By Vivienne Russell | 26 April 2012
The Local Government Association is consulting councils on a ‘procurement pledge’ to citizens, with the aim of securing better value from the £62bn councils spend each year on goods and services.
But any collective agreement by councils to co-ordinate and improve spending should not just pander to the interests of big business, the LGA adds.
According to the Local Government Procurement Pledge, councils will strive to: deliver value for public money; drive local economic growth and regeneration; and provide inclusive services from a diverse range of suppliers.
To meet these objectives, councils will increase efforts to communicate with suppliers and trade bodies as well as service users and citizens. They will develop procurement skills and expertise and introduce processes that are less bureaucratic and burdensome, according to the pledge.
The LGA said it would also be seeking support from the Cabinet Office to help councils navigate complex European Union procurement rules and ‘put procurement back into the hands of local government’.
Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA’s improvement board, said councils were committed to providing better value for money to taxpayers as well as improving services.
He added: ‘There is a desire among town halls to build consensus with the government on this issue, but it is important that any agreement isn’t shaped around the interests of big business.
‘The Local Government Procurement Pledge seeks to address the issues which councils have previously raised about the government’s procurement proposals and the complexity of European Union rules around the issue.’
The consultation runs until June 8.