Link: schools mis-sold leases on computer equipment

5 Live Investigates have been looking in to the leasing of computer equipment to schools on terms that leave them paying up to 10 times what they should:

“the Leasing Advisory Service, a claims management company which represents victims of mis-sold leases says it has identified a particular problem with schools leasing computer equipment.

“Under these such schemes, schools effectively hire equipment from a supplier by taking on a loan from a bank who funds the supplier.”

Direct Technology Solutions Ltd is one of the companies named in the piece, now in administration “leaving Glemsford Primary exposed to thousands of pounds worth of liabilities owed to the bank which they could not afford.”

The comments are equally insightful, including the following:

“there is central government framework which was set up to ensure that bodies in the public sector get value for money for their purchases of equipment. Only companies with an approved pricing structure are permitted to operate within the framework . . .it even gives guidance as to how to procure equipment within EU rules”

And both sides of the autonomy debate:

“It just goes to show the dangers of giving schools more autonomy. It sounds like a good thing, “cutting red tape” etc. However, school/education is an insular environment and teachers might be good educators but are often not much skilled at anything else. The point of local authorities having departments for purchasing, HR, payroll etc – is because these things are not straightforward.”

And:

“Schools have to have appropriate pupil:computer ratios which represents a huge investment, much of which is decided at county level. Very few teachers are consulted on purchasing decisions – we just cope with the outcome.”

About Paul Bradshaw

Founder of Help Me Investigate. I'm a visiting professor at City University London's School of Journalism, and run an MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University. I publish the Online Journalism Blog, and am the co-author of the Online Journalism Handbook and Magazine Editing (3rd edition). I have a particular interest in Freedom of Information and data journalism.
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5 Responses to Link: schools mis-sold leases on computer equipment

  1. Timothy Martin says:

    I am a school governor and had to look into a photocopier scam run by the same company . Schools have been warned but they use slick oilsalesman tatics to get naive school administrators or heads to sign up for 5 year leasing deals which may offer some initial cashbacks and are often rolled over every 2-3 years.The school ends up with incresingly expensive second hand equipment which the company have bought for a song but the school has to continue paying the finance company or bank and at the end still do not own the machines. Unfortunatley the rules and regs are not their for the customer ,the banks cant be bothered to root them out and these companies seem to stand just inside the law…they know schools are going to be good boys and pay up…caveat emptor

  2. Simon Lloyd says:

    Following the 5 Live Investigates programme and the subsequent follow up on Radio 4
    The Leasing Advisory Service is working with several Local authorities in assisting many schools to unravel complex lease agreements which have often been systematically rolled up leaving the school burdened with leases for copiers and telephone equipment for ten times the actual value. Furthermore the equipment is outdated , unfit for purpose and still has years to run .
    Will will audit the leases and advise on the way forward at no cost to the school.

    More recently, charities and the NHS have also come forward with toxic leases so I suspect these issues are widespread.

    Contact if you need help and advice

  3. Pingback: VIDEO: Adrian Goldberg on leads in 5 Live Investigate's investigation into dodgy lease agreements - The Help Me Investigate blog

  4. Pingback: Schools on terms that leave them paying up to 10 times what they should: | Legality Leasing Blog Site

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