A Parliamentary report claims UK councils could save £1.8bn a year by improving the way goods and services are procured.
Currently local authorities spend around £45bn a year on acquiring things they need to run.
But the MPs are convinced better value for money can be achieved.
One recommendation in the report is that there is more collaboration - with a suggestion that the Local Government Association (LGA) should produce best practice guidance on how best to join up procurement to deliver savings.
Another idea is to place more emphasis on social value and business: contracts should not be considered on the basis of price alone, wider social value should also be taken into account, in other words.
The report also says the burden on businesses should be reduced by standardising paperwork and streamlining approaches, while also meeting EU requirements.
Besides this, the MPs claim firmer action against fraud must be taken - and that there needs to be more transparency.
“Procurement is too important to be viewed as a niche function conducted in back offices. We need invest now so that staff right across councils gain the skills needed for effective procurement,” claimed Clive Betts MP, committee chair.
“At times staff, unsure of the needs of local residents and business – especially small, local businesses – fall back on wasteful bureaucracy. This has to stop,” he added.
This news comes alongside warnings from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the government as a whole needs to improve the negotiation and management of its outsourcing contracts.