Central Buying Consortium

About CBC

Central Buying Consortium was formed in 1991 and is a non-profit making federation of 23 local authorities based broadly across the southern half of England. Members collective procurement spend is currently in excess of £5,000m with the authorities involved representing over 24% of the population of England.

CBC originated as a collection of local authorities who collaborated around the purchase of goods for stores operations. However with the recognition of procurement’s value and its increasing involvement in all aspects of local authority spend, CBC’s activities have developed to reflect this wider trend.


  • Collaboration: As a group develop competitive purchasing arrangements for selected services and products that are required by the member local authorities and their associated public sector organisations, which enable them to make financial savings and efficiency improvements.
  • Benchmarking: To undertake benchmarking and comparative exercises to enable authorities to learn from others and achieve the optimum solution.
  • Learning: To help develop the skills and knowledge of individuals in member authorities.
  • Networking: CBC is a network by which member authorities can actively exchange ideas, learn about, and explore opportunities for innovation, improvements, deliver savings, and changes which affect local government procurement, be these legal, supply market, government policy or social and environmental issues.
  • Influence: To actively influence and promote relevant procurement ideas and innovations within the wider government circle, to improve outcomes.
  • Internal consultancy: Members offer practical support to other member authorities where one authority has skills and knowledge which can benefit another authority which has a specific need or requirement in a particular project.
  • Shared Service: Provide a shared service where there is a cost effective solution for one member to provide a particular service to others.

Serving the public sector

Education institutions, emergency services, district and unitary councils, charities and voluntary organisations can purchase much of their services and supplies via local government authorities either through a catalogue or direct via an established local authority contract.

Advantages for the customer

The time and work associated with tendering and awarding a contract can be considerable. By collaborating with other public sector organisations this process becomes more economical and the resulting increased volume of goods or services equate to better pricing and terms and conditions. This means that contracts let by individual CBC Members or CBC contracts that are created for wider public sector use can provide a simple route to market at competitive prices.

Central Buying Consortium

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