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ITNet to launch internet hub for council suppliers

Information technology outsourcer ITNet is planning plans to build an e-procurement service that promises significant cost savings to local councils.

ITNet is licensing InTrade e-Hub from e-commerce specialist Infobank to tap into a market that sees 26 million orders a year - with at least £4bn spent on high-volume, low-value items, according to Clare Forrest, ITNet marketing director.

The company is trying to sign up local authorities and suppliers for the service, which will go online later this year.

The system will be hosted at ITNet's Birmingham datacentre and is likely to run on Sun Solaris processors, but the company has not reached final agreement with potential hardware partners.

ITNet could find itself head to head with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which will officially be launched on 1 April. The OGC is charged with saving £1bn from the Government's £13bn procurement bill.

The OGC will take over GCat and other online catalogues developed by the government's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency.

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