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Improving procurement could deliver fire service savings

Fire services across the country could save millions of pounds by streamlining the way they source and procure clothing and equipment.

This is according to new research, published by fire minister Brandon Lewis, which highlights that a number of forces across England are buying ‘identical’ kit at ‘vastly’ different prices.

The report revealed that prices for the same kit can vary by as much as 200%. For example, a pair of protective trousers, bought from the same supplier, cost between £125 and £274 depending on which force procures them.

Funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and jointly commissioned with the Chief Fire Officers Association, the research concluded that fire and rescue authorities could achieve savings of £18m from a total spend of £127m a year. The savings could be even greater if applied to all purchases by all fire services, which spends an estimated £600m each year on buying equipment and fire engines.

Lewis said: “It cannot be right that the price of the same piece of kit or protective clothing varies so much for different fire services. This report shows clearly that the 46 fire and rescue services must come together to maximise the buying power of the £600m they spend and get the best possible value for money for taxpayers.

“The case for change is compelling. Taxpayers are right to expect the most cost effective purchases and fire and rescue authorities must seize this opportunity to make changes to drive better procurement.”

(Image copyright: Network Rail)

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