'We also now have School IT staff doing MORE paper work and research into computers, best prices and so on.'
Bo****ks, We have always had to do this (If your talking about dedicated IT Staff), because Becta and LA's didn't and don't. There were frameworks for purchasing, but these have been ignored by LA's and by the majority of Schools.
To the open source crowd: make your products manageable to the scale that we need in school and I'll use your products! How many corporations use Linux on the desktop? - You are getting there but not nearly fast enough - Smoothwall is a brilliant example of it done correctly.
To the Government: Make the prefered suppliers of MIS systems stop hard coding and assuming that MS Office is on every machine.
A greater and much easier Saving would be made if a few local Schools got together and purchased machines once a year.
I don't think Crowne's £220k wage was ever justifiable. And if you look at the payscales on the Becta website they are all pretty disgusting for the amount of work they actually do.
Becta did make some good frameworks, but as they were ignored they have made no difference, each supplier/school has there own standards, and that mess is due to continue for some time. If they had been enforced we wouldn't be where we are now.