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Bob Griffith, national secretary of local government IT managers group Socitm, said, "Any more information on e-procurement is useful. It reinforces the efforts that are currently being made by councils to meet the e-government targets."
The Delivering E-Procurement initiative was launched earlier this month in an effort to speed up the introduction of e-procurement in local government. Councils are currently working towards a 2005 deadline for making services available electronically.
The project, which is part of Whitehall's ongoing Local Government Online strategy, will provide e-procurement support and guidance to the 388 English local authorities. A structured framework will be used to help plan implementation and identify key elements of the e-procurement process.
The initiative, which involves central government and a range of local authorities, is being project-managed by IT best practice organisation Buy IT.
UK councils spend £25bn a year on goods and services, buying up to 38 million items from 800,000 suppliers. E-procurement is expected to be vital in helping councils meet the 2005 deadline.