Issue 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

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.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/12/2020

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  - View reasons

Decision due: Not before 13th Jan 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Stuart Collins

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Katherine Atkinson, Assistant Director, Management Information and Intelligence, Integrated Children's Services Tel: 03000 417013.

Financial implications: - Total Capita ESS SIMS contract value over the 5 years exceeds £2million (full detail in cabinet report) - The annual licence costs are funded by de-delegation of school budgets, as agreed by the Schools’ Funding Forum.

Legal implications: - Contract award will be made using direct award against the Kent Commercial Services Y20011 framework, which is in line with the framework terms and conditions.

Equalities implications: - An EqIA has been undertaken. No significant issues have been highlighted, and risks are low, as there is no change to the information that is recorded, the way it is recorded, or the software on which it is held.


Agenda items