24 January 2007 | Antony Barton
Local authorities should reduce their consultant spend every year, according to online guidance published today, which aims to change the way councils procure consultants.
Funded by the London Centre of Excellence, the online guide has been produced by the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Hounslow in a bid to make a 10 per cent year-on-year saving on consultancy spend.
The Commissioning toolkit for the procurement of consultancy and professional services describes how to achieve good value from consultants and encourages councils to make better use of their own resources first. It shares best practice and advises on collaborative procurement.
A spokesman for the Regional Centres of Excellence told Supplymanagement.com a one-day workshop for service managers would accompany the toolkit. This training, provided by LondonMet Enterprises, will focus on market research, the need for consultants and how to monitor their performance, drafting specifications and improving negotiation skills.
The move was prompted by the increasing use of consultants by the public sector. A report from the National Audit Office, released this month, revealed that spending on consultants across the sector had risen by 33 per cent in two years.
Director of the London Centre of Excellence, Ken Cole, said: "We want to see higher standards of commissioning and substantial efficiency gains in a significant area of public expenditure."
The other eight Regional Centres of Excellence in England will examine how to develop the toolkit for their regions.
To view the toolkit see www.lcpe.gov.uk