It changed the face of buying and selling for millions of people. Now Gloucestershire County Council has been praised for adapting a similar system to help organise the school run.
Gloucestershire County Council is the first local authority in the UK to use a pioneering electronic marketplace called @UK PLC to buy in its Home to School Transport.
By opening up the market and ensuring more operators have the opportunity to bid for routes, it's saved council tax payers half a million pounds over a 2 year period from a £12 million budget.
Now the scheme has been recognised in the National Local Government Awards where Gloucestershire County Council was highly commended.
Gloucestershire County Council Project Manager Andy Burford said,
"The previous system involved using a slow, costly paper and fax based process where staff had to trawl through hard copy lists of 40 approved suppliers, sending out faxes to invite them to tender in a closed market system". This often meant the same handful of suppliers were asked for prices and there were higher costs for short notice transport requests.
"Now, with the click of a button, 62 providers registered on @UK PLC have the opportunity to bid, increasing the number of bidders. Not only has this saved the Council's time and money - ensuring it offers better value for money - but suppliers have been given the opportunity to diversify and develop their businesses further through becoming e-enabled".
Cllr Stan Waddington, Gloucestershire County Council's cabinet member for environment said,
"We are always looking for new and better ways to provide value for money and this is further evidence of that".
"With so much pressure on budgets coming from spiralling insurance, wage and fuel costs, the parental choice agenda, central Government's e-agenda and suppliers' preference to move to e-trading, full marks to our transport team for taking a good look at the Home to School Transport Tendering process and coming up with the idea of an @UK online marketplace".