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COUNCILS JOIN FORCES TO INCREASE BUYING POWER

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North and North East Lincolnshire councils have become among the first in the country to agree to join together to ...
North and North East Lincolnshire councils have become among the first in the country to agree to join together to increase their buying power. The councils have agreed to a partnership to develop a joint procurement service. The councils will have a combined buying power of£200m. It is estimated that each council will save around£300,000 a year thanks to the new joint service.

This will be more than just agreeing joint contracts. A new dedicated procurement unit with specialists from both councils will be created. This will replace both councils' current procurement operations.

The aim of the partnership arrangement is to:

- Benefit from the economies of scale and buying power of combined procurement spend.

- Generate greater efficiences and better value for money through working together.

- Achieve strict Government targets.

- Pool procurement knowledge, expertise and skills.

North Lincolnshire Council established a small procurement team in 2001. Since then the team have saved the council over£1.5m from spending on supplies, services and works. The council's procurement function is now rated 'strong' by the Audit Commission. The joint procurement service will help the council further develop its procurement service and identify further savings.

Jason Whaler, Strategic Procurement Manager and Head of the Joint Unit, said: 'This is a very exciting opportunity for both council's. North Lincolnshire Council has worked hard to achieve value for money from its procurement activities and is now realising the benefits from this work. Over the past few years we have managed to save significant amounts of money and helped improve services by having a very clear strategy, maintaining a strategic focus and targeting high value/high risk requirements.

'But to take this work further we need the combined buying power of two councils. Both councils buy similar goods, services and works spending similar amounts of money with many common suppliers. I am sure the new service will lead to more savings for both councils allowing us to provide better value for money'.

Dave Shaw, Deputy Director, Strategic Business Support, North East Lincolnshire, added: 'Developing a joint procurement service offers the potential to secure more value from existing resources and address the skills and capacity issues facing both councils.

'There have been other examples of councils delivering procurement effectively in partnership, and we believe a joint arrangement with North Lincolnshire Council is relatively easy to implement, because the councils deliver similar functions, are similar in size, use the same financial system and are geographically adjacent.

'As well as helping achieve government targets, the joint procurement service could

help both authorities achieve efficiency savings for the tax payers of North and North East Lincolnshire.'

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