Whilst many schools face an ongoing struggle to balance teaching and running costs, recent research has suggested that many of them are unwittingly wasting thousands of pounds each year on their telecoms.
Unified communications provider, Daisy Group plc, conducted a bill analysis of 118 primary and secondary schools across the country and found that, on average, UK schools are overspending by 43 per cent on their communications (telephone systems, calls, mobiles and internet connection) bills.
The exercise also identified that all of the 118 schools involved in the experiment were overspending and some by as much as 77 per cent.
Tony Harcombe, Commercial Director at Daisy Group plc, said: “Daisy has been working with public sector organisations for a number of years, however we have only recently started actively working with the education sector. Before doing so, we decided to undertake some research in order to learn the areas in which schools require the most help.
“We expected to find some of the schools paying over the odds but we were, frankly, shocked when we found that every single school we spoke to was overspending with some spending nearly four times as much as they needed to.”
Daisy identified three key issues bursars and schools managers were facing that contributed to the overspending: not having enough time to manage their contracts and shop around for better deals; not having enough understanding of recent technological innovations to be able to procure modern systems with a cost-saving capability; and being encouraged to procure from approved suppliers that did not necessarily offer them the best cost-efficiency.
Tony Harcombe continued: “We’re accredited to, and have been working with, Public Services Network and Churchmarketplace and are aiming to put together a white paper on the subject to help schools make informed decisions when it comes to their communications.”
One of the schools which took part in the research, The Douay Martyrs School which is located in Hillingdon, London, was advised by Daisy that it could save 71 per cent on its mobile bills and 40 per cent overall on its communications over a 12 month period. It has subsequently appointed Daisy to install a new Mitel telephone system to improve both internal and external communication.
Teresa Doyle, School Bursar at The Douay Martyrs School, said: “When Daisy drilled down into our bills they advised us that, by changing the system and contract we had, we could benefit from annual bill savings which amount to thousands of pounds per year. By switching supplier we have made invaluable savings which are allowing us to reinvest our budget into other areas of our curriculum.
“Daisy also found that we had been unintentionally overcharged by our existing supplier for a number of years. Understandably it came as quite a shock, but Daisy helped us secure a credit which ultimately covered the cost of our new telephone system.”
Tony Harcombe added: “Schools are massively overspending on telecoms which means that they are wasting funds that could be better spent elsewhere. By working with organisations like Churchmarketplace, which can assist schools with finding new, PSN-approved suppliers, there is the potential for schools to massively increase their efficiency and simultaneously reduce costs.”