Schools make IT switch to council

Schools across St Helens Borough will be getting IT support significantly cheaper from next month thanks to St Helens Council under a new contract.

Schools across the borough had a contract with private provider Agilisys but when the time came to renew their lease asked the council if they could offer the service for them in-house.

Following the decision to in-source their ICT support service back to St Helens Council from the 1st August, 58 of the borough’s schools will now benefit from a number of additional services which will be included in the council’s service offering. In addition to the enhanced service, the council’s service provision will also deliver a £290,000 cost reduction from the current contract.

By bringing the service into the council it means schools will be saving money while getting an enhanced service on top of what they had previously.

It has been welcomed by councillors who approved the contract at a cabinet meeting earlier this month. They praised the work of officers who drew up and created the bespoke package that will benefit the majority of schools in the borough.

The new contract will see the existing IT staff from the previous supplier transferred across to the council with no loss of any jobs.

The contract will run for an initial three years with the opportunity for further extensions for up to two years.

Councillor Kate Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “We are delighted to be working with schools to provide them with the essential IT service they need to support children’s learning. This contract demonstrates how it is often the best outcome for everyone for the Council to provide services directly, rather than contracting them out to a third party. In doing so we are providing both a high quality service and value for money. By offering this service to schools at a cost that is much lower than the previous contract, we’re helping to boost school budgets at a time when they are under huge financial pressure.”

Schools benefitting from the scheme are looking forward to working together with the council on the new contract.

Nicola Kearney, Headteacher at Eaves Primary School, added: “My school welcomed the idea of the council taking on the IT contract from the first moment it was mentioned. Our reasons are quite simple. We believe the money should be kept ‘in-house’ and we believe we will receive a better service as we are all St Helens Council.

“The support for each other goes without saying; we are here to serve the children of St Helens and with the support of council services will do this to the best of our ability. The contract itself clearly shows an understanding of schools’ budgets being stretched and the offer of working with us on projects within reasonable time frames is reassuring. We look forward to building a great partnership.”

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