After a seven-month wait government education agency Becta has finalised its ICT consultancy framework with the appointment of 21 pre-approved IT providers.
The framework is designed to enable educational institutions and agents, such as local authorities, to ensure consultancy services for ICT development, procurement and implementation support are of reputable standards. It is divided into three categories: educational, technical and procurement.
Nina Woodcock, senior managing consultant at Becta, told CRN: "All 21 suppliers are likely to see an increase in interest from educational institutions following the framework. This is the end of the selection process we announced in May and all those selected were chosen because they demonstrated the capacity and capability we expect," she said.
In May CRN reported that Becta had unveiled plans to develop the framework and channel players claimed at the time it had the potential to widen their access to sales of ICT consultancy time in the educational sector.
Diane Stean, accounts director government sector at Mantix, said: "We are able to cover all three areas [of the framework] and brought together a team to compile a tender for it. We hope to see an increase from this and it will be of great value to us," she said.
Phil Hemmings, director of corporate affairs at Research Machines, agreed: " We are pleased to be on the list. It's a good opportunity for us and a useful source of additional leads."
Ken Morris, senior consultant at Brian Farrington, said: "Being on the framework will help and we hope that potentially any UK public sector educational establishment will now turn to us for ICT consultancy."
Woodcock added that Becta had also taken steps to ensure there was no conflict of interest between sales of consultancy and sales of hardware or software.
"To avoid conflicts of interest those on the list are not allowed to supply both consultancy and equipment, unless they pull out from the procurement process," she said.
However, Sat Bains, chief operating officer at public sector software vendor Arete Software, said the list may isolate excluded VARs.
"Potentially this could alienate other VARs. The list has high standards, but schools do have the option to venture outside the list," he said.
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