17 November 2005 | Helen Gilbert
The government has launched a strategy that aims to unify fire and emergency services procurement.
The National Procurement Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Service 2005-2008 is the first document of its kind for the sector, and identifies how purchasing will be managed at national, regional and local levels. It had been expected in April but was delayed until this month.
Purchasing is contributing to the £105 million of cashable savings for fire services in 2007/08, targeted following the Gershon Review. Local government minister Phil Woolas unveiled the strategy at the Fire 2005 Conference and Exhibition in Manchester.
From April 2006, FiReBuy will act as the procurement agency for major operational products and services. It is expected to achieve efficiencies by pooling purchasing power, skills and resources to buy service-specific items.
Terry Brewer, interim chief executive of FiReBuy and head of procurement for the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: "Speaking with one voice should stimulate industry to provide us with better products."
Smaller items such as torches and stationery will continue to be bought at a regional level.