16 January 2003
Public-sector purchasers in Norfolk have teamed up to improve vetting of common suppliers.
Under plans being drawn up by public agencies, prospective suppliers will need only be evaluated by one body against a commonly agreed criterion.
The network is led by Norfolk County Council and includes seven district and city councils, the police authority, three NHS trusts and the mental health care trust. Purchasers will pool resources, identify common goals and determine the district's overall purchasing spend.
Colin Bottjer, purchasing manager at Norfolk County Council, said: "We were using many common suppliers and all asked the same questions when evaluating them. It's a costly business for suppliers to do this all the time."
He described as "groundbreaking" the improved communication between local authorities and NHS trusts.