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Net shopping to save time and money ...
Net shopping to save time and money

A new project could shave£2.5bn off local government's£25bn bill for goods and services.

IDeA Marketplace, set up by the Improvement & Development Agency, is local government's own electronic procurement solution.

The system enables councils to purchase everything they already buy electronically with potentially massive savings in both costs and time.

IDeA Marketplace's business director Gary Richardson says the scheme is an 'internet-based solution for all local government'.

He said: 'It currently costs the equivalent of£70 in council officer's time for every purchase. With marketplace and the workflow tools we would expect to reduce that cost by 70%.'

The IDeA believes the service could save 8% on goods and services by combining councils' purchasing power.

Saving 70% of purchasing time could reduce the amount of officer time given to procurement by 15%. That could save nearly£1bn if only a quarter of all local government purchases were made through IDeA Marketplace.

Luton launches virtual library

Luton Council has launched a virtual library for the town's internet users, aiming to meet the government targets for electronic service delivery.

The service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be completely free.

The site uses a unique design which makes it fast to download and navigate.

Jean George, the council's library manager, said: 'Not content with just showing information about our opening times, we wanted a more interactive facility people would find really useful. We have tried to match the wide range of services in a 'real-world' library with their best equivalents on the internet.'

Scottish sites for sore eyes

Scottish councils offer the best council websites in the UK but are the least ambitious in terms of the e-government services they plan to roll out in the future, according to a new report.

The report, The state of the e-nation in Scotland carried out by Consilium Technologies, is the most comprehensive analysis yet of the 32 Scottish council websites.

The report finds 84% of Scottish councils score top marks for content quality. But in terms of design, 75% of the sites surveyed were rated as average or below.

The best performers were Clackmannshire Council, Dundee and Edinburgh City Council followed by North Ayrshire , Renfrewshire and Stirling Councils.

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