Councils, schools and universities given option to buy goods via Amazon in £400m deal

Four-year framework gives option of establishing Amazon Business account

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A new £400m deal means that many public-sector entities are now able to buy a wide range of goods and services via online retail giant Amazon while remaining compliant with procurement regulations.

Publicly owned procurement consortium YPO has agreed a four-year agreement that will allow local authorities, universities, and multi-academy schools trusts to buy products using an account with Amazon Business – the internet retailer’s corporate arm. 

The deal, which went live on Tuesday, marks the first time an Amazon account has been “a compliant purchasing route” for public-sector procurement, YPO said. 

The buying group already offers users a total of 30,000 products, across a number of commercial agreements, including 12 technology-related frameworks. Other areas covered include furniture, transport, furniture, food, and various corporate services.

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The deal with Amazon means YPO’s customers can buy “hundreds of millions of products, including from tens of thousands of smaller independent suppliers from across the UK”.

Some of the money spent via the online retailer will also help support citizen services, YPO said, with “a percentage of each sale given back to the public sector”.

Users of the framework will be assigned a named account manager, who can help with registration and ongoing support in managing the account. Account managers will also be able to assist public-sector organisations to ascertain and meet their compliance needs. A self-service option – for use by individual schools – will be launched later this year.

Simon Hill, managing director of YPO, said: “The demand for innovative ways to buy better is one of the highest priorities for public sector organisations and our new framework agreement represents a forward-thinking approach to public sector purchasing. It offers brand new benefits in a first for a public sector buying organisation in the UK.”

He added: “Our recent customer survey showed that 80% of our customers already use Amazon so this will give them an opportunity to complete their list of requirements through YPO, without fragmenting their spend and threatening the ‘one-stop-shop’ proposition.” 

Established by a group of local authorities in 1974, YPO is wholly owned by its member councils, representing 13 areas across Yorkshire and the north west: Barnsley; Bolton; Bradford; York, Calderdale; Doncaster; Kirklees; Knowsley; North Yorkshire; Rotherham; St Helens; Wakefield; and Wigan.

A further 69 public entities – including councils, police, and fire services – are associate members.


Sam Trendall

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