Magazine article Public Finance

One-Party Councils Less Efficient at Procurement

Magazine article Public Finance

One-Party Councils Less Efficient at Procurement

Article excerpt

Councils dominated by one political party achieve lower procurement savings than those with a wider political balance, according to an Electoral Reform Society (ERS) analysis of local government accountability. The difference between them can be as much as £2.6bn a year.

The group's examination of the consequences of councils having weak electoral accountability - defined as one party controlling more than two-thirds of seats or where 10% of council seats were contested by only one party - also found a possible higher risk of corruption.

The Cost of one-party councils report by Cambridge academic Mihály Fazekas examined over 132,000 public procurement contracts between 2009 and 2013 for councils in England outside London. The examination found "one-party councils" typically achieve lower cost savings in these deals - 2.2% compared to 6.2% - where there is greater political variety.

In addition, 'red flags' for corruption - such as where only a single bid is submitted or the time between advertising the bid and the submission deadline is short - were around 50% higher. …

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