HL Deb 29 May 2002 vol 635 cc155-6WA
The Earl of Northesk

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress is being made to achieve interoperability between the e-procurement systems of local authorities generally, and with particular reference to London borough councils; and [HL4429]

To what extent there is co-ordination between central government, the London mayoralty and London's local authorities in establishing interoperability between their respective e-procurement systems. [HL4430]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

We have announced in our draft national strategy on local e-government,e-gov@local: towards a national strategy for local e-government, which was published for consultation on 8 April 2002, that we are establishing in partnership with local government a national project on e-procurement.

It is currently anticipated that this project will develop process models for local authorities implementing e-procurement, produce an e-tendering package and assist in the developing of regional e-purchasing consortia. It is being informed by the work of three pathfinder projects at Huntingdonshire, Leeds and LB of Newham, which have been funded by our Local Government Online programme.

It is too early in the development of the national project to say what work will be undertaken on interoperability. However, the development of technical standards which aid interoperability across local government on e-procurement—as elsewhere on the development of e-government—is a key strategic issue.

Any e-procurement standards which are produced for local government will work within the e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF). This sets out the Government's technical policies and specifications for achieving interoperability across the whole public sector. The national project will also work with the Office of Government Commerce and the Office of the e-Envoy to investigate the desirability and feasibility of adopting specific e-procurement standards across the public sector.