Book News: May 13th, 2008

This final report on the strategy from Communities and Local Government highlights progress achieved and aspiration for the future.

The Regional Centres of Excellence have been critical to the success of the transformation in procurement. They have played a key role by supporting local authorities to implement the strategy milestone and supported around 400 live projects and strategies for unlocking cashable savings in the areas of major external spend. Their work will continue to feature in this transformation story.

The strategy has been a catalyst for the development of a more strategic approach to procurement in local government and has created a platform for the realisation of efficiency gains and more sustainable procurement. Local government has risen to the challenge of the efficiency agenda and the growing degree of collaboration among councils and across the wider local public sector has created a platform for the next phase: the transformation of local public services.

The report highlights achievements including 3.1 billion pounds efficiency gains achieved by end 2006/07, 46 per cent of councils now working with their Regional Centre of Excellence on improving procurement performance, up from 14% in 2004, more than half of councils involved in joint commissioning of services compared to 31 per cent in 2004 and a quarter of councils involved in sharing of other corporate functions.

The report stresses that more can be done because smarter procurement is a fundamental driver for securing better outcomes and greater efficiency. Some targets have not been met and councils that have not focused attention on them are urged to do so.

The report is available from DCLG.