02 November 2006
College governors and senior managers should raise the importance of improving procurement, according to the National Audit Office (NAO). Its report, Improving procurement in further education colleges in England, said institutions reduce the resources available to learners if they fail to seize savings opportunities.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which funds England's 384 further education colleges, estimates that from an annual procurement expenditure of £1.6 billion, colleges could make £75 million savings by March 2008.
The NAO said while this is achievable, it will not happen unless they improve procurement by drawing on professional expertise and collaborating with others. Published last week, the report said procurement liaison officers should investigate opportunities to work together with nearby schools, universities and local authorities, as well as other colleges, to make savings.
It also suggested colleges improve their management of suppliers, by reviewing performance and benchmarking it.