Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/02/derby_council/

Council saves quarter mil' from mobile bill

Derby puts contract up for auction, thinks more should follow

By Bill Ray

Posted in Government, 2nd February 2010 15:47 GMT

Derby City Council reckons it saved £250,000 by putting its mobile phone bill up for auction, and now everyone else can get financial help to do the same thing.

Derby's saving came at the end of a 52-minute auction, conducted electronically, with the eventual winner offering a price around 60 per cent of what the council had expected to spend and resulting in a saving of quarter of a million quid. It's a result that has prompted the government's procurement arm to offer financial support to other public bodies tempted down the auction route.

Buying Solutions generally aggregates orders to drive down prices by buying in bulk, but given the amount that auctions are able to save, the body is now offering financial and logistical support to any public body that fancies putting their contracts on the block.

The body tells us that North Yorkshire County Council ran an auction for telephony contracts that saved 29 per cent on its existing spending, and that others have run auctions for all sorts of IT hardware as well as furniture and the like.

Not that price is everything - your correspondent remembers trying to fix Amstrad computers in hospital operating theatres, bought on a lowest-competitive tender based on technical specifications that didn't include reliability.

But then, avoidance of such silliness is exactly why a public body might want to turn to Buying Solutions to help support their auction, and fund it too. ®