19 February 2010 | Jake Kanter
Councils in Scotland must urgently improve their purchasing to cope with “tough times” ahead, according to the Accounts Commission for Scotland.
Its annual local government review out yesterday, said councils saved £32 million in 2008-09 through procurement, but there remained room for improvement.
The report said there was “substantial scope” to boost procurement data. “Most councils have relatively high levels of expenditure that are not part of established contracts and this raises questions about whether they are securing the supply of goods and services at the best quality and price,” it said.
Other areas that need to be strengthened include collaborative purchasing and use of e-procurement. This could increase buying power, cut transaction costs and generate savings, the report said.
“With budgets set to tighten even further and demand for services set to increase, councils need to continue to think radically about service design,” said John Baillie, chair of the Accounts Commission.
“More effective workforce planning and management and further progress on asset management and procurement are essential.”