11 May 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
The procurement teams at North and North East Lincolnshire councils have merged to increase their buying power.
The joint procurement service will have a combined spend of £200 million. The two unitary councils hope the move will save around £300,000 a year.
Jason Whaler, strategic procurement manager and head of the joint unit, told SM: "Collaboration is nothing new, 15 per cent of our spend is through collaboration in different shapes.
"This is about having a single team for two councils. We want this to go beyond traditional boundaries, be more ambitious and to get into more strategic areas," he said.
The new combined team, which comprises six full-time staff, is responsible for influencing all procurement including supplies, services and works. In addition to commodity areas, it hopes to be able to work together on capital expenditure projects including construction, highways services, IT and more.
Whaler said this would be made possible because work previously done by two separate teams would only be done once. "If we strip out duplication of effort it frees people up to take on new tasks."
He added that the merger was helped by the fact that the councils had similar spend profiles, were geographically close and used many of the same suppliers.