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Councils have become increasingly efficient, and procurement is at the forefront of this (LGC, 6 August). ...
Councils have become increasingly efficient, and procurement is at the forefront of this (LGC, 6 August).

It is not a new concept that needs to be sold to chief executives. Councils already share resources and operate in consortia. Public sector and public/private partnerships are commonplace. But given the wide range of services local government is responsible for, not all areas are catered for in the marketplace.

Care services are at a crisis point which can only be resolved through market development - but the development of small or medium enterprises is almost ignored by the Gershon report in its drive for economies of scale.

The greatest advance in attitude towards procurement in local government was the insistence by Sir Ian Byatt, chair of the Delivering Better Services for Britain taskforce, that procurement be properly resourced. The benefits of professionally trained procurement staff cannot be overstated. However this requires investment, not budget cuts or retention of local savings by central government.

The Regional Centre of Procurement Excellence has been set huge targets and unrealistic timescales in which to achieve them, and it will need all our support.

John Willis

Chief executive, Salford City Council

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