Councils buy online.

A web-based lease tendering system designed to help local authorities obtain competitive quotes for asset financing has been launched at the annual CIPFA conference. The backers of ‘LocalLease’ say it will help local authorities meet challenging e-commerce targets set by central government. Owned equally by the The Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale and IT specialist TrustMarque International, LocalLease says it has acted to fill a gap in the market. Critics say local authorities have suffered problems with securing the best deals in the past through lack of information and reliance on brokers. LocalLease, based in Cheltenham, claims a key benefit of the new system is that it will enable local government to obtain truly competitive quotes and allow transparency of information from lessors, with no hidden fees. Items local authorities require financing arrangements for include vehicles and computer systems. It is understood two authorities have signed up to the programme so far, and it is hoped more will sign up following the launch at last week’s Brighton conference. Finance companies involved include Lloyds TSB, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lombard Asset Finance, Keyleasing, Kreditbank, Societe Generale, Krediet Finance, Hitachie Credit & Extralease. A spokeswoman said: ‘These backers account for about 50% of the market. We are also in discussions with others, but there are only about 20 finance companies in the market anyway, so we should have over half of them in the scheme.’ She added: ‘LocalLease provides a central easy-to-use system that organises the preparation of tenders and presents quotations in an orderly, comprehensible format. It facilitates the presentation of competitive quotations within the framework of current financial legislation and complies with the latest guidelines on transaction technology.’

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