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

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 …

  1. Franco Silver badge

    "It might even include the town council of Stoney Bridge, as far as we know, but that would be a niche joke."


    Same niche joke.

    Leaving that aside though, framework contracts are a joke. Nice idea in principle to use public sector economies of scale to drive prices down, but has failed spectacularly.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Nice idea in principle to use public sector economies of scale to drive prices down, but has failed spectacularly.

      If it's anything like when I worked for the MoD, a couple of months before the end of the year people will get told "you've not used your full budget yet, better get it used before the end of the quarter or it will get cut next year". That was the point when we'd get out the equipment catalogues and buy a couple more storage scopes and maybe a new vacuum chamber and pumps.

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

        Where I used to live, you used to be able to tell the upcoming end of half or full financial year by the state of the roadside as they spent leftover money on flowers & trees.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        @Arthur the cat

        I picked up some very easy cash 'teaching' a class that was never advertised because it was to clear out their budget money they needed to blow to justify their future demands.

      3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At Arthur the cat, re: vacuum pumps...

        <Austin Powers>Would those be Swedish by any chance? Yeah Baby!</Hairy Git>


      4. NeilPost Bronze badge

        It’s all about annual rebates which go directly back to the procurement agency who knocked up the contract.

        As an ex-Forte employee who worked briefly for Granada after a hostile takeover they were all quite open and happy that Granada Purchasing was a profit centre. Esp.. With their fat bonuses based on this and the consequential stiffing of end consumers with over inflated prices not allowed to buy elsewhere:

        Scottish Govt would be better inking (sic) a deal with Amazon, Printerland, Printbase etc... or buying compatibles from a Scottish equivalent of Viking Direct.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Leaving that aside though, framework contracts are a joke. Nice idea in principle to use public sector economies of scale to drive prices down, but has failed spectacularly.

      When I was in the public sector it was cheaper to buy outside the main framework contracts.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Yep, price gouging has been a major issue (IME) with the projects I've worked on

      2. NeilPost Bronze badge

        It’s private sector businesses too ...

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    I think a lot of people are using the Covid-19 pandemic as the latest excuse to say "Ah, we didn't see that coming so we can't do X, Y & Z", just like many people did with Y2K.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flash drives have a very short life...

    They get used once and are then left on a train / in a car park so that documents can "leak"...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So cheap?

    Well clearly the Scottish Government aren't printing much. £5000 at normal ink prices would buy you about 5 pages of an HP InkJet - that will be used up before midnight 'cleaning nozzles'.

    1. RM Myers Bronze badge

      Re: So cheap?

      Yep, that sounds about right for HP. A Canon inkjet, by contrast, would get at least 10 pages, maybe even 15 at low quality.

  5. ColinPa

    How much for a nut

    Reminds me of my father in the navy 40 years ago. He went to the ships stores to get a nut and bolt.. He was given a box of 144 of them. He complained - but was told that's the new way of working. He used the nut and bolt and left the box with the other 143 on the shelf in the engine room ... I expect it is still there.

  6. Lorribot

    So why do people print stuff out still?

    No really, surely the Scottish Public sector has better things to spend that money on? Bet they have managed not print anything in the last couple of months without any problems.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: So why do people print stuff out still?

      You find an answer to that, you let me know.

      I just had to tell a school teaching department that they are using three times the printing of the next nearest department.

      They were wondering why they don't have a budget. Because of covid, etc., the budget for the entire subject is now literally less than their printing budget on its own.

      Bonus: It's not even Art or English or something that you might expect to do a lot of printing.

      Modern 2020 school, with huge fees, complete remote operation for the last few months, and yet we're paying thousands upon thousands for printing, and churning through dozens of trees.

      In one of my previous schools, there was one printer. That was it. Everything went to the one printer. And because you had to walk to the printer to pick things up, and large jobs tied up the printer, nobody ever used it or needed to use it.

  7. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah, Ye Ken!

    I'll bet that sly bugger Hamish Macbeth is up to his elbows in this.

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