Friday 15 December 2017

Less than half of councils buy cut-price office supplies

Anne-Marie Walsh

LOCAL authorities are the worst offenders among state bodies for failing to buy cut-price stationery that could save taxpayers up to €2.5m a year.

Less than half of local authorities and just 19 of the 33 Vocational Education Committees have availed of a contract enabling them to purchase office supplies at a 25pc discount.

A 'naming and shaming' exercise by the Department of Finance has revealed dozens of public bodies have not taken up the bargain rates it negotiated with Irish company Codex.

They include county councils in Fingal and Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown in Dublin, as well as local authorities in Limerick, Roscommon, North Tipperary, Wexford, Mayo and Cavan.

It comes after the Irish Independent revealed last month that just 170 of 400 bodies had acted on the contract that was negotiated last April.

Junior Minister for Public Service Reform Brian Hayes ordered a crackdown to stop wasteful spending by drawing up a list of the bodies that have availed of the reduced rates.

Further probes of the uptake on more than 40 contracts that offer big savings on goods and services will be conducted in the coming months.

Mr Hayes told the Irish Independent he would demand to know why these bodies were not availing of centralised contracts. He said there was ample scope for savings as the public procurement market was worth about €16bn a year.

The estimated value of the stationery contract is €10m a year -- roughly 25pc cheaper than the previous contract.

Sources said public bodies may not have acted because existing contracts have not run out, but others are blankly refusing to end expensive long-standing deals with local suppliers.

Irish Independent

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