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TRAILBLAZING NEW AGENCY LAUNCHED IN ESSEX

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A trailblazing new money saving partnership involving 12 public authorities in Essex will be launched on 9 December...
A trailblazing new money saving partnership involving 12 public authorities in Essex will be launched on 9 December.

The Procurement Agency for Essex is the first jointly-funded public procurement consortium in the UK. It will pool procurement budgets with the aim of ensuring that local public sector gets better value for money in purchasing. It will also aim to make efficiency savings in procurement decisions, improve the way the councils manage procurement and work with a range of quality service providers. It will also ensure that local businesses get fair access to public sector business in Essex.

The PAE has been formed following a study commissioned earlier this year by Essex chief executives that found there was a solid business case for such an arrangement.

It is also in line with the recently published National Procurement Strategy for local government prepared by the ODPM.

Paul White, leader of Essex CC said: 'I am delighted that Essex is the first to introduce this type of 'joined-up' purchasing. Public authorities should always work together to deliver the lowest possible costs to council tax payers and the PAE will help us to do this in Essex.'

Nationally, councils spend over £40bn per year on behalf of the public providing essential services so they have a legal and moral duty to ensure they get good value for money. During its first year the Procurement Agency for Essex aims to at least recover its costs by making savings in how it purchases advertising, vehicles, utility services and temporary staff. In the future the PAE hopes to demonstrate significant cost savings to all partner authorities.

As a first project the agency, in partnership with Tendring DC, has produced a guide called 'Comprehensive Performance Assessment and Strategic Procurement - A guide for District and Borough Councils, which can be purchased at a cost of £25. This is available from Ian Orton at Uttlesford DC

The 12 partner organisations are: Basildon DC, Braintree DC, Brentwood DC, Castle Point BC, Chelmsford BC, Essex CC, the Essex Fire Authority, Harlow DC, Maldon DC, Southend BC, Tendring DC and Uttlesford DC.

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