Charter aimed at promoting ICT collaboration

Councils will be expected to share details of forthcoming procurements with others under a new charter aimed at encouraging collaboration between councils on ICT procurement released by the Local Government Association.

The charter is part of the Local Government National Category Management in ICT, released yesterday, and aims to manage local government’s overall commercial engagement with the supply market.

It takes the form of a voluntary commitment by local authorities to adopt a set of practices designed to promote collaboration, share information and resources, and strengthen the collective competitive position of local authorities.

The document was drawn up by a team led by Terry Brewer, divisional director commercial, contracts and procurement at the London Borough of Harrow and chair of the  London ICT programme board and LGA category lead for ICT.

He said: “Nothing in the Charter restricts or undermines the sovereign autonomy of local authorities to make their own choices – adopting the Charter is itself a free choice, and one which will lead to real benefits.

“We recognise that there will be times when each local authority has to “go it alone” but firmly believe that the default choice for ICT should always be to seek collaboration.”
Councils signing the charter will pledge:

  • to share with all other local authorities, via the LGA’s National Programme  Office, advance details of all planned ICT procurements (including contract renewals) and projects where costs could be shared or wider participation could drive technological or commercial innovation;
  • not to extend contracts for more than 12 months without seeking  benchmarking information from the LGA National Programme Office first to ensure that the proposed deal will provide good value;
  • always to consider using collaborative means to meet requirements, whether  by directly accessing existing framework contracts or by forming working coalitions with other local authorities to run further competitions against national agreements, and to initiate new (i.e. independent and not from an existing national procurement vehicle) procurements only after exhausting  collaborative options;
  • to invite other authorities to collaborate on major ICT procurements we are undertaking, allowing sufficient time for other authorities to respond;
  • to ensure that internal governance of ICT, procurement and resourcing are consistent with the principles of collaboration – including wide sharing of prices, specifications, and supplier performance date to support the local government transparency agenda and enable local authorities to learn and  benefit from each others’ activity.

The LGA National ICT Category Management Programme for Local Government has emerged from the London ICT Project which encouraged collaboration between the 33 local authorities in London.

It also said that the catalogue-style Local Authority Software Applications framework, reported by PublicTechnology in March, will be launched before the end of the second quarter of the year.

The document said that this could slash 20 per cent – around £100 million – from current software spending by councils.

Colin Marrs

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