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Millions could be saved by Welsh councils following a successful first eAuction pilot by two local authorities in the Principality.

Swansea and Neath Port Talbot councils secured potential savings of £650,000 over five years, equivalent to nine per cent of expenditure for the supply of tinned and dried foods for a contract worth around £1.3m per year.

The successful bidder will supply foodstuffs to the local authorities schools meals services, social services and council-owned leisure centres and outdoor adventure sites over the next five years.

Cmpanies were required to meet a series of non-price criteria before the could take part in the eAuction. Three companies qualified to take part in the procurement.

The councils also encouraged more Welsh businesses to participate in the tendering process by providing advice and training to companies that had no experience in bidding for contracts online.

Councillor Russell Roberts, Welsh Local Government Association spokesman on procurement, said the collaborative e-procurement approach was a "sign of things to come for Wales," with the two councils benefiting from "substantial savings through high quality contracts at competitive prices".

Swansea Council leader Chris Holley said it was the first demonstration of how the local authority's eGovernment programme was saving taxpayers money and delivering better local services.

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