A START-UP in Bournemouth says it can help councils save millions of pounds a year.

CouncilConnect, which was created from the sofa of co-founder Gregory Smith, is a web-based platform which allows local government staff to connect with others buying similar products and services.

Users effectively form syndicates before they reach the formal procurement stage.

Mr Smith said: “It’s a simple concept but it works. The network helps councils make their budgets go further which has a real benefit to local communities across the country.

“As a council employee, I’ve seen first-hand the huge cuts that are facing our vital frontline services and I wanted to help, so with a couple of hundred pounds and some insanely long hours at weekends and evenings, we’ve finally built something that has the potential to fundamentally change the way councils work together.

“So far we have Oxford, Bournemouth, Ashfield, Aberdeen, Devon, Warwick, Northumberland and Bridgend councils signed up and as we continue to attract more councils we’re building more functionality that will make it even easier to help deliver savings.

“But it’s not just for councils. The platform also has a business area which aims to help connect businesses to buyers through a national supplier directory.”

The platform is free for councils, while firms pay £50 for a standard listing in the CouncilConnect Business directory or £200 a year for an enhanced version.

“CouncilConnect Business helps companies grow their brand awareness, build relationships and generate leads not just locally but from across the UK,” said Mr Smith.

He added: “The network is not only about helping councils save money but it’s also about helping businesses reach the councils who are actively buying their products and services.”

Mr Smith says the platform could expand to other parts of the world.

“How powerful would it be to join forces with a council in Australia or Canada or America to buy something together and share the cost of running a service?” he added.

“Councils are going through rapid change as we have seen locally with the Future Dorset project but councils don’t necessarily have to be geographically next to each other to save money.”