23 March 2007 | Antony Barton
Two councils in Scotland have joined forces to introduce a centralised purchasing unit (CPU), but each authority will use a separate e-procurement system.
A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council told supplymanagement.com the CPU would control purchasing for itself and Aberdeen City Council, which use many of the same suppliers. A team will be in place from mid April, with ongoing recruitment, and initial areas of spend focus will be school dinners, taxis and recruitment.
The two e-procurement systems will also be launched at the same time. Aberdeen City Council will install eProcurement Scotland (ePS) to control maverick spend in the authority. This is a system procured by the Scottish Executive for the whole of the public sector in Scotland. The service has been fully operational since 2002 and is expected to generate annual savings of £200 million.
Aberdeenshire Council, however, has rejected the executive's recommendations and chosen Oracle's iProcurement system. This is despite the executive's policy that local authorities and public sector bodies should use ePS because it allows access to collaborative content and allows stronger negotiation with suppliers. Twelve out of 32 councils in Scotland have so far installed ePS.
The Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman said it already had an Oracle finance system, so it made sense to integrate a procurement system with the council's own finance system than to introduce one across the two councils.