5 November 2010 | Helen Gilbert
Councils in the North West hope to cut spend on highways
maintenance contracts by at least 10 per cent through joint purchasing.
Shropshire Council intends to
team up with Cheshire Westand Chester Borough Council
to prepare contracts that will replace their existing maintenance deals when
they expire in 2012.
Each council spends around £20 million annually on highways
upkeep. The new collaborative approach is likely to increase efficiencies and
reduce the overall costs of providing the services.
Under the plans, currently being considered by the cabinet,
the councils would also be able to share the costs of legal and professional
advice required when procuring large contracts.
Shropshire Council would be the lead authority in seeking
the most beneficial contract for each authority. However, the procurement would
be arranged so that each authority could opt to award its contract to a
different supplier if it was in each individual council’s best interest.
Martin Taylor-Smith, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for
transport and IT said: “If eventually our contracts were to be awarded to a
single contractor then there are opportunities for us to make savings in
contract management and support service costs.
“These savings are currently unknown as we are still
in the very early stages of this process. However, they would be reflected in
reduced contract rates to both councils.”