North East of England presents report to improve public purchasing

14 July 2011





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15 July 2011 | Adam Leach

Buyers, suppliers and public sector commissioners in the North East of England are collaborating to improve public sector procurement in the region, according to a report.

The study by the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) assessed the success of the North East Improvement and Efficiency Partnership’s (NEIEP) collaborative procurement programme. Through this initiative, 12 local authorities worked closely with suppliers to improve the way public procurement is conducted in the region.

The main goals were; to increase the amount of contracts won by north-east based businesses, reduce the complexity of bidding processes and to conduct procurement more strategically so that it produced wider economic benefits.

The report highlighted a number of key milestones, including the development of a training programme for suppliers intended to educate them on how best to compete for bids. A formal network of authorities was also set up to focus efforts on generating business for the surrounding area, and the amount of data shared in relation to contracts was increased, to enable more informed decision making.

However, the report was critical of the level of awareness surrounding the programme, fearing “key businesses perhaps missed the chance to get more involved in influencing activity”. There was also disappointment over the fact that less than half of the documents used followed a uniform format. One of the issues raised during the programme was a need for documents across bodies to share a consistent format. The North Eastern Purchasing Organisation (NEPO), led by Ian Taylor, will now continue the work.

Ross Smith, head of policy and research at the NECC said: “Commitment to NEPO’s role in ensuring procurement activity is supportive of developing the private sector economy in the north east must be maintained, with supplier representatives continuing to have an important role within its governance structure. Local authorities must maintain their commitment to making NEPO work as a strategic procurement body.”

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