Work by a Cumbrian council to save millions by changing its approach to procurement has been held up as an example of best practice by a national body.

The Local Government Association included the work by Copeland Borough Council as a case study in a report looking at how local authorities can make savings in procurement and contract management.

Copeland identified procurement and contract management as a key area which could be streamlined to help make savings of £2.3m between 2016 and 2020.

To this end, it appointed a procurement and contracts officer and a commercial projects officer and introduced a new strategy to guide staff in the procurement department to work more efficiently.

The council accessed support from the LGA as well as consultants Deyton Bell, based near Cambridge, to develop the new strategy.

Their recommendations included extra training for staff and taking a standardised approach to procurement.

The new strategy was approved by the corporate leadership team and the executive in November last year.

The council said that as a result it has now saved about £120,000 on new contracts.

Sarah Pemberton, Copeland Borough Council’s director of corporate services and commercial strategy, said: “We’re pleased that our work to strengthen our procurement and contract management strategy has been featured by the Local Government Association.

“Commercialisation, and transforming Copeland to be a more commercial thinking and business-like council, are cornerstones of our corporate strategy.

“Like a lot of councils, we recognise that savings still have to be made and efficiencies have to be created, and procurement and contract management have been identified as two areas in which these can effectively be achieved.

“Thanks to the skill and positive attitude of our team – and the support received from the LGA - the strategy is already making a significant impact and the new processes, governance and knowledge we have in place will support long-term sustainability in achieving our targeted efficiency savings.”