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13 July 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha
Surrey County Council and East Sussex County Council are to combine their procurement functions to create a single purchasing operation.
The local authorities have targeted saving a minimum of 2 per cent from the £1.1 billion annual total spend of both organisations. The single purchasing operation will be led by Andrew Forzani who has been appointed as the head of procurement at the Surrey and East Sussex Procurement Partnership. Further details will be finalised at a meeting on 24 July.
The first stage of the procurement partnership will look at categories of IT, highways, adult and child social care, for all of which both authorities use the same suppliers.
Both councils are also part of the SE7 group, which is made up of seven major South East councils formed to improve services and increase savings. The other members are: Brighton and Hove City Council, Hampshire County Council, Kent County Council, Medway Council, and West Sussex County Council. Once the shared purchasing operation is running, other SE7 members will be asked to join.
“The public sector should be seen as a single team co-operating to save money wherever possible. By bulk buying we will enjoy economies of scale that will allow us to do more for less and provide even greater value for money,” said Surrey County Council leader David Hodge.
Peter Jones, leader of East Sussex County Council, added: "This is a groundbreaking partnership - by pooling our resources we will be able to drive better deals for both our communities, improving services, supporting the local economy and delivering the lowest possible council tax."
As reported in SM last month, Surrey saved £2 million in the first six weeks of its financial year by negotiating better deals.
East Sussex has implemented initiatives to save money, including the Build East Sussex network, which helps match up main contractors with local construction businesses, and the contractors top-up insurance scheme, which makes it easier for small firms to get insurance cover for public sector contracts.