Headlines: January 7th, 2005

An electronic procurement system has been launched to serve thirty two NHS Trusts in the North East of England. The system will allow the Trusts, who spend move than 500 million pounds annually, to make up to 75,000 automated purchases each year. The new system links up to the Trust’s existing financial systems. Currently twenty two suppliers are taking part in the development.By adopting a collaborative approach and working across organisational boundaries all members of the group were able to share development costs and pool expertise.

The current system gives group members access to supplier managed electronic catalogues and an automated system for the issue and management of purchase orders. It also provides access to order status information. The next stage of the project will move into electronic invoicing.

The system was provided by UKprocure a leading provider of procurement solutions used by public sector buyers to trade electronically with their suppliers.

Procurement was identified in the Gershon review of efficiency as a key area for making savings The target is that central departments, NHS trusts and councils should have e-procurement solutions in place by the 31st December 2005. This should include a minimum paperless ordering system and invoicing and payment scheme.