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IT equipment advice to schools
Headteachers have been urged to source their school's IT equipment only from accredited suppliers
Schools are being urged to source IT equipment through accredited suppliers after it emerged many were being duped into paying grossly inflated prices.
The Nationwide Association of Photocopier and Print Suppliers (NAPPS) issued the warning in the light of Monday's Panorama programme, which highlighted the problem that many schools have been left in financial difficulty after falling prey to aggressive sales tactics.
The BBC investigation also showed that many educational establishments were signing leases that left them paying up to 15 times the going rate for equipment such as computers and photocopiers.
NAPPS was set up to bring ethical change to the photocopier suppliers market, and by choosing suppliers that are accredited by it, headteachers can avoid falling prey to the practices exposed on the documentary.
NAPPS director Aaron Warham said on Tuesday: "The mis-selling of photocopiers and printers to schools and other public sector organisations is unacceptable and has been happening for many years.
"We are continuing to fight against these practices, which are certainly not confined to the companies that were investigated on last night's programme."
Bill Simmonds, chief executive of the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM), said: "When seeking new agreements, we urge schools to take advice from as many sources as possible, including NASBM, to safeguard themselves from dealing with non-reputable suppliers.
"Schools should check whether suppliers are accredited by trade associations like NAPPS which, via its code of conduct, is working hard to raise standards among suppliers in the industry. This will help to protect schools and other organisations going forward."
People can visit visit www.napps.org.uk for information on how to find NAPPS-accredited dealers.