20 September 2001
The London Borough of Camden is to form of a strategic procurement unit in an effort to tackle a series of problems including adversarial approaches to supplier relations and confusing contracts.
Alison Lowton, solicitor for the council and co-ordinator of the project, said a formal procurement strategy for its £255 million annual budget would move buying practices away from the legacy of compulsory competitive tendering.
"We have to change the way we approach contracting, as it is still too adversarial," she said. "Part of this will involve making standing orders shorter and less prescriptive, but with more coherent guidelines and greater strategic support."
The move comes from the council's own best-value review last year, which identified a fragmented approach to purchasing that failed to benefit from economies of scale.
By the end of the year, the council will appoint a strategic procurement manager to oversee all council purchasing, although Lowton dismissed the idea of centralising procurement. The council will also introduce purchasing cards and an e-procurement system.