Northumberland County Council


Julie Parkinson, Category Manager for NCC, talks about how procurement led on the implementation.


  • Very large rural council
  • Blocked purchase of new items
  • Had a store of items after building rationalisation
  • Saved £68K on internal purchasing in first 4 months
  • Worked in partnership with 3rd sector and business community
  • Chief Executive level support
  • Led by procurement department



Northumberland County Council is a very large rural council in the North East of England which recently underwent huge restructure as the 7 District Councils became one Unitary Authority.

At Northumberland County Council (NCC), the local government review forced department mergers and therefore multiple office moves, resulting in a significant excess of items of office furniture and office accessories.

Warp-It reuse procurement building clearance

The WARPit team at NCC; (from left to right) Steve Stewart (Chief Executive of Northumberland.

NCC had spent £55,025.10 on furniture from April 2011 to June 2011. The business case for Warp it was that efficiency savings could be achieved by re-distribution within the authority and schools, thereby reducing demand and spend on new items.

High level support

Warp it implementation has high level support. NCC Chief Executive, Steve Stewart said:

As an environmentally-conscious organisation, we are always looking for innovative methods to enable us to reach our goals.


The following savings have been made by NCC and have been a result of the effect of allowing staff to share existing items rather than buying new.

Financial Year         NCC Actual Spend Data (furniture items)     % Spend Decrease due to Warp it implementation
2011 - 2012 £97,614.16 N/A (Warp it implemented Feb 12)
2012 - 2013 £35,320.35 Spend went down by 64%

Supporting 3rd sector

NCC partnered with local social enterprise, to provide the manpower to transport goods from storage to their new location.

Paul Smart, Chief Executive of the social enterprise company said:

We are able to combine the transportation of furniture and equipment to offices with our existing charitable work involving collection and delivery of low-cost furniture to families on low incomes.

Sustainable Procurement and supporting schools

Julie Parkinson, Category Procurement Specialist, Northumberland County Council said:

Warp it has created a process for re-distribution of furniture and items across the authority. The schools in Northumberland have an easy way to access surplus resources. This has led to a change in culture for the authority with less demand for new goods.


Procurement reuse awards SOPO society of procurement officers
NCC won an award from the Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO) for using the system to reduce procurement so dramatically.

Julie went on:

Warp it is a no brainer. There are so many benefits to the authority using Warp it. Led by Procurement we have managed to intercept orders and steer staff to this portal which not only saves our disposal costs but reduces spend. Overall after only a few months, the benefits have been fantastic!

Furniture store
Northumberland had a store for furniture reuse

For this project, the Council won a SOPO award and also won a highly commended in the well contested,  Excellence in Procurement, Government Opportunity awards.

Value for money

Emphasising the zero risk and high value nature of the service , Lee Jackson, Commercial and Procurement Services Manager at the council said:

The Commercial and Procurement Team saw the potential of Warp it and are delighted with the achievements to date. The Warp it portal is easy to use and easily applicable to other organisations – if Northumberland can achieve over £60,000.00 of savings in such a short period of time, other Councils with traditionally higher spend could achieve much more.

Northumberland County Council have produced a report about this project here.Download case study as pdf

What our customers are saying

It's a super service and long may it last!

Green is the way to go!

Anon, University College Dublin

This is a great service!

Lesley monaghan, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

It reuses items for those that want them!

It also saves money for the NHS!

Anon, North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust