Frequently asked questions

Who are E2BN?

E2BN formed in 1999, as a regional broadband consortium. They remain a not-for-profit organisation with a board of directors of local authority representatives. E2BN own and let the framework on a 4 year term to WCL UK Ltd. E2BN will appear on all contracts as the 'contracting authority'.

Who are WCL UK?

WCL UK won the E2BN framework tender so are therefore custodians of Everything ICT until 2023. All official documentation (e.g. invoices) will be from WCL UK.

Do I need to register to use the framework?

For customers, there's no registration necessary. It's as simple telling us what your requirements are, recieving a quote and sending a PO. For suppliers, there is an evaluation process in order to be awarded a place. The framework carries out extensive due dilligence on any supplier that applies to be on the framework. We are therefore able to recommend any of our approved suppliers in confidence, knowing they will deliver best value every time.

Who will invoice us?

Invoices will always come from WCL UK Ltd. We then pay the relevant supplier(s).

How do I know I'm getting best value from a Direct Award?

This question comes up almost daily. The idea of a Direct Award is very attractive to most as it saves so much time, money and effort over running a tender. However, it’s a change from the traditional procurement methods so it’s understandable to want validation. When it comes to ensuring value for money on equipment (rather than services) the process negates the need for a tender and is as follows:

  • Manufacturers are multi-national corporations who produce hundreds of thousands of units in factories around the world.
  • They typically have what’s known as a ‘channel model’ where they sell in bulk to Distributors; Distributors sell to Resellers; and Resellers sell to individual customers.
  • Distributors are typically ‘national’. They are wholesalers with one or more warehouses in a country. They buy thousands of units at a time and store them ready for sale to Resellers.
  • Resellers are ‘local’ and sell direct to customers. They typically buy small numbers of units (anything from 1 to hundreds) from a Distributor when a customer places an order.
  • Most Manufacturers and Distributors run what’s commonly known as a “Deal-Reg” scheme. Deal registration is when a Reseller says “I’ve got a customer who is interested in buying X units, mark that deal as mine”. This does two things. Firstly, the Reseller gets given the best price for those units. Secondly, it stops other resellers going to that customer and undercutting the price and undermining the sales process. Other resellers can express an interest in a deal, but won’t be given the best pricing for those units. If a customer says “I don’t want to buy from Reseller 1, I want to buy from Reseller 2 instead” they can of course do that, but at that point Reseller 2 has to effectively buy the units from Reseller 1. Because Reseller 2 needs to make a profit to survive, that additional margin is usually passed on to the customer.
Everything ICT have been developing relationships with Manufacturers (e.g. Dell, Cisco, Lenovo) to try and ensure that Everything ICT customers can get access to that nationally best pricing. This has been very challenging as it cuts across the traditional Deal-Reg schemes, but the Manufacturers see a distinct advantage in being aligned to the framework so are prepared to enter into arrangements with us, which is great because we have better visibility on pricing and therefore value for money for customers. One of the challenges we often get is “I can go onto Google and get it cheaper”. My answer to that is yes you can, but be aware of the following:
  • You can usually buy one or two units, not the quantities you need
  • There are numerous examples of buying what are known as “Grey Imports”. This is typically kit built and destined for another market (e.g. Asia) and comes without warranty, support or backup.
  • If something goes wrong (e.g. kit gets stolen in transit; or doesn’t work when you try to connect it to your network – we have examples of both) then it’s your problem to sort. If you buy through Everything ICT and something goes wrong, it’s our problem. We’re your insurance policy.
So with that background knowledge, I come back to the exam question about how do we ensure value for money on equipment for customers. The 2 key things we do on a daily basis to help are:
  • Soft internal benchmarking against resellers. We do thousands of orders each year so we can do quick internal comparisons against other deals to ensure best value.
  • Testing a similar specification for a different manufacturer (e.g. comparing laptops from Dell against similar devices from HP or Fujitsu) to see if there are better deals on equipment that will do the job just as well.

Who can use the framework?

The framework is open to any public sector organisation to use.