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Water Service switches to electronic procurement

PROCUREMENT BY Northern Ireland's Water Service will be carried out entirely electronically within months.

From 1 September the Water Service - part of the Government's Development Directorate - is abandoning all paper based documentation in favour of CDROM and web based information exchange. Tendering will ultimately be done through the internet and e-mail, said Water Service project manager Dave Saville.

The move is believed to be the first by any UK client and is expected to save the Water Service at least £35,000 on its annual capital expenditure of £90M, said Saville. It follows four years of pilot studies with local contractors Farrans, H&P Campbell, Carl Construction and Grahams.

Principal savings are on staff time and print costs, added Saville. But information, including design drawings, can be passed on to subcontractors and suppliers to improve performance through the supply chain, he claimed.

Northern Ireland's Roads & Construction Services is set to follow within the next 12 months. And the UK's Office for Government Commerce, responsible for streamlining Government procurement, is said to be watching closely.

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