There is no doubt in my mind that the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) play a key role in helping local government and our partners deliver better services more efficiently - and their leadership on procurement is central to this.
RIEPs have supported authorities to deliver £286m savings to date and project £950m by March 2011, most of which stem from smarter procurement.
Local government’s efficiency target by the end of 2011 is £5.5bn and government estimates that nearly 60% of savings will come from smarter procurement.
Numerous government reviews - Roots, Glover and the Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) - emphasise the benefits of better co-ordinating procurement, and the RIEPs have responded to this in a number of ways.
This includes jointly appointing a national co-ordinator and working more closely with specialist procurement bodies, the Office of Government Commerce and the professional buying organisations.
Collaborative working is at the heart of the RIEP model and the programme is leading opportunities for us to maximise our collective buying power.
In my own region, the East Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership supports the Midlands Highway Alliance, a partnership of authorities, and the Highways Agency, generating more than £30m in savings and improving the design of large-scale capital schemes.
A further example is ‘procurement hubs’ enabling authorities to access ‘best deals’ and framework contracts.
Authorities in the North West sign up to ‘the Chest’ which has saved £1.2m by rationalising processes, provides access to a range of competitive suppliers and supports engagement with the third sector and local business.
For further information, view RIEPs’ Efficiency Casebook
David Parsons (Con), chairman of the Local Government Association improvement board