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Only better business cases will end cost overruns, councils told

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES must prepare their business cases better if they are to avoid cost overruns and delays, a leading local government procurement expert said this week.

'Authorities have to make sure that enough preparation has been done so that they know exactly what they are trying to achieve, ' said Andrew Hugill, senior executive at local government procurement organisation 4ps.

'An inadequate business case is by far the biggest cause of things going wrong.' 4ps is part of the Local Government Association. It rovides advice to local authorities on projects, procurement and private finance initiative (PFI) schemes.

Hugill defended local government's record following NCE's recent coverage of poor procurement on council projects (NCE 3 March).

'There is lots of good work being done. The National curement Strategy, which was launched in October 2003, is starting to show some quite matic improvements, ' he said.

'Before this strategy was launched only 13% of councils had a member responsible for procurement. Now 70% do. Only 28% of councils had a orporate procurement strategy. This figure is now 86%, ' he explained.

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