Scotland's buyers urged to avoid English errors

8 February 2008
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08 February 2008 | Paul Snell

Scottish local authorities must avoid mistakes made by their English counterparts when trying to be make savings, a procurement expert has warned.

Ken Cole, former director of the London Centre of Excellence and now a partner at procurement consultancy SPS, said Scottish public services have responded well to the efficiency agenda. But, he warns, they must not fall into the same traps as English councils have done in the past few years.

Efficiency in Scotland has been driven by the publication of the 2006 McClelland review, which advocates savings on the £8 billion of annual local government spend north of the border.

Some of the key lessons for buyers, highlighted in a white paper written by Cole, were that local government spend should not be seen in isolation to other public service spend, procurement resources should be shared across services and collaboration must be embedded at the outset of any efficiency programme.

"The prize for Scottish public services is huge but the opportunities to get it wrong or get side tracked must be avoided. It's important that Scotland learns the lessons of English local government," he said.

The white paper is available for download at


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