11 February 2008 | Jake Kanter
Local authority procurement in the north west of England should improve collaboration, supplier communication and inter-authority intelligence, according to a new report.
The review by the North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE), identified areas of buying which must be improved following the government's Comprehensive Spending Review.
Clare Poulter, who leads the Cumbria Procurement Initiative and compiled the report, said in a statement: "Collaboration to date has been, generally, poorly conducted and, in particular, the participating individuals have not been effectively empowered by their own management."
It called on councils to increase communication with suppliers and strengthen their procurement functions. The recommendations stated better deals could be achieved by creating a regional team of 10 people who could negotiate on behalf of councils with national suppliers.
The report also suggested councils should share procurement information online, as well as introduce a wider system of "quick wins". It also recommended organising a central system to develop best practise purchasing skills for buying construction, the north west's biggest spend area.
The NWCE's regional director, Colin Cram, said more effective management of spend would achieve "more for less" without harming the quality or scope of local services.