15 November 2001
A group of London borough councils are to pilot a local government trading exchange.
It was developed by Best Value Procurement, an e-government service provider set up in September by former members of BestValueZone, which closed after its owner Just2Clicks folded in August.
Newham Borough Council is co-ordinating the project, and has begun sample trading with six high-volume suppliers. Lewisham, Barnet and Tower Hamlets councils are also to pilot the e-marketplace.
Best Value Procurement aims to attract all of London's 32 borough councils by Christmas, before approaching authorities outside the capital.
Martin Scarfe, Newham's technical finance manager, admitted that the scheme was ambitious. "Some will never join a consortium, and there's also internal politics because we're leading the project," he said.
The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) will soon launch a rival marketplace. Peter Howarth, a consultant to IDeA, said discussions were taking place at the moment.