Deal with Advanced Business Solutions can be used by other councils in the south of England
A West Sussex district council has set up a framework for neighbouring authorities to use in purchasing a specific financial management software.
Arun District Council has struck a deal with Advanced Business Solutions for the procurement of its e5 solution, using terms and conditions that can be applied to 28 district and borough councils in East and West Sussex and Surrey.
It enables the councils to negotiate directly with Advanced and specify their requirements without going through the full tendering and evaluation process.
Rod Walters, procurement officer at Arun, told UKAuthority that the deal follows the creation of a series of informal procurement frameworks in the region, covering a range of other products and services such as office supplies and construction.
The value of the initial contract - £1.7 million over four years – demanded that Arun go through an OJEU process, which has reflected its own requirements.
“We set the terms and conditions for the framework, as we were the first purchaser and had to be fit for our purposes,” Walters said. “Other organisations can make minor amendments but basically take what we have agreed with Advanced.”
He said that, while Arun will not necessarily be aware of other councils using the framework, he does know of one neighbour planning to use it to purchase the software within the next few months.
Paul Symes, programme manager at Arun, said: “We wanted to create a unique framework to reflect our ethos of working better together with neighbouring authorities and increase collaboration. As there are only seven councils located within West Sussex, we wanted to extend our invitation to other authorities in nearby regions to use the framework to drive economies of scale.”
He added that the council could take a similar approach in future for other IT requirements.
“From my experience this would work quite well for us,” he said. “If we want to go for something like a new planning system or network we could set up a new framework.”
The council plans to begin work on the installation of e5 with Advanced next week, and for it to go live at the beginning of the next financial year in April 2016.
It will include a more streamlined reporting function that the council expects it to provide better quality information to councillors, senior officers and budget managers, and to reduce its reliance on third party systems and interfaces and reduce duplication of effort.
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