Somerset Councils win national award; Southwest One receives further National Recognition for approach to saving money
Somerset County Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council’s approach to cost savings and improved efficiency through the Southwest One joint venture with IBM has won an outstanding achievement award.
Southwest One, which was set up between Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Avon and Somerset Police Authority and IBM, received the honour from the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government (SOPO).
The company was established to provide cost savings and improved efficiency in the delivery of services to Somerset residents. It won the award for its tactical procurement programme and other initiatives that benefit the effective buying of goods and services. Representatives of Southwest One picked up the SOPO award at a ceremony in Birmingham.
The overall contract target for savings from Southwest One is £200 million over 10 years. Originally the procurement savings target was £140 million that has now risen to £150 million. It aims to provide cost savings and improved efficiency in the delivery of services to residents in areas such as customer services, workforce development, purchasing and the management of the members shared IT systems.
Councillor Sam Crabb, Somerset County Council’s Portfolio Holder of Strategic Resources and Finance, said: "We are really delighted that this groundbreaking change in our operating procedures has been recognised so quickly. The achievements of Southwest One are really good news for Somerset and the council tax payers."
Councillors and officials for all three authoritieshave spent months negotiating this unique change to their operating procedures. Avon and Somerset Police Authority did not participate in this award as they joined the joint venture later.
Councillor Ross Henley, Leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: "We joined the Southwest One Partnership because we wanted to deliver better value from money for local people. We are now starting to reap the rewards from the partnership which is good news for our local community. We look forward to further savings and improvements to front-line services."
This latest award for Southwest One comes after Rachel Ellins, a payroll manager with Southwest One, received a 'highly commended' honour in the Institute of Payroll Professionals (IPP) Payroll and Pensions Excellence Awards.