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UK Law change encourages prompt invoice payments within the construction sector

Posted 17 August 2011 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

Changes to the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGCR) from the 1st October this year will result in several changes that construction contractor procurement and finance staff must act upon; some of the key changes include:

by M Roper | 17 August 2011

Poor Contract Management Practices put Councils at risk

Posted 15 July 2011 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

The latest phone hacking scandal and allegation of police bribery surrounding the News of the World has come at the very time that Parliament has passed anti-Bribery legislation. And of course the politicians at Westminster have themselves been in the spotlight over the expenses scandal. Given how outraged the British people are over these institutional crimes, it makes it even more critical that Local Councils ensure that their own procurement practices are squeaky clean in relation to supplier relationships.

Yet a recent internal audit report at a London Borough has uncovered significant weaknesses in contract performance, including the lack of formal contract for a significant security services arrangement, and the lack of procurement process prior to the firm's appointment. This is particularly concerning when one considers that the value of this supply exceeded the EU Procurement rules for establishing an annual contract.

And in another recent news piece, several London Boroughs have just announced that they will be jointly adding a clause in future supply contracts to seek suppliers to clarify their contingency plans, in part to ensure that services aren't disrupted by the Olympic Games next year (e.g. what will suppliers do to minimise disruption to supply caused by traffic congestion). Which begs the question why haven't contingency plans been standard across council contracts until now? Why has it taken the Olympic Games to force such clauses, which should be considered standard practice?

Don't get us wrong, we've seen very good procurement practices in Councils, so we're not here to bash the procurement staff genuinely seeking to drive better value for money in our times of austerity. Those councils making their best procurement staff redundant are potentially killing off the only opportunity they have to make significant inroads into their costs, assuming that those staff are adhering to best practice.

But if your Council has some concerns about how robust its procurement processes are, particularly in relation to contract management, then time may not be on your side and now is not the time for bad press about dodgy practices. So why not consider developing an external partnership with an experienced procurement consultancy firm to mitigate these risks? One that can offer purchasing audits, procurement training and even procurement outsourcing. The Buying Support Agency is one such firm - we've been working successfully with public funded bodies in the procurement space since 2002 and we recommend that you talk to us before drawing up a shortlist when tendering for such support services.

by M Roper | 15 July 2011

Outlook for 2011

Posted 4 January 2011 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

Happy New Year from the team at the Buying Support Agency! As 2011 begins, the outlook for the UK economy stills looks uncertain, with all eyes on how the public sector austerity measures will affect GDP growth. Whilst we don't expect a double dip recession, all organisations in both public and private sectors will continue to focus on efficiency improvements and cost savings - and we're here to help support this process as procurement support specialists. So whether you're seeking to reduce overhead costs, outsource certain elements of your purchasing function or to train your buyers, then please get in touch.

by M Roper | 4 January 2011