09 Aug

Choosing a consultant

“Choosing a consultant or procurement organisation to sort out catering is difficult because they all seem the same”

This is about as accurate as saying all multi-academy trusts and children are the same!

MATs come together for many reasons including educational improvement, sharing best practice and financial efficiency. Becoming a MAT is a journey towards improving pupil outcomes rather than a solution or destination in itself. As a trust develops and potentially expands, there will be many different challenges along the way including sustaining the individual identity of member academies and ensuring good quality service delivery while driving efficiency.

Consultant or procurement organisation/framework?

Buying stationary, computers or photocopiers on behalf of a Trust does need some specialist knowledge and a compliant process -something that procurement organisations are able to do on behalf of schools and MATs alike. Catering however, is a more visible and complex service which can make a real difference to children but, if not procured properly, can be an expensive distraction to the school day.

Every MAT is different and an ‘off the shelf’ process will only produce an ‘off the shelf’ solution rather than a dynamic, developing service a Trust can be proud of.

Matriculate Consulting’s affordable approach is to manage bespoke compliant tender processes having gained a sound appreciation of how each MAT works, the culture of each member academy and the ongoing support you may need, post tender.

All MATs and consultants are equal but some are more equal than others…….

05 Apr

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”

(or “free” frameworks or “free” buying organisations/clubs)

A “free lunch” is believed to refer to the nineteenth-century practice in American bars of offering a “free lunch” to entice drinking customers. The more unhealthy, salty and fatty food the customer eats for “free”, the longer he/she stays at the bar, the more thirsty he or she becomes, and the more alcohol consumed.

This saying could also be regarded as relevant when procuring school services:

Clearly, “Free School Meals” are a good thing for the children who benefit from them, but they are not “free” as the tax payer picks up the tab.

Public sector frameworks

Frameworks enable institutions to complete compliant tender processes with a list of pre-qualified companies who have already been through a listing process. Such frameworks are owned by public sector organisations and their infrastructure funded by charges levied.

Using a framework can seem attractive as they can appear to be “free” for a school, college or multi-academy trust to use for tendering though there is usually a levy -payable by the winning bidder to the framework/purchasing organisation- throughout the contract period.

Despite bidding companies being encouraged not to show the cost of this levy in their tender submissions, they do have to allow for this cost somewhere, so the client organisation pays for using the framework one way or another. How much an academy or other institution pays will depend upon what the percentage levy and annual turnover is for a framework and should your school or academy also need specialist support and advice to run a tender process you will have to pay for this on top of the framework.

An indicative example would be a secondary school requiring a 5-year service contract with a projected annual turnover of £250,000. A .75% framework charge -which the school ultimately pays for- would be £1,875 per annum or £9,375 over the contract term. Additionally, should the school also need specialist support to effectively manage the process, there may be a charge in the region of £5000 meaning the school funds £14,375 over the life of the contract.

Commercial buying organisations/clubs

Some of these organisations boast about not charging direct fees as their costs are paid by the successful supplier. On the basis “there is no such thing as a free lunch”, contractors have to allow for these costs in their tender price. From our experience, the fees -also levied as an annual % to winning bidders and ultimately paid for by the client-can be significantly higher than public sector frameworks.

In summary, when considering how to get best value from services such as school meals and cleaning, there is an extensive menu of options available to the buyer. Picking the right way to tender services is about clear fixed pricing and working with a specialist, trusted partner who works for-and is paid directly by- you our client.

Please get in touch if you would like a clear, affordable quotation for partnering with Matriculate Consulting to tender your services. One thing for sure-we won’t be including a “free lunch”!

02 Mar

Matriculate sponsors Mad March Hare

dining room
Matriculate Consulting are proud to be sponsors and supporters of the Mad March Hare event madmarchhare.org.uk/

On Sunday 25th March 2018-the eleventh year of this fabulous event- hundreds of entrants will head off from Lydiard Park Academy, Swindon on a 5k or 10K route raising money for Breast Cancer Now.

After the event, many entrants, spectators and volunteers tuck in to a range of healthy snacks in the Mad March Hare café which is set up in the school catering area.

The event aims to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out and enjoy some exercise with their friends and families with many turning out in whacky outfits!

Over the first 10 years the Mad March Hare team have raised an incredible £100,000

We look forward to seeing you all on the day-GOOD LUCK!

02 May

Budget sets out academies plan

Chancellor George Osborne has used his Budget speech to say all schools in England will become academies and extend the school day.Portrait Of Schoolchildren Standing In Classroom

Schools must become academies by 2020 or have official plans to do so by 2022, he told MPs.

The proceeds of a sugar tax on fizzy drinks will boost sport in primary schools, while secondaries will get funds for after-school activities.

There will also be a new focus on school performance in northern England.

Mr Osborne said a review, carried out by Professor Adrian Smith, would consider whether maths should be compulsory until the age of 18.

And an extra £500m would be made available to ensure a “fair funding formula” for schools – aimed at addressing imbalances in the system – is up and running by the end of the Parliament.

Mr Osborne said: “Providing schooling is the single most important thing we can do to help children from a disadvantaged background to succeed.”

It was also the single most important thing that could be done to boost the long term success of the country, he added.

Therefore, he pledged to “set schools free” from local bureaucracy, so by 2020 all schools must have converted or be in the process of converting to academy status