14 December 2009 | David Matthews
UK local authorities must boost joint purchasing to protect front-line services, according to the head of a procurement consortium.
Peter Barclay, alliance manager of the Midlands Highways Alliance (MHA) – a group of 12 councils that purchase highways services together – said collaboration would be crucial to getting the most from increasingly restricted spending budgets.
“We’re all expecting cutbacks in our capital expenditure. If you save more on procurement you can spend more on the actual highway services themselves,” he told SM
It follows last week’s pre-budget report, which called for increased collaborative buying to help the public sector save £12 billion over the next four years
The MHA has saved more than £2.4 million since it was formed in 2007 and is hoping to save a further £11 million by 2011.
Greater buying power has enabled the authorities to negotiate highways maintenance and improvement contracts as a block, cutting out the cost of tendering separate deals. Barclay said the arrangement has also reduced risk, improved supplier relations and increased innovation.