Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
New IT system could save taxpayers millions
7:40am Wednesday 21st August 2013 in News
A GROUND-breaking system revolutionising the way council contracts are stored and managed could save taxpayers at least £15million a year.
And Buckinghamshire County Council could also bring in large amounts of additional money by selling the new computer software to other local authorities who are already interested in buying it.
The council aims to go live with its Contract Management System on August 26 in a move that will radically change the way it runs its business.
The authority currently pays out around £300million annually to thousands of external organisations – amounting to 65 per cent of its total spend. Until now all the various contracts were stored in a multitude of formats and sites.
"They were in a dozen different filing cabinets in a dozen different sites across the organisation," said Jonathon Noble, the council’s category manager for major projects.
"Contracts ranged from physical documents to computerised files stored in other systems across the council. Just finding a variation on a contract could often take up a large amount of officer time."
But it will all change under the new software, which has cost £101,000 to create.
"The system will provide a single council-wide repository for all of our contracts," said Mr Noble, who has led the project since February.
"But this is not just about the storage; it’s how the contracts are then managed, especially in terms of checking that contractors are performing to the right standards, are financially stable and have quality processes in place for issues such as safeguarding and business continuity." Serious research has shown that organisations that manage contracts well can save between five and 15 per cent of their total third party spend, said Mr Noble. Even if the saving was five per cent, this would shave £15million off the annual bill.
Some of this will come in the reductions in the time needed by officers on dealing with contracts, but Mr Noble predicts there will be ‘cashable savings’ as a result of working more closely with suppliers.
Contractors will also benefit from the system because they will be given their own log-ins, and this will mean efficiencies for them as well.
But the most novel innovation is that the council has agreed a partnership deal with the software creator, Arcus, to sell the product on to other authorities.
Mr Noble will spearhead this and present to interested councils. If they buy it, Buckinghamshire will get a portion of the profits.