National Procurement Strategy fails to deliver savings for councils

21 Jun 16

Three quarters of English councils have failed to find procurement savings following the launch of the National Procurement Strategy for local government, according to research.

Freedom of information requests found that, of the 248 councils who had reviewed their procurement procedures since the introduction of the NPS two years ago, 186 (75%) had either not identified savings or had no record of savings achieved.

The strategy was launched at the Local Government Association annual conference in July 2014, setting out a vision for best practice for local government procurement in England.

In addition, the FoI results revealed that just 34% (105 of the 318) have carried out a review to specifically consider the strategy and make improvements to their procurement procedures. Almost half (45%) said they have carried out general or ongoing reviews but without specifically considering the strategy, while a fifth (21%) have not carried out any reviews.

The FoI requests were made by procurement technology company Blur Group. Chief executive Philip Letts said progress was being made but was patchy.

“Some larger councils are demonstrating their willingness to adopt best practice, embrace new technology, work closely with procurement partners and their suppliers. They are, not surprisingly, the authorities able to identify the most significant savings,” he stated.

“I urge all councils to commit the resource and time to understand and adopt the very best procurement practices. It’s an approach that ultimately protects key services. Every pound saved through better procurement is a pound saved for the taxpayer or a pound to re-invest in better public services.”

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