Headlines: October 23rd, 2003

The Local Government Association has teamed up with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to develop a tool designed to help local authorities deliver real improvement in the services they provide for their communities. The National Procurement Strategy for Local Government was launched by Local Government Minister, Phil Hope.Procurement is seen as a critical issue for all councils and is also a key component in the Government’s modernisation agenda for local government. The joint strategy for councils has been drawn up to ensure that value for money and efficiency savings are obtained on a continuing basis.

The strategy also sets out the need for improvements to be made to the way authorities manage procurement, which is a key element of Comprehensive Performance Assessment, and for authorities to work with a range of quality service providers. It has been developed in response to recommendations by Sir Ian Byatt.

Local councils spend around 40 billion pounds each year buying essential goods and services and the National Strategy puts forward strategic objectives that aim to deliver real improvements on the ground over the next three years. Local authorities themselves are responsible for delivering the strategy and meeting the milestones it sets out. The Government, the LGA and its specified bodies will provide support, guidance and encouragement to the councils.

Phil Hope said procurement had a major impact on all aspects of service delivery and performance outcomes and the implementation of the strategy would help realise the vision of higher quality services and help councils to achieve their strategic objectives and secure better value for money in their procurement decisions.

The National Procurement Strategy is available from the ODPM website at www.odpm.gov.uk