Shropshire, Cheshire and Chester take road to collaboration

5 November 2010

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.”

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