Southend set to save £1m over three years with eProcurement

Southend-on-Sea borough council hopes to save £1m over three years with an e-Procurement system.

Southend-on-Sea borough council hopes to save £1m over three years with an e-Procurement system.

The local authority is implementing IDeA marketplace, developed by e-government Solutions (eGS), as a purchase to pay system.

The system will be used to electronically purchase all goods and services needed by the council. Invoices will also be paid automatically, through an interface with the council's finance system.

Councils are increasingly using systems such as Marketplace to increase the efficiency of their purchasing. It is one example of how local government is using IT to achieve more of a client-focus and improve processes.

David Levy, head of procurement at Southend, said the new system would get the council better value for money.

He said, "We currently have no single consistent means of ordering goods and services, which makes it difficult to control expenditure or ensure we are getting maximum value for money from our suppliers.

"The new system will simplify the ordering and payment process for both the council and our suppliers."

The council aims to complete the rollout of Marketplace by March next year..

Levy said, "We also hope to gain the ability to harness better pricing by aggregating spend on similar commodities in different areas of the council. This spend would previously have been difficult to identify."

Levy said that increasing numbers of councils using the same system meant even greater efficiency savings are possible in the future.

He said, "Marketplace is used by most Essex local authorities so the system will facilitate collaboration and reduce unnecessary duplication of resources, which is what can happen when lots of public sector buyers are all tendering for the same goods and services."

The IDeA marketplace system is a Java-based public procurement application, which demonstrates a working Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)-secured system and includes an XML-based supplier network technology.

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