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LOCAL AUTHORITY CONSORTIUM SLASHES COST OF SCHOOL EQUIPMENT IN£75M SUPPLY DEAL

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The largest ever office equipment supplies contract for schools, worth a potential£75m, has nominated Gestetner as...
The largest ever office equipment supplies contract for schools, worth a potential£75m, has nominated Gestetner as the company offering 'best value' overall. The contract, which will save schools as much as 50 per cent on photocopying equipment, has been negotiated by the Central Buying Consortium (CBC), a group of local authorities led on this occasion by Hampshire County Supplies, the purchasing and supply department of Hampshire CC.

CBC is an informal association of 17 local authority supplies departments with a combined purchasing power of some£750m per annum. For this ground-breaking contract ten members, including Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk and West Sussex County Councils, have combined their purchasing power to negotiate terms for the provision of photocopying equipment to public bodies such as schools, colleges, local government offices, the police and fire services. The five year contract covers the provision of approximately 10,000 copying machines.

Gestetner, the office equipment company, has emerged from the tender process offering the 'best value' overall for a range of equipment including state-of-the-art digital copying facilities, which will be available at up to half the commercial price currently on offer to schools. The competitive pricing will enable schools and other public sector organisations to access the latest copying technology. In determining the 'best value' offer, the tender process examined a number of key criteria including the quality of service and overall support operation, as well as cost.

Neil Jones, head of purchasing at Hampshire County Supplies and chairman of CBC's Office Equipment Group, said: 'Although we are a virtual organisation, by combining our considerable purchasing power we have managed to achieve the optimum price for copying equipment benefiting the public sector and, in particular, schools with tight budgets.

'This is a prime example of local authorities acting to improve efficiency and maximise resources. We will be looking to extend our success with this pioneering contract into other areas of supply including office supplies, IT equipment, energy and food.'

Nigel Palmer, managing director of Gestetner, commented: 'The scale of this contract is unprecedented in the education sector and Gestetner is delighted to have emerged as the company offering the 'best value' equipment. This competitively priced agreement will enable a number of schools and other public organisations to access state-of-the-art digital equipment which otherwise would remain beyond their financial capabilities.'

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