02/06/16 SPU Bulletin

An Foras Pátrúnachta / News / 02/06/16 SPU Bulletin

1.A new framework for School WiFi

As of May 2016, a new ‘Wireless Networking and Associated Services’ framework has been put in place for all schools and educational institutions. The framework was created to assist in specifying, selecting and purchasing suitable wireless solutions to meet schools’ needs, and in doing so, to achieve good value for money. The target audience includes school authorities, school principals, ETBs, and those involved in the planning, provision and support of WiFi in schools. Following an open competitive tendering process, 7 service providers have been qualified as members of the framework.  Details of those framework members along with instructions as to the process for appointing a framework members following mini-competition is included in the guide. The document is downloadable from the PDST website at this link – details of new WiFi framework for schools


In addition, for Post Primary schools involved in new build or refurbishment programmes a new ‘Guidance Document for the Provision of Wireless Network Installations in Post Primary Schools’ has been put in place. This document will assist schools and other parties in working with their builders and architects, in helping to understand the new WiFi-enabled building specification, and in how it has evolved to support mobile learning and WiFi in schools. The document is available to download here, also from the PDST website The corresponding Guidance on WiFi-enabled School Building Specification document for Primary Schools is currently being finalised and will be shortly available from the PDST website.


2.Early engagement with the procurement process

It is well recognised that accompanying the good news of approval of a grant to fund a new school build and/or other building projects comes onerous tasks and responsibilities for those school principals and Boards of Management.  The procurement processes alone for kitting out new classrooms, labs, offices and engaging service providers for utilities, IT Services, Telecoms, catering, and cleaning are technically involved and highly time consuming. Public procurement brings serious obligations in an arena that has become frequently more litigious as suppliers scrutinise and often challenge the award of contracts more often now than ever previously.


Principals and Boards of Management are best advised to engage with the Schools Procurement Unit at the earliest possible juncture so as to ensure that your school’s requirements are serviced in the most timely and efficient manner possible; for example, to ensure services are in place for the commencement of a new academic year, the procurement planning process should be starting immediately after the return from the Christmas break. Early engagement will secure your school the best advice on the course(s) of action to take and will ultimately save on your time and effort. Contact details for the School Procurement Unit are email: procurementsupport@jmb.ie / Ph: 01.2035899.


3.Servicing your current procurement needs

Notwithstanding the advice provided at Paragraph 2 above, a school is best advised to only embark on a procurement activity in the absence of a suitable alternative arrangement provided by the Office of Government Procurement, and particularly so where the expenditure is high. Using central arrangements, while not mandatory, brings comfort in several areas – reduces exposure to risk of litigation and exploitation, reduces administrative effort and cost, delivers best value outcomes from large-scale bundling arrangements. However, if you are currently tasked with preparing tender documents for publication on etenders.ie, you are strongly advised to talk to the Schools Procurement Unit before doing so. You may be saved an amount of undue time and effort, in circumstances where open tendering may not be necessary or indeed the appropriate course of action.


4.New Framework for the provision Employee Assistance Services (Counselling Only Services) to the Public Sector including Schools.

The Office of Government Procurement wishes to bring to your attention a new framework for the provision Employee Assistance Services (Counselling Only Services) reflecting contemporary practice and knowledge, provided by competent persons only with access to appropriate forms of professional mental health support.   The framework is available to Primary, Post Primary, Secondary and Special Schools, Vocational and Third Level Educational Establishments including but not limited to Education Training Boards (ETB’s), Institutes of Technology, Colleges of Education and Universities.


This Framework aims to deliver easy access to high-quality services, at the best possible price. The Framework removes the need for you to conduct full tender exercises or lengthy service provider evaluations, saving the time and costs associated with procurement exercised. The Office of Government Procurement will support the draw-down of services on your behalf, as and when needs arise.


Additional information is also available to download from http://www.procurement.ie/. Once you have logged in as a buyer, Select Category – TRAVEL AND HR SERVICES, sub category – HR Services.

Any queries should be directed to support@ogp.gov.ie or tel: 076 100 8000.