18 July 2007 | Paul Snell
North-west councils could save over £560 million by 2011 if they aggregate supplier spend.
Authorities in the region control £6.5 billion a year. Analysis by the North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE) found huge opportunities to rationalise expenditure. These steps, it claimed, would streamline the one million sub £50 invoices processed each year.
Greater cooperation would also help manage relationships with the 7,000 suppliers used by more than one council in the region. These represent more than two-thirds of total annual spend in the north west.
The NWCE said councils should target reduced supplier spend to meet the 3 per cent budget cuts required for local government by the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Clare Poulter, project director at NWCE, said: "Reducing third-party spend is just about the most straightforward way to achieve cashable savings. Management of the spend will be achieving 'more for less'."
The NWCE is to offer its services to help authorities meet targets. The project will include surveying procurement departments, looking at their requirements and then making recommendations for improvements.