Monday 6 May, 2013. Schools in England are wasting millions of pounds each year on expensive ICT leasing contracts due to outdated Government leasing regulations, according to education sector trade association, the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA).

Responding to the Department for Education’s consultation ‘Review of Efficiency in the Schools System’, BESA is calling for Government to introduce new leasing guidance in time for the introduction of the new National Curriculum in September 2014.

BESA believes that current guidelines are preventing headteachers from signing up for best value-for-money finance leases, and forcing them to opt for more expensive operating leases. BESA members operating in the leasing market estimate that schools are losing more than £10m per year because of overly complex and restrictive Department for Education guidance. As a result many schools have been left with less money to spend on commonly leased products such as computers and other ICT resources.

Caroline Wright, director, BESA explains, “By limiting schools in their choice of leasing arrangements the Government risks placing in jeopardy the successful adoption and introduction of its flagship new National Curriculum, which is due to be introduced in schools from September 2014. Over the coming year many schools are likely to wish to refresh and purchase new ICT and science equipment to help them deliver the more rigorous curriculum programmes of study for computer science, science and design and technology. Yet if the Government fails to amend its current leasing guidance schools will continue to be hamstrung into spending over-the-odds on the purchase of essential equipment”.

She continues; “This is not just about saving money it is about giving schools the chance to make the right educational choices and helping them ensure that they are getting the maximum life from the equipment and resources that they buy.”

BESA has offered the Government support in developing new guidance to extend the opportunity for schools to benefit from better value-for-money leasing options.

Philip White, Chief Executive of Syscap, a BESA member, comments:
“The education sector is undergoing significant change and the landscape schools operate in is shifting dramatically. Leasing is becoming an important tool within schools to help secure and grow their IT infrastructure. We have been working with BESA to develop a cost effective approach to finance that gives schools the flexibility to maintain steady investment in their IT assets in order to bring improvements in teaching and student support. The provision of a choice of leasing options will help to meet the improvement in IT education that both Government and parents expect to be delivered.”
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Supporting information
To help tackle the issue identified by BESA, the trade association is calling on Government to work with industry to:
– Issue updated guidance to schools that clarifies industry best-practice and allows schools to use cost-effective industry standard finance leases.
– Explore the potential for setting up an accredited kitemarking system for leasing companies operating in the education sector.
– Develop best-practice guidelines for schools to cover selection of both suppliers and products.
– Adopt a standard finance leasing template for schools.

A full copy of BESA’s response to the Government’s consultation is available at www.besa.org.uk or by contacting BESA on 0207 537 4997.

About BESA

BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association representing over 300 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and digital-content related services to the education market.
With 78 years of experience, BESA offers unparalleled support, research, events and advice on both UK and International markets, and the future of the education supplies industry.  BESA is focused on promoting and providing support and advice to their members, the industry and to schools.
BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure buyers of a high standard of quality in both product and customer service.

For more information, please visit www.besa.org.uk.

For further press information contact:

Sue Murray
Mango Marketing
T: 07789 993304 (available Monday 6th May)
E: sue.murray@mangomarketing.com

For information from BESA contact:
Caroline Wright
BESA
T: 07795 441973 (available Monday 6th May)
E: caroline@besa.org.uk