The Ministry of Education is requesting expressions of interest (EOI) from prospective partners to provide support services to TELA, its laptops for teachers scheme. The EOI on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) website closes on 15 October.
The EOI document says the ministry is always looking to deliver its services in more efficient and effective ways and periodically chooses to go to market to test the scheme’s performance. “Through this EOI the Ministry wishes to explore the experience and possible alternate solutions the market has to offer and is seeking expressions of interest from suitably-qualified organisations.”
The Ministry established TELA in 2002 to provide laptop computers and associated services to teachers and principals. It is one of the largest laptop roll-outs in Australasia, currently supplying more than 14,000 leased laptops annually to eligible schools, with 44,000 on three-year leases. More than 97,000 laptops have been issued to date, approximately 80 percent of them PC-based.
In the 2009/2010 financial year the annual cost of delivering the scheme, including all hardware, funding and administration was $30,917,000.
The incumbent providers are Equico, which provides leasing and financing to the ministry and schools, and Invo, the distribution and programme management and logistics partner, which also provides advice on technical and business aspects of the scheme and assists with monitoring the performance of the hardware suppliers. The distributor also assists in forecasting school demand for laptops.
The three current hardware providers are Toshiba, Apple (supplied at the time of writing through Renaissance) and HP. Toshiba was a founding hardware supplier to TELA and the company says it currently has more than 20,000 notebooks on lease with teachers and principals.
The EOI document emphasises hardware supplier contracts are still in place and don’t form part of the EOI. Hardware supply was recently included in the ‘All of Government’ tender and it is expected successful bidders will be announced by the government shortly.
In response to an interested party's query on the GETS website on 23 September, the Ministry says future order volumes over the next three years will total 44,000 units. This equates to 17,000 for the year 2011/2012 financial year, 14,000 in 2012/2013 and 13,000 for 2013/2014.
In the event the ministry runs a subsequent tender process, candidates may be invited to respond to a request for proposal in late 2010. Any contract, says the ministry, will be for a minimum of three years commencing on 1 May 2011.