Headlines: August 19th, 2004

E-procurement is emerging as a key feature of the modernisation agenda in local government. It is estimated that councils could collectively save over one billion pounds each year on the costs of goods and services.The latest development is the appointment of a team of private sector consultants who will give direct support to councils to help develop e-procurement plans. Portsmouth City Council, the lead authority in the National e-Procurement Project, has issued a notice inviting suitably experienced organisations to tender for the consultancy work. Responses are required by 3 September 2004.

The team will approach all councils to find out what help they need to get e-procurement up and running. For those councils that decide to accept the offer of help, the team will assess where they are now with e-procurement and where they want to be in 2005. They will then help in drawing up an action plan to get to the 2005 vision.

The incentive for councils to take part in the e-procurement initiative is that the team’s reports will be taken into account when grants are allocated in response to the Implementing Electronic Government statements submitted last year. The e-procurement targets for 2005 specify that there should be paperless ordering, invoicing and payment.