Making Savings in Transport Services

What is the challenge?

Councils commissioning transport services are suffering significant pressures to evidence savings. All at the same time as being tasked to come up with a plan that sustainably maintains a safe and quality provision for the service user.

At a time when demand is only increasing and resources continue to stretch, this can understandably feel like a steep uphill battle. The fear of making the wrong choice about what to do, is also paralyzing many councils up and down the country into sticking with the approach they have come to know.

What is the current issue?

The granular issues will of course vary by Council. Experience tells us that struggling to make savings usually comes back to working with a disengaged, inactive and fixed supply base. Along with little control over the existing market and commissioning processes that are outdated and usually manual by nature.

What symptoms will you recognise?

Many councils we speak to trying to make savings are struggling to find them, believing external factors such as prices artificially inflating is a major factor. But many Councils have decided to work with limited providers, telling themselves this was their only option.

Prices artificially inflating though, is no more than the symptom of a deeper cause.

Which is good news for those Councils believing they have already tried everything and have exhausted all their options…

Because they haven’t.

What is the cause?

Experience suggests that there are usually three causes linked to those teams struggling to evidence savings:

  1. Limited visibility of and competition amongst providers
  2. A lack of ownership and control over the market (and any changes / fluctuations)
  3. Process inefficiencies in terms of their design and delivery

This is because savings are the output of the entire services areas make-up. If that model has flaws, savings simply won’t be as effective or as Councils really need them to be.

How can you solve it?

Those councils that are evidencing value and savings looked beyond external market factors and the typical symptoms. They instead uncovered the causes and how they were specifically impacting their team, market and service user.

They focused on what they could control and realised a flexible commissioning model to meet the demands of today’s environment was needed.

These councils use Digital Commissioning with ongoing Supplier Engagement enabling them to:

  1. Work with the entire provider market and manage them all in one place. Matching provider specialities with service user needs seamlessly, each and everyday
  2. Create a collaborative relationship with the market, fostering healthy and sustainable competition ensuring value and vital savings
  3. Streamline the payment process giving the commissioning team more time for safeguarding, compliance and quality checks

 The result?

  •  A saving of £100K in 2016 for Waltham Forest
  • 120% growth in Haringey’s Supply Chain resulting in an average saving of £500 per day
  • £345,000 saved for Haringey in SEN Transportation on like for like costs
  • Reduced the cost per mile by 9% for Cornwall
  • Made 20% savings against in year spend for Merton
  • Saved 10% against in year spend at Lewisham
  • Saved 8% against in year spend for Essex

See the full results here.

These councils now have providers who are actively engaged throughout the process and their bids are driven based on quality and price. Processes are streamlined and automated where relevant and control resides with the Council, as they now have full visibility and engagement with all accredited and enrolled suppliers.

Digital Commissioning is reducing the complexities within the placement process, making significant savings for transport teams around the country.

Most importantly, it’s an approach that is ensuring the individual remains at the very heart of the process, a process that Councils have full control over.

Keep up to date with Transport Insights here.