27 April 2006 | Anusha Bradley
More than two-thirds of local authorities are helping small suppliers to adopt e-procurement, according to findings from the National e-Procurement Project (NePP).
In the survey of 125 county, metropolitan and unitary councils, over half achieved an "excellent" score by helping small local suppliers to trade electronically and by providing support to foster local economic development.
But Martin Scarfe, NePP chairman and financial adviser at the London Borough of Newham, said a survey of his borough's suppliers found trading with small firms had fallen by 9 per cent since e-procurement was introduced.
The NePP survey found 42 per cent of respondents had not yet considered the risk of e-procurement to their local small suppliers.
Of the 27 per cent of authorities not achieving the NePP targets, 21 per cent are in the process of implementing improvements or planning to do so - only 6 per cent have no plans in place.
Peter Duschinsky, a consultant for the NePP, said some councils used the EU procurement definition of local - which defined it as within the EU - as an "excuse" not to engage with small suppliers in their own boroughs.
District councils were not included in the survey because their e-procurement programmes were less developed, he added.
Last month a survey of 120 global companies by Aberdeen Research found 61 per cent would abandon suppliers that do not trade electronically.