27 March 2003 | Robin Parker
East Riding of Yorkshire Council is to let longer-term supplier contracts and publish yearly procurement plans to address Audit Commission concerns.
Procurement manager Chris Allison said the first annual purchasing plan, which aims to show how local businesses can bid for the council's £60 million annual procurement contracts, will be published next week.
For consistency of supply and to reduce off-contract spend, many contracts will be longer than the previous period of up to one year.
An online procurement training package will also be put on the council's intranet.
The moves are part of an outward-looking approach to procurement, which will include more joint buying via the 11-authority Yorkshire-Humberside Procurement Forum.
The Audit Commission's best-value inspectors gave the authority's procurement a "fair" rating, criticising a "fragmented" approach to procurement, which they claimed had no shared vision or political lead.
Allison said the review unfairly lumped together the procurement unit and a warehousing and distribution arm that trades under the name "supplies", without assessing in which area weaknesses lie.