Abstracts: November 6th, 2003

Local authorities spend over 40bn pounds each year providing essential services. A tradition of individual purchasing decisions by over 400 separate councils, often buying the same thing, means that they don’t take advantage of their collective buying power to negotiate lower prices or work with suppliers to develop better products and services. The National Procurement Strategy sets out how central and local government, working together with partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors, intend to set about improving local government procurement. The most innovative councils have already found ways to deliver significantly better services at lower costs. They have streamlined their procurement, worked in partnerships, redesigned the delivery of services, shared ‘back office’ systems and pooled their buying power.The Strategy has been written jointly by central and local government and involved many other partners. Key messages include: procurement is an essential element of cost effective and efficient services; the vision of better quality, cost effective services by 2006 will only be achieved if the Strategy is acted upon and councils need to take responsibility for action.

Published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in collaboration with the Local Government Association. The strategy is available at http://www.odpm.gov.uk/pns//DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2003_0219