May I ask your views on DSA Suppliers and equipment

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SWilliam
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I have a few questions about DSA suppliers. If anyone would like to comment on their experience, I would be very grateful.

There’s a DSA supplier 3 miles from my home, but all my computer equipment was supplied from a company on the other side of the country.

Is there a set laptop issued ? My supplier invoiced the funding body over £150 more than retail price for my laptop. If you look at it from the taxpayers point of view, there appears to be a lot of waste and price hiking for DSA awards.


What was your experience ?
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dodgy old geezer
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i think your right,they all seem to overcharge
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ExTraP
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I am in London and the supplier chosen is in Northamton or somewhere far. I have ditched them and going to buy all the equipment drectly from various online / high street shops, this way, I have managed to save the gov about £300 without any upgrade. I want to upgrade my computer, they want £300. I said no thanks, went on google, now with all the upgrades, I am still well withint the agreed sum of funding, still £5 chepaer than the DSA supplier. I work in IT, I know how much these things cost, half a day on goggle, I came up with my own quote. The only thing you have to remember is if you decide to go down the same route as me, you are to ressume all responsibilies for all equipment and insurance etc, which means if things go wrong, you are on your own. But thats the risk I am willing to take, how often does a printer or a scanner go wrong? And I seriouslty doubt the after sael service is very good from any of these suppliers. Like I said in my own thread here, I trust PC world (which is absolutely rubblsh) more than these DSA suppliers.

I am waiting for a final reply from this lady from SFE, then I should be allowed to buy everything myself. It's a little fiddly, but a little more work now to ensure a hassle free couple of years from these stupid suppliers is worth the time.
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SWilliam
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(Original post by ExTraP)
I have ditched them and going to buy all the equipment drectly from various online / high street shops,.
I wasn't given the option of choosing my own supplier. Some do, some don't.

I'm more curious to why I wasn't allocated the local DSA supplier ? Perhaps there is a little back scratching going on between some DSA assessors and their favoured suppliers. There is certainly some ridiculous prices being quoted for PC's that are either discontinued models or will be going out of spec within 10 months ( not good for a 4 year award ). For example laptop model XXX on ebuyer and in tesco = £310, from DSA supplier £475 + VAT.

My assessment was rushed ( 30 mins ) and I was just about handed everything on offer. It took a lot of pressure from me to cancel elements of the award that I didn't require. Hardly anything was explained to me about how the DSA system worked, it was after the event I found out I could have changed some elements of the award. The whole thing ( in my case ) highlighted how much tax payers money is being thrown away on fruitless services ( £90 an hour on a learning mentor - for god's sake ).. Some agencies appear to be earning a fortune out of DSA contracts.
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kerily
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Blimey, really? I think this depends on who does your assessment - mine lasted two and a half hours, I went through the sheet with the guy after to make sure I had the right things recommended to me, and I'm pretty sure the quotes will come for local suppliers and the like.
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ExTraP
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(Original post by SWilliam)
I wasn't given the option of choosing my own supplier. Some do, some don't.

I'm more curious to why I wasn't allocated the local DSA supplier ? Perhaps there is a little back scratching going on between some DSA assessors and their favoured suppliers. There is certainly some ridiculous prices being quoted for PC's that are either discontinued models or will be going out of spec within 10 months ( not good for a 4 year award ). For example laptop model XXX on ebuyer and in tesco = £310, from DSA supplier £475 + VAT.

My assessment was rushed ( 30 mins ) and I was just about handed everything on offer. It took a lot of pressure from me to cancel elements of the award that I didn't require. Hardly anything was explained to me about how the DSA system worked, it was after the event I found out I could have changed some elements of the award. The whole thing ( in my case ) highlighted how much tax payers money is being thrown away on fruitless services ( £90 an hour on a learning mentor - for god's sake ).. Some agencies appear to be earning a fortune out of DSA contracts.
Honestly, you CAN choose your own supplier. Not during the assessment stage or on the entitlement letter, but you can after all. My uni own supplier was willing to price match the agreed supplier, but still they are expensive. You dont have to go with the supplier SFE has chosen, you only have to go with the amount they have agreed to fund.

Call the DSA team and they will tell you exactly what I have told you. You can go for more than 1 supplier as long as the total cost doesn't not go over the agreed sum of funding or you are wiling to make up the difference.

My assessment was £650 +vat or sth like that, and it was something. They practically forced me to agree ro some IT training that costs £225 half day. My tutor told me if this is they way they wanna play the game then I should go and give them hard time by asking the most annoying questions. However, my mentor support is only £70 and my mentors are good, so I think they are worth every penny. :cool:

And by the way, if there is anything you want to change on your report, you can always go back to your assessor and discuss it, your relationship with them does not end when the assessment ended, it carries on until the end of you course or whenever your funding ends. If your studies needs increase half way through the course, or anything changes, your first point of contact with anything relating your DSA funding isn't SFE, it's your the assessment centre that carried out your initial needs assessment.
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fairy spangles
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My LEA paid something like £700 for the laptop and £500 insurance.

The keys have started to fall off - however apparently thats my fault for using them too much and or ive broken them myself even though they are coming off completely in tact according to the supplier. The battery wont charge, the charger broke years ago and I had to buy another one (well two that one broke aswell). The anti-virus got a virus - i didnt even know that could happen!! The screen has had it its beginning to go blue and purple one side. None of the above is covered in the LEA insurance. The only thing covered is hardware - what the bloody hell is hardware?

Why bother with the freaking insurance it would be nearly as cheap and a hell of alot less hassell to buy me a new one!
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hypocriticaljap
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Totally satisfied with the package and insurance I got. Got the kit from the recommended supplier.
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SWilliam
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(Original post by fairy spangles)
My LEA paid something like £700 for the laptop and £500 insurance.

The keys have started to fall off - however apparently thats my fault for using them too much and or ive broken them myself even though they are coming off completely in tact according to the supplier. The battery wont charge, the charger broke years ago and I had to buy another one (well two that one broke aswell). The anti-virus got a virus - i didnt even know that could happen!! The screen has had it its beginning to go blue and purple one side. None of the above is covered in the LEA insurance. The only thing covered is hardware - what the bloody hell is hardware?

Why bother with the freaking insurance it would be nearly as cheap and a hell of alot less hassell to buy me a new one!

What was the purpose of the insurance ? It should be for either extended warranty or for theft and damage. If not then you should have be given up to £95 a year towards insurance. I was under the impression the supplier had to provide warranty for the entire course if a computer was supplied.

Have you taken this up with your DSA assessor ?
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hypocriticaljap
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as above, my warranty is fully comprehensive cover for the duration of the course.
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ExTraP
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(Original post by SWilliam)
What was the purpose of the insurance ? It should be for either extended warranty or for theft and damage. If not then you should have be given up to £95 a year towards insurance. I was under the impression the supplier had to provide warranty for the entire course if a computer was supplied.

Have you taken this up with your DSA assessor ?
I think this depends on what the suppliers offer, mine off ****ty insurance and when I wanted to buy the equipment myself, SFE is not giving me extra money to buy the insurance, I have to juggle the money and have to include the cost of the insurance in the cost for equipement. They did howveer say if there is any shortfall, they would be happy to pay out from my general allowance. So I guess the extra payment could only be made when the supplier doesn't already include insurance.

And for the computer falling apart, my opinion is it's more of a warranty issue not insurance. It sounds to me that fairy spangles, your computer does have hardware issues; keys falling apart, screen playing up. All would have been covered under the apple warranty for a Mac, so why would it be any different for a PC? I would defo make a complaint to the supplier and if no luck, take it up to SFE. Rememeber, if a supplier is providing you with a piece of equipment, they also HAVE TO provide you with a warranty that lasts for your entire course.

Insurance and warranty are 2 slightly different things and all DSA equipment have to have both for the duration of the couse, so I was told.

Finally, may I ask which supplier it is? So perhaps we can all avoid it in the future?
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Taiko
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Backhanders was mentioned earlier in this thread. I have to say, from experience, that this did happen a bit from what I saw, although I would say it was down to one needs assessor. One specific supplier would be quoted in every assessment they done, and would always come out the cheapest quote. Doing own bits, other DSA-QAG approved suppliers could do it cheaper, but these were overlooked.

I always sent a disclaimer to any student purchasing their own equipment, stating that should anything go wrong with it, they'd be no recourse to my LEA and they would not be funded for a replacement. They had to sign this in order for me to release funds.
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thesyrianjackal123
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how about the general allowance is it paid directly to you in one sum or divided or not paid at all?
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ExTraP
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you'd have to claim your general allowance, you'd have to send in receipts of how much you have spent alongside with a form that they should have sent to you shortly after your entitlement letter. I have read it somewhere you make your claim once a term but on the actual form, it only says they don't deal with claim that is less than £10, so I guess you can make a claim once every £10 you have spent.
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garethstuart
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conncept northern in glasgow overcharges and provided me with a faulty livescribe pen and to be fair i want to complain as its not actually helped me at all!!!
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