Terms of reference: Local Government Procurement

Topics the inquiry may cover

  1. To what extent is local government procurement organised to deliver value for money and social, economic and environmental objectives, including stimulating the local economy? To what extent are local authorities achieving the involvement of local residents in delivering value for money? To what extent are local authorities able to develop long-term relationships with contractors?
  2. Do authorities take sufficient advantage of collaborative and joint procurement opportunities, including those available from central government? In addition, the Committee would welcome information on PFI contracts and their operation with local government.
  3. How can local authorities access the skills, expertise and capabilities to implement effective procurement strategies, including value for money and social and economic objectives? More specifically, does local government have sufficient understanding of its procurement expenditure and the markets for goods and services to deliver quality procurement strategies—locally and regionally. If not, how can deficiencies be addressed?
  4. To what extent is risk in local government procurement and contracting understood and managed and contracting strategies adopted, which are tailored to product and supplier market places? More specifically, do local authorities maintain and operate effective client management functions and have they entered contractual arrangements which allow the flexibility to meet changing circumstances such as budget reductions or changes in the way a service has to be delivered?
  5. How is regularity and propriety of procurement secured and are the arrangements for detecting and addressing impropriety and fraud effective?
  6. Is local authority procurement fully transparent, audited effectively and does it provide appropriate mechanisms for redress? Specifically, are the arrangements for securing the accountability of procured services and goods to local authorities and local residents adequate and effective? More specifically, to what extent are local authorities able to provide assurance to central government that value for money (in the broadest sense of the term) is delivered?