
- improve prices by combining spend from a number of public sector organisations to get a better discount.
A framework agreement is essentially a contract, under which one or more suppliers have been selected to provide a particular set of products or services following certain terms and conditions. Once awarded, a framework agreement is made available for other organisations to purchase from (often known as a ‘call-off’).
Please be aware that the rules for call-off can differ, so it is recommended to check the information provided by the organisation that manages the agreement to see how it should be used.
What is a call-off contract?
This is the formal agreement between a customer and supplier which creates contractual obligations. By placing an order against a call-off contract with a supplier from a framework agreement you are making a contractual commitment to purchase the specified products/services from that supplier.
What is a further competition?
Many framework agreements require a reopening of competition amongst the suppliers when you want to purchase products and services. You will need to run what is called a ‘further competition’ when you want to buy from (call-off) the contract. In a further competition you will be required to get quotes from all the suppliers on the framework agreement and to evaluate which supplier offers you best value overall. It also allows you to refine your specified requirement, if you need to, while retaining the terms and conditions of the agreement. A further competition is sometimes also referred to as a ‘mini competition’.
What are the EU Procurement Directives?
The EU Procurement Directives are designed to promote competition and transparency in the award of contracts for the supply of products and services to public sector organisations throughout Europe. Within the UK the EU Procurement Directives are embedded within the Public Contract Regulations 2006.
The directives set out formal procedures about how a public body should buy when they are spending over a certain amount of money on a particular product or service.
The current EU procurement threshold is £173,394. For amounts equalling or exceeding this you must follow the formal procedures set out by the EU Procurement Directives.
If your spend is under the threshold (i.e. for purchases below £173,934), it is still best practice to use the fully compliant contracts on offer from EduBuy. It will give you peace of mind that you are accessing suitable arrangements offering good prices. But whatever you decide to do, it is vital to ensure you comply with your own establishment’s financial regulations
Who are the EduBuy partners?
How do I choose which EduBuy partner to use?
All EduBuy partners are publicly owned and offer compliant, value for money solutions. The choice of which partner to use is entirely yours. You can review each partner’s offering for the product or service you require by clicking on the links provided in the search results. The links will take you to partners’ websites where you can find out more about the contract they offer, the benefits it will deliver and how to access it. Once you have reviewed the options available you should make your selection of which partner to use based on which solution you think will best meet your needs.