IMLS Framework


the Crown Commercial Services MIS framework

IMLS Framework

All the information you need to know about the DFEs IMLS framework.

What is the IMLS Framework and what is it for?

Framework agreements for the education sector aim to offer local authorities and schools a quick, easy and trusted procurement route for accessing a range of services designed to deliver their specific requirements. The IMLS framework has been carefully developed after consultation with schools and local authorities. It addresses many concerns and considerations when planning the procurement of a Management Information System. Read more about the aims of the IMLS below.

Get in Touch with any Questions

Is ScholarPack on the IMLS Framework?

Yes, it is (as Histon House, our company name).

Why was the IMLS framework created?

The IMLS Framework was developed following recommendations in the 2005 and 2010 BECTA reports. The 2005 BECTA report 'School Management Information Systems and Value for Money' acknowledged that the provision and procurement of Management Information Systems (MIS) for schools was flawed. The report stressed the need for:

  • Greater value for money and price visibility
  • Greater choice and competition
  • Improved timeliness and quality of software
  • Minimum service levels to be part of contractual obligations
  • Reduced complexity in MIS procurement process

A further 2010 Becta report stated that the school MIS marketplace:
  • Was still uncompetitive and does not provide value for money
  • Was dominated by a single supplier with costs rising by 6% a year on average
  • Resulted in a significant number of MIS procurement activities that are potentially non-compliant with EU and UK procurement law
  • Had major concerns around the cost of change
  • Was generally supported by specialist teams, almost always operating at the individual local authority level, and consequently unable to take advantage of economies of scale.

The report concluded that, "by any reasonable measure the schools MIS marketplace has remained stagnant". The IMLS Framework builds on the recommendations of the Becta Reports and aims to address the issues it highlights.

Why should I use the IMLS Framework?

The IMLS framework provides a simple and straightforward mechanism for procuring MIS based on delivering a legally compliant solution, value for money and specifications specifically designed for the education sector.

Eligible users can use the framework individually, or in collaboration with other like-minded users (often leading to additional savings and efficiencies). Procuring via framework agreements removes the need to separately advertise and tender a contract (as otherwise required by procurement regulations), thereby significantly reducing costs and timescales. The IMLS framework has been awarded in full compliance with European procurement regulations so users can be assured that the services may be procured with confidence.

A robust set of terms and conditions has already been agreed with suppliers specifically for the services provided via the framework. More detail on the benefits and advantages of using the IMLS framework can be found in the Benefits and advantages of using the IMLS framework document.

How do I use the IMLS Framework?

Potential users have two alternative methods of procuring via the framework. The first (and preferred method) is to run a mini (or further) competition whereby all capable suppliers appointed to the framework are invited to submit a proposal specifically designed for the user. Although there are a significant number of providers on the framework list, not all companies will normally respond; this will usually depend on the size, complexity and location of the customer.

The second option is to make specific purchases (call-offs) from the framework with the price determined at the point of call off without the need for negotiation. This second option may legally be used where the best value solution can be clearly identified from the information provided within the framework.

Advice on how to effectively procure solutions using both methods (including advice on how to run an effective mini competition) is available in the How to procure your solution document.