14 November 2002
The prospect of cash rewards for councils that have saved money by better procurement was held out by local government minister Christopher Leslie.
Speaking at the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government (Sopo) conference, he said: "We are discussing how we fund and finance improvement at the centre."
Leslie confirmed the government's backing for the recommendations in last year's Byatt report that councils should establish corporate procurement functions on a par with finance, performance management, legal and human resources.
"We are trying to persuade local authorities to give procurement the profile and attention it deserves," he said.
Sir Ian Byatt's warning that the new national forum for local government procurement meeting for the first time today must not try to impose a "one-size-fits-all" policy won backing from conference speakers.
Dave Wheller, outgoing Sopo chairman, said: "If the forum tries to impose a single solution on the whole of local government, it won't work."