19 July 2007 | Helen Gilbert
Eighty per cent of the £42 billion councils spend on external contracts goes to just 8 per cent of suppliers.
The Regional Centres of Excellence (RCE) research, Delivering Efficiency Now… Laying the Foundations for the Future, published last week, also highlighted inconsistencies in prices across the country. It cited one council paying as much as 20 times more than another for the same item.
Rob Sykes, chair of the Chief Executives Task Force, said the research provides a "strong argument" for councils to change their current procurement habits and seek better ways of working.
Practical examples of how some of the 400 RCE-funded projects are delivering cash savings and helping to improve service delivery are included in the booklet.
"Times are tough for local government," Sykes said. "It is facing calls for greater efficiency and better services against a backdrop of rising demands and a tightening of the public purse. This booklet shows the nine Regional Centres of Excellence are playing a crucial part in helping it rise to the challenge."