Central Buying Consortium was formed in 1991. It is a non-profit making federation of 21 local authorities based broadly across the southern half of England. Members collective procurement spend is currently in excess of £5,000m with the authorities involved representing over 24% of the population of England.
CBC originated as a collection of local authorities who collaborated around the purchase of goods for stores operations. However with the recognition of procurement's value and its increasing involvement in all aspects of local authority spend, CBC's activities have developed to reflect this wider trend.
- Collaboration: As a group develop competitive purchasing arrangements for selected services and products that are required by the member local authorities and their associated public sector organisations, which enable them to make financial savings and efficiency improvements.
- Benchmarking: To undertake benchmarking and comparative exercises to enable authorities to learn from others and achieve the optimum solution.
- Learning: To help develop the skills and knowledge of individuals in member authorities.
- Internal consultancy: Members offer practical support to other member authorities where one authority has skills and knowledge which can benefit another authority which has a specific need or requirement in a particular project.
- Shared Service: Provide a shared service where there is a cost effective solution for one member to provide a particular service to others.
- Networking: CBC is a network by which member authorities can actively exchange ideas, learn about, and explore opportunities for innovation, improvements, deliver savings, and changes which affect local government procurement, be these legal, supply market, government policy or social and environmental issues.
How CBC operates
CBC Management Committee
CBC is managed by a Management Committee comprised of the most senior professional from each member-authority. See the CBC Management Committee for details of the representatives that are planning and guiding the CBC.
CBC operates to an agreed Constitution.
Supporting the Management Committee are the Professional Leadership Groups, and Learning & Networks Groups, in addition there are various working teams focused upon specific contract collaborations.
The principle Professional Leadership Groups are currently:
These groups come together as and when required to share information, provide professional leadership and any interface into national groupings. Such groups may include professional representatives in addition those from the procurement field. As such contracts may be let by others, or initiated through the Pipeline Group.
Learning and networks groups
The learning groups are currently:
- Contract management
- Social values
- Health and social care
These groups come together as and when required to share information, learn what others are doing and what is best practice. Such groups may include non CBC member participants.
The lead buyer of each individual contract is responsible for collating group requirements, and initiating any meetings they considered appropriate.
Members only participate in those initiatives which are of value to them, and as such contracts are a coalition of the willing.
The Lead Buyer is the person best able to field general enquiries from customers and suppliers in relation to their specific contract.
To see what contracts are available go to CBC Contract Register.
Eliminating operational costs
CBC is operated by the staff of the authorities that make up its membership and therefore it has no overheads. There is no central warehouse or team of people.
The management committee is currently made up of representatives from these partner organisations:
- Bedford Borough Council
- Brighton & Hove Council
- Buckinghamshire County Council
- Central Bedfordshire Council
- Coventry City Council
- Dorset County Council
- East Sussex County Council
- Essex County Council
- Hampshire County Council
- Hertfordshire County Council
- Kent County Council
- Luton Borough Council
- Medway Council
- Milton Keynes Council
- Northampton Borough Council
- Northamptonshire County Council
- Oxfordshire County Council
- Portsmouth City Council
- Suffolk County Council
- Surrey County Council
- West Sussex County Council