Headlines: May 20th, 2005

Almost a million pounds of public money has been saved by the new all-Wales contract from the Welsh Procurement Initiative in buying IT equipment. The framework agreement for PC’s, laptop computers and printers was awarded via an e-auction earlier this year.Figures from the Welsh Procurement Initiative show that the agreement is making a significant contribution towards helping the Welsh Assembly meet its target of an annual three per cent efficiency saving in procurement costs. Reports say that in only two months, public sector organisations working in collaboration had made real savings.

In its first month, WPI reported an expenditure of a million pounds on IT equipment, and an estimated 336,000 pounds saving across the 44 organisations signed up to the framework. By the end of the second month, spending had grown to 2.9 million pounds and estimated savings were put at 957,000 pounds.

Kerry Hussell, Programme Manager for Value for Money Improvement with the WPI said the level of participation in the framework, even in these early stages, had been extremely encouraging. By having a single organisation leading tendering on behalf of the whole public sector it was possible to save time, resources and ultimately money across Wales.

“This framework is an excellent illustration of the benefits of the initiatives we are working on across Wales to contribute towards the Assembly target of 120 million pounds in procurement efficiencies by 2010,” he added.

Coleg Gwent, which worked with the WPI to lead the establishment of an all-Wales agreement, focused on IT equipment after that was identified as an area of high spending in further education. Mark Gwilym, procurement manager at the college said it had been keen to adopt a new way of buying goods and services, not just for itself but also for other members of the Welsh Further Education Purchasing Consortium. The e-auction was seen as the best way forward for everyone involved.

“Although there’s a lot of work in setting this up, innovative procurement practices such as this can deliver significant, genuine savings that can benefit all of the public sector in Wales,” he said, adding that it was also important to recognise the parts played by the other IT and Procurement stakeholders in the project team, including local authorities, the NHS, education and the police.

Aled Williams, the IT Services Manager for Dyfed Powys Police gave an example the sorts of savings that could be made through the contact. The force had been able to buy a mid range machine for up to 30-35 per cent less than was possible before