Councils could make greater savings and give council tax payers better value by improving their procurement processes, according to a report published yesterday.
The Review of Arrangements for Efficiencies from Smarter Procurement in Local Government, carried out by Bill Roots, former Westminster City Council Chief Executive, examines the procurement of goods, services and capital purchases to identify ways to make further efficiency savings.
The review finds that although there has been an improvement in procurement practices in recent years it is “very apparent” scope for further value for money exists.
The report challenges councils to ‘spring clean’ their procurement systems and calls for greater support from Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPS) by increasing the practical procurement advice and ‘best buy’ information they hold.
Key recommendations include promoting better working between councils and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), publishing an annual report on efficiency savings and the appointment of a Procurement Champion to co-ordinate the sharing of best practice.
Commenting yesterday Roots said: “The recommendations I have set out will help drive forward the work to make local government procurement practices even more efficient and give council taxpayers greater value for money.”
The Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review called for English councils to collectively make £4.9bn of cash saving efficiency gains with the expectation that nearly 60per cent (£2.8bn) would come from smarter procurement.
Welcoming the Roots Review’s findings, Local Government Minister John Healey said: “In the current economic climate councils need to make every council tax pound stretch that much further, and one way efficiency savings can be found is through smarter procurement practices.”
“In many cases councils are already delivering significant savings but, with everyone feeling the pinch, they must examine every function to see how they can work even more efficiently to keep council tax down.”