Decision details

20/00119 - To award a contract to Capita ESS for 5 (3+2) years for the provision of SIMS to LA maintained schools in Kent

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Proposed decision


To award a contract to Capita ESS for 5 (3+2) years for the provision of SIMS to LA maintained schools in Kent


Reason for the decision


-The contract end date of the current contract is March 2021, so a new contract needs to be in place for April 2021. The contract is solely for maintained schools, as it is a Local Authority (LA) contract. If schools convert to academy status, they are no longer LA schools, and at that point they are obliged to move to SIMS standard pricing. For this reason, the cost per year changes due to the number of maintained schools in the LA.

-         It is recommended that Kent reprocures SIMS for its maintained schools, as if schools buy direct from SIMS the cost is significantly higher (between 2 and 10 times the current cost depending on size and phase of school).

-         Re-procuring SIMS ensures ongoing system functionality and stability for Kent’s maintained schools, which supports them to fulfil their statutory education duties.


Background – Provide brief additional context


-         The current SIMS contract has been in place for Kent maintained schools since 2014. Most Kent schools use SIMS, provided by Capita, which is the market leading schools information management system.

-         Stakeholder engagement took place in October and November 2019. Schools that currently use SIMS provided by the Local Authority were surveyed by the Analytics team within Strategic Commissioning. Most schools are happy with SIMS and are not looking to move away from it.


Options (other options considered but discarded)


-         Not purchasing for schools was considered but this option was discarded on the basis that this costs schools between 2 and 10 times more to buy direct from Capita ESS (depending on their phase and pupil numbers).


         How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’

-         It supports the council’s ability to ensure that ‘Children and young people in Kent get the best start in life’. A robust schools information management system is required for schools to record and monitor pupil characteristics, contact details, pupil attendance, attainment and progress, and more, to support the education and safeguarding of children and to fulfil their statutory requirements to return information to the LA and the DfE.




As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree to:


(i)         award a contract to Capita ESS for 5 (3+2) years for the provision of SIMS to LA maintained schools in Kent.


(ii)        Delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, to take relevant actions, as necessary to implement this decision.


Publication date: 26/01/2021

Date of decision: 26/01/2021

Effective from: 03/02/2021

Accompanying Documents: