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Thousands of English schools will soon say goodbye to the headache associated with ordering books, equipment and services. From today, SIMS, the well-known management information system from Capita, will be linked directly to the Department for Children, Schools and Families’ (DCSF) online procurement portal, OPEN, for web ordering of all the goods schools need.

OPEN has been created to enable schools to collaborate, purchase and pay for goods and services more efficiently online, saving them time and money.

SIMS is used by more than 22,000 schools and it is the first MIS system to link directly to the OPEN eProcurement engine.

The move will ensure that the 15,000 English schools who use the Financial Management System (FMS) in SIMS can automatically import online purchase and invoice information into their system, reducing the need to re-key in order information.

Ian Taylor, Commercial Director, DCSF said: “The Department for Children, Schools and Families is very pleased to see the launch of the new version of SIMS. The new functionality will allow SIMS to fully integrate with the DCSF’s OPEN eprocurement system which is currently being made available to schools across England on a phased basis.”

Phil Neal, Director of SIMS, at Capita said: “By linking SIMS to OPEN, teachers, bursars and school office staff can wave goodbye to the deluge of paperwork often associated with ordering supplies in schools. The result will be an efficient, paperless system whereby all transactions are completed electronically from request for purchase, authorisation, invoicing and even payment, if desired. Time will no longer be wasted typing in order or invoice information into a school’s financial systems as this can now be done automatically from OPEN.”

A teacher or bursar can search the online catalogues of educational suppliers on the OPEN web site and compare and contrast them on price and product features. They then select their purchase and add it to a shopping basket, much as they would do shopping from their local supermarket website. The information can then be automatically transferred to SIMS to raise the approval for a purchase order. Once the goods have been dispatched, the supplier can raise an eInvoice which is imported into SIMS.

Phil Neal, Director of SIMS at Capita, said: “This is a huge leap forward for schools. No longer will they have to type in the order information at the start of the purchasing process and then the invoice information at the end. The job is done for them, not only freeing up time for more important tasks but also helping reduce the risk of accountancy errors.”

Yue Jin Tay, Business Development Manager at ProcServe, who have built OPEN based on the Zanzibar platform for DCSF, said: “We have worked closely in partnership with the Capita SIMS team to support their initiative and we are excited that this functionality will be released to schools using OPEN. This new integrated offering further increases transparency in the purchasing process and reduces the manual effort required, making it easier than ever for schools to purchase the goods and services they require.”

Notes to the editor:
• The new functionality which links SIMS FMS to OPEN will be provided free of charge to all existing SIMS FMS users as part of the May 2008 upgrade to SIMS.

Ref: CAP364
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Capita contact:
Susan Godding, SIMS Marketing Manager Capita Children’s Services, Franklin Court, Priory Business Park, Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3JZ. Tel: 01234 838 080

DCSF Contact:
Rob Kelly, Press Office. 020 7925 7438

Press contact:
Catherine Lane, Catherine Lane PR, Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London, EC1V 4PY. Tel: 07092 864 764. Email:

About Capita:
Capita is the leading supplier of information systems to the education sector, providing a range of software and services to schools and local authorities to help raise standards and reduce administration. Capita’s SIMS is the most popular management information system for schools and is used every day by more than 22,000 educational establishments in the UK.

About OPEN
OPEN (Online Procurement for Educational Needs) is the eprocurement solution for schools. OPEN is managed by the Educational Procurement Centre (EPC) of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). ProcServe provides the OPEN portal, procurement solutions and electronic marketplace as a managed service that makes it easier for schools to buy from their suppliers. For more information go to

About ProcServe
ProcServe, a wholly owned subsidiary of PA Consulting Group, provides fast, flexible and secure electronic marketplaces and trading connectivity solutions. ProcServe’s hosted, custom-branded solutions provide customers with the unique ability to leverage a software-as-a-service solution and maintain their own uniquely branded and configured marketplace. Customers enjoy a faster solution set up, lower cost of maintenance and a secure environment. ProcServe also delivers Zanzibar and xchangewales on behalf of the UK Public Sector. For more information, please visit

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