Collaborative procurement in the public sector—a short introduction
Produced in partnership with Jane Crees and Uzma Raja
Collaborative procurement in the public sector—a short introduction

The following Local Government practice note Produced in partnership with Jane Crees and Uzma Raja provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Collaborative procurement in the public sector—a short introduction
  • What is collaborative procurement?
  • Why is collaborative procurement so popular?
  • Legal structures for collaboration
  • A framework agreement
  • One authority contracts 'on behalf of' the others
  • All the authorities are parties to the contract
  • Important legal issues when procuring together
  • The need for an authority to comply with its own legal obligations
  • A central purchasing body
  • More...

This Practice Note is a short introduction to the legal issues that arise when public bodies join together to buy goods and services.

While there has recently been much focus (probably justified) on the benefits of such collaboration, it is important to remember that the underlying legal structures may be quite complicated. Both early planning and the involvement of legal teams are therefore recommended in all but the simplest of collaborations if the authority is to achieve its goals straightforwardly and efficiently.

What is collaborative procurement?

Collaborative procurement is not a precise term and covers a range of possible arrangements.

At its simplest, it is when two or more authorities join together to buy goods or services (or works). This is the meaning adopted in this Practice Note. Collaborating can happen in a number of ways and with different degrees of interaction and permanence. The authorities may choose to work together closely from the inception of a project or may join into an existing arrangement once that has been established.

Why is collaborative procurement so popular?

It is generally accepted that there are considerable benefits available to public sector bodies if they join together to conduct procurement exercises. In recent economically difficult times this has often played a significant role in maximising value from contractual arrangements, identifying and obtaining efficiencies, and saving money. The following potential gains are often highlighted:

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