Book News: November 14th, 2006

This paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers, commissioned by the DCLG, sets out a blueprint for developing a competitive and vibrant supply market and it describes a new way of looking at the local government commissioning role. The report follows two years of discussion between 300 commissioners in local government, Whitehall policymakers and service providers in the public, private and third sectors. A number of the recommendations are reflected in the White Paper, ‘Strong and Prosperous Communities’.The paper identifies many weaknesses in the local government services markets. They operate in a sub-optimal way, the buying power of local government is not leveraged effectively and the structure of supply does not closely reflect that of demand. In addition, the level of attention given to markets in policy development is neither sufficient nor appropriately focused.

There is need for a strategic commissioning approach to replace the ‘atomised’ style that now prevails. This would require better leadership for commissioning and procurement as well as a strengthening of the connection between commissioning, procurement and the strategic objectives of local authorities.

The markets considered in the report are: asset management and construction services; leisure services; public library services; neighbourhood and streetscene services; regulatory services; technology and transformation services; transport services; and waste management services. The total annual spend in these markets is 55 billion pounds.

Working papers will now be developed for each of these markets.

The paper is available at: