21 March 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
Five councils were this week awarded 'beacon' status for their procurement operations by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Leeds City Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council were all winners in the "delivery of quality services through procurement" category.
To be named as beacons they had to demonstrate service excellence, innovation and a determination to share their expertise.
Wakefield was praised for embedding strategic purchasing and e-procurement with a new team in a short time and Leeds for championing public sector procurement reform.
Staffordshire was commended for its innovation and partnership working, strong leadership from senior managers and elected members at Rotherham was highlighted and Cambridgeshire was noted for its focus on efficiency and continuous improvement.
They will retain the status for about a year during which time they are expected to work with local authorities that are not so good at procurement to improve standards.
Procurement was one of 10 categories in this year's beacons event. The themes change every year.
All local authorities, including fire and police, can apply to become a beacon. Government ministers make the final decision based on recommendations made by an independent advisory panel.