£40m wasna enough for ink and toner cartridges in public sector, says Scottish government

Like most other things these days, COVID-19 blamed for extension to framework agreement

How much does the Scottish public sector need to spend on toner and cartridges in a day? Circa £5,000 if a recent tender notice is anything to go by.

In a move that signifies the apparent impact of Covid-19 on all walks of life, the Scottish government has been forced to extend a £40 million framework deal for computer consumables.

As the original deal, signed in 2016 with Banner Group, was due to come to a close in September this year, the agency in charge of the contract has decided to extend it rather than try to procure again.

“The need for modification has been brought about by circumstances which the contracting authority could not have foreseen relating to emerging priorities in relation to Covid-19 work,” the tender notice said.

As a result, the contract has been extended by 5 months without competition, at a cost of £750,000, or £150k a month, or roughly £5,000 per day.

As well as toner cartridges, the framework includes ink cartridges, CDs, something called digital versatile disks (DVDs), flash memory, and flash memory storage devices.

Who gets through so much toner and ink - and, er, flash drives? The list of Scottish public sector bodies able to buy from the framework is extensive, including Caledonian Maritime Assets, Clackmannanshire Council, and Forestry Commission Scotland which we understand have, er, paper to burn. It might even include the town council of Stoney Bridge, as far as we know, but that would be a niche joke.

The big ink vendors have seen revenue run dry in recent years. A few more printouts of East Renfrewshire Council meeting minutes will surely keep the hard pressed print vendors' coffers flowing. ®

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