27 October 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
College governors and senior managers should raise the importance of improving procurement, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.
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 this week, the report said procurement liaison officers should investigate opportunities to work together with nearby schools, universities, local authorities and other colleges to make savings.
The NAO's report also advises colleges to look at how it uses e-procurement. Elsewhere this month, technology consultancy PA Consulting Group and The Centre for Procurement Performance announced the development of a pilot project known as 'The Marketplace for Schools'.
It will provide schools with a low cost e-procurement and supplier content management system and give them access to regional and national contracts that could offer increased value for money.