England councils failing at e-procurement

Councils in England aren't really doing their job, and somehow – that's news.

A new freedom of information request by global enterprise platform blur Group unveiled that out of 248 English councils, 186 failed to identify savings, or had no information on savings achieved from reviews, improvements or best practice adopted two years since the National Procurement Strategy was launched.

It was said that 62 councils that did highlight making any changes, included the adoption of digital technology, such as e-procurement or e-tendering. Yet, such technologies were requested for by the National Procurement Strategy.

Philip Letts, CEO of blur Group, said: “Progress is being made but it is patchy. It is clear that council leaders and executives need to do more to get to grips with their spend. We know financial settlements for local Government are tight. When key public services are under pressure to the point of cutbacks and closures in areas as vital as adult social care and housing, this has to be a priority. A strategic response to managing spend and better procurement has to come quickly and from the top.”

“Some larger councils are demonstrating their willingness to adopt best practice, embrace new technology, work closely with procurement partners and their suppliers. They are, not surprisingly, the authorities able to identify the most significant savings.”

Since the National Procurement Strategy was released, 34 per cent of councils said to have carried a procurement procedures review, 45 per cent said they're carrying out general reviews, and 21 per cent said they're not carrying out reviews, at all.