Headlines: August 3rd, 2004

Local councils in Wales are joining up to get better deals from their suppliers. By appointing a single negotiator to represent the group they are able to lever the costs downwards. Following a pilot project for procuring telecommunication services, which produced savings of 1.5 million pounds, all councils in Wales have joined together in a move to reduce call charges. The savings from this collaborative procurement initiative are estimated at more than 6.7 million pounds which gives an average saving of 26 per cent on previous prices paid. The scheme is being widened to include NHS trusts and Assembly Sponsored Bodies.The Collective Procurement Project has been led by the Welsh Procurement Initiative. Richard Dooner, project manager said: “A collaborative approach has realised huge savings for the public sector in the area of telecommunications – so it’s clear that working together really does pay!”

Savings have also been made on a pilot project undertaken by councils and the Welsh Local Government Association for recruitment advertising. From this pilot it has been estimated that annual saving of more than 4 million pounds could be realised across all Welsh councils. The project made use of ‘Signpost’ advertising that enables job applicants to find out about key features of jobs they are applying for, such as job title, place of work, hours, salary and reference number, with more information available through a website. Although not a new concept for the private sector, this pilot project is the first of its kind to be used by local government and has already revealed a saving of between 50-70 percent on the cost of conventional newspaper advertising.

Anna Freeman, Head of Employment for the WLGU, says: “The results of this pilot are very encouraging. Not only are the monetary savings significant, but the study has also revealed that the number of hits to local authority websites has increased. Less administrative support is needed for this type of recruitment process as applicants are able to download forms from the web. The quality of applicants is just as good or even better in some cases.”