14 February 2002 | David Arminas
The London Borough of Merton has set up a corporate procurement group to help spread best-practice purchasing after a damning report by auditors.
The council developed the strategy last year and has begun to appoint purchasers from each department to the group.
A district auditor's report last month criticised the borough over a four-year, £600,000 contract to appoint a consultant as interim manager to run Merton's human resources department.
It said no business case was made for the decision. Initial competition papers had been lost and there appeared to be no competitive tendering process on £200,000 of consultancy work.
The report said the council could have breached European Commission procurement directive requiring contracts to be advertised throughout the EC.
Solomon Agutu, head of corporate law and procurement, said the borough had accepted the auditor's recommendations and a permanent head of HR starts this month.
He told SM: "The group is multi-disciplinary where the emphasis is to harness people's expertise. We are adopting codes of practice and one of the first adopted was to ensure we have a business case for outsourcing contracts."
Agutu said the code of practice for outsourcing was drawn up before the auditor's report.