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NEW CENTRES OF PROCUREMENT EXCELLENCE ANNOUNCED

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Support for local authorities in implementing good procurement ...
Support for local authorities in implementing good procurement

practice has been given a boost by the announcement of nine centres

of procurement excellence.

The new centres will drive innovative change in procurement by

providing expertise to other councils and by building on existing

good practice.

The launch of the new centres marks a fundamental step towards

assisting local authorities across the country in implementing the

National Procurement Strategy for Local Government.

The new regional centres of procurement excellence are:

North EastGateshead MBC

West Midlands Worcestershire CC

South WestDorset CC

North WestTameside MBC

South EastKent CC

Yorkshire and HumbersideLeeds City Council

East MidlandsNottinghamshire CC

East of EnglandNorfolk CC

LondonAssociation of London Government on

behalf of the London Boroughs

Announcing the nine centres, local government minister Phil Hope

said:

'Following the launch of the National Procurement Strategy for Local

Government in October 2003, today marks another important stage in

our joint working with the LGA to improve public services and achieve

better value for money.

'We need to be certain that the£40bn per year that councils

spend buying goods and services is managed with efficiency,

innovation, resourcefulness and prudence.

'I have been keen to establish these centres as soon as possible,

because we need to start now if we are going to meet the milestones

set out in the National Procurement Strategy, especially those for

2004.'

The joint ODPM/LGA capacity building fund will provide up to£3.6m

funding per annum for the centres for the financial years

2004/5 and 2005/6.

Welcoming the announcement, LGA chairman Jeremy Beecham

said:

'Delivering good quality public services for all citizens, is local

government's top priority. The establishment of regional centres of

excellence will be a vital step in ensuring the success of the

National Procurement Strategy, by enabling more effective and

flexible local collaboration between councils in regional areas.

'Building on, and promoting their own good practice and effective

partnership working with other sectors, councils can help to make

their local success story become a national one. This is not only

good news for local authorities and their partners in central

government and other agencies, but most importantly good news for

communities who will see the results in increasingly better quality

and better value public services.'

NOTES

1. The National Procurement Strategy was launched in October last

year and sets out challenging milestones for councils to meet by

2006. The ODPM, LGA, IDeA and 4ps have established a number of

programmes and activities to provide support and enhance councils'

ability to achieve these milestones. See

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_023394.hcsp

2. The new centres of procurement excellence authorities have

demonstrated best practice through strategic leadership, use of

innovative technology, project management, and performance

measurement. Their skills and experience will result in efficiency

savings and increased value for money in procurement across the

country.

3. Each centre of procurement excellence is hosted by an authority

that will project manage the centre on behalf of other authorities

and take responsibility for managing the funding and employing staff.

Host authorities are expected to work in close co-operation with

other authorities in the region.

4. Representatives from wider stakeholder groups such as the private

sector, voluntary, social enterprise, community sector suppliers,

regional development agencies and other public sectors will be

involved to ensure openness and encourage healthy debate about best

practise in the context of local needs from all perspectives.

5. Procurement continues to feature as one of the government's top

policy priorities for raising the standards and efficiency of public

services in local government and throughout the public sector.

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