17 October 2002 | Liam O'Brien
A government "toolkit" to accelerate the introduction of local authority e-procurement has been criticised.
Delivering E-Procurement - launched by Local Government Online (LGOL) last week at the House of Lords - offers guidance on how to plan e-procurement implementation.
It is intended to help councils meet the government's target of making 90 per cent of routine purchases online by 2005.
But Ken Cole, chair of the CIPS information systems committee and partner of Strategic Procurement Services, said: "You can't crack e-procurement until you've done procurement.
"A lot of local authorities are still struggling to find out what they are spending and whom they are spending it with."
Cole, who has worked on procurement for eight councils, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office, questioned whether the 2005 target was valid because low-value, high-volume purchases only accounted for 5 per cent of purchasing spend.
The criticisms were rejected by Caroline Stanger, chair of the LGOL National E-procurement Project.
"The project includes advice right from the beginning: from strategic procurement all the way to e-procurement.
"We will be helping them from the word go - we are not going straight to e-procurement."
• The LGOL National E-procurement Project website is www.lgolpathfinder.gov.uk/eprocurement