Procurement practitioners can help cash-strapped local authorities by thinking more commercially about procurement outcomes, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
In a draft IT procurement strategy, currently open for consultation, LGA said local council buyers should use outcome specifications among other methods to “maximise every commercial opportunity to generate revenue”.
The National Technological and Digital Category Procurement Strategy said many procurement staff in local government have already “become more commercially minded, understanding and realising the benefits from all funding streams including how contracts can be developed to generate sustainable income”.
It suggested councils generate revenue from their technology suppliers through concession contracts, where suppliers pay to install wireless equipment on council assets. This could subsidise connectivity for residents and local businesses.
The introduction and development of 5G mobile networks provide a new opportunity for councils to do this, it added.
The document also includes advice on other areas of technology procurement. It suggests that councils:
- approach the market early, conduct pre-market engagement and spend time researching good practice
- incorporate forward planning into the commissioning process to avoid being locked into out-dated legacy systems down the line
- consider sharing back-office systems with other local and district authorities to aggregate buying power
- use of SMEs, and encourage first tier suppliers to use SMEs, to realise pre-defined social value
- design online services with citizens, businesses and other stakeholders to ensure they meet real needs
- use “vanilla” rather than custom solutions to increase compatibility
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