05 August 2004
Norfolk County Council will focus on hard cash savings wherever possible as it puts together plans to meet chancellor Gordon Brown's spending review savings targets.
Jane Waring, the council's new head of corporate procurement, said it had plans even before Brown's speech last month to make savings on its £500 million annual spend, which includes in education and social care.
It aims to save £3.5 million in five years, "but this is real cash-releasing savings and not cost avoidance", she said.
Waring was previously associate director of procurement at Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust, with an annual budget of £50 million.
She ran a shared service for the trust and two primary care trusts, advised on European Union procurement rules, and worked on the early stages of implementing an e-procurement system.
Waring said the review puts purchasers in the NHS and local government under the same pressure to make savings.
"In both sectors you need communication skills to deal with people who are not familiar with best practice," she said.
Tim Byles, Norfolk County Council's chief executive, is leading a taskforce of chief executives into how local authority procurement can meet the spending review's savings target of £3 billion by 2007-08.