Saving money for the public sector

The Crown Commercial Service brings together policy, advice and direct buying; providing commercial services to the public sector and saving money for the taxpayer. Government Business analyses the latest agreements, including Vehicle Telematics and Insurance Services.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) brings policy, advice and direct buying together in a single organisation to: make savings for customers in both central government and the wider public sector; achieve maximum value from every commercial relationship; and improve the quality of service delivery for common goods and services across government.

Working with over 1,400 organisations in the public sector, CCS’s services are provided by more than 2,600 suppliers. The CCS is responsible for: managing the procurement of common goods and services, so public sector organisations with similar needs achieve value by buying as a single customer; improving supplier and contract management across government; increasing savings for the taxpayer by centralising buying requirements for common goods and services and bringing together smaller projects; and leading on procurement policy on behalf of the UK government.

The CCS is in place to make sure that small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) have access to government contract opportunities, making it easier for them to do business with the government, and making sure that 25 per cent of government’s spend, either directly or in supply chains, goes to SMEs.

Additionally, CCS makes sure that departments publish details of future projects and contracts on the Contracts Finder website every six months, giving businesses the confidence and time to invest in relevant skills, labour and capabilities to win these contracts. It works to obtain simpler, more flexible EU procurement rules in Brussels to support economic growth by making the procurement process faster, less costly and more effective for both business and procurers; this will affect more than £45 billion of central government spend (more than £230 billion for the UK public sector) every year.

This will help commissioners of public services to become more effective through the Commissioning Academy and use commercial intelligence more effectively to improve the value gained from contracts across government.

Terms and conditions
As a guide for suppliers and buyers there is a standard set of terms and conditions for framework agreements and call-off contracts for goods and services bought under the agreement. The template for call-off contracts forms the basis of the terms and conditions in individual further competitions and can be supplemented or refined with additional terms to suit the requirement.

All CCS suppliers must submit monthly management information (MI) returns. This is done online through the MISO system. You will need to include the unique reference number (URN) for each customer listed on the return. Failure to submit MI returns correctly or within the agreed timescales may incur admin fees.

The CCS is updating its internal Customer Relationship Management system and as a result the weekly downloadable list of URNs will be changing. The existing sheet of four tabs will reduce to three, listing all live URNs with customer details, a second detailing merges and a third detailing name changes. Legacy tabs will be added for the time being showing older changes that are not present on the new system. The sub-sector is now known as organisation type and is being updated to better and more accurately describe the organisation within its sector.

CCS has signed a preferential public sector pricing agreement with Huddle for secure cloud collaboration tools. The agreement for cloud collaboration tools will help teams securely share files, manage projects and collaborate on content, projects and programmes of work.

With UK data centres to protect the sovereignty of organisations’ data, and the ability for users to maintain a full and transparent audit trail of all activities, Huddle provides a secure platform for managing information that is rated as ‘official’ under the Government Security Classification Policy. The technology is already used in many central and local government organisations, as well as other public sector bodies, including the NHS and a variety of arm’s length bodies and charitable organisations. Huddle’s public sector-specific pricing is available to all public sector bodies that purchase through G-Cloud on the Digital Marketplace.

Insurance services
Insurance is a relatively new area for many public sector organisations, and, likewise, public sector is a very new area for many suppliers. With this in mind, CCS has developed a framework agreement and a number of guidance packs which provide information on the procurement call-off processes.

Developed in conjunction with YPO, NEPO and ESPO, this collaborative arrangement enables customers access to a wide range of insurance and insurance brokerage services. This includes liability, travel, personal accident, property and contraction, and motor.

Through the partnership with the aforementioned collaborators, CCS has ensured that the market received the right message to deliver efficiencies on behalf of the public sector.

The agreement has been divided into four lots. Lot 1 covers the provision of insurance and a number of support services, with 27 suppliers. Lot 2 covers the provision of insurance brokerage and a number of support services, and contains 12 suppliers. Lot 4 covers the provision of brokerage and associated support services for the MoD only, while Lot 5 covers the provision of compensation claims handling and associated support services.

This agreement follows on from the first successful Insurance Services agreement (RM958). The new agreement has additional objectives, including: delivering an expanded scope of insurance classes to public sector organisations; ensuring fitness for purpose; and to be more flexible and more user friendly.

The first Insurance Services agreement produced over £10 million of savings for customers, with CCS predicting similar savings figures to be achieved in this agreement.

CCS is hosting a customer event in London on 12 May for customers wishing to learn more about using the Insurance Services II Framework Agreement. To book a place please email

Vehicle telematics
An important part of mature fleet management is the collection and analysis of vehicle telematics data to reduce fleet costs, support employers’ duty of care obligations, increase productivity, improve vehicle security, manage legislative compliance and reduce carbon footprints. Vehicle telematics also supports the whole life cost management of vehicles by providing live, operational data. E

The Vehicle Telematics agreement has been developed to help organisations manage their fleets more effectively by improving safety and efficiency through the use of telematics technology. Telematics enables fleet managers to monitor things like fuel consumption, vehicle tracking and driver behaviour, with the monitored data then available to identify ways to make significant cost reductions based on the whole life cost of vehicles.

The agreement was developed in conjunction with police, ambulance, local government and central government customers and features a range of suppliers, all of which are small and medium sized businesses.

Efficiencies and reductions in expenditure in fleet budgets will be recognised through a reduction in fuel consumption, maximising vehicle usage, reduction in accidents and a reduction in insurance premiums. Based upon the data provided from fleets who are already using vehicle telematics, CCS expects customers to be able to save £3 for every £1 invested.

The benefits of telematics for public sector organisations can be of large significance. Vehicle tracking supports the management of risk, driver safety, work planning and vehicle usage, and can provide a potential reduction of insurance premiums. Driver safety is such a key benefit. Telematics can provide a better understanding of driver behaviour, which will help improve safety by identifying driver training needs. There is also the potential for a reduction in fuel consumption and efficiency, changed by driver behaviour management. This can also sway possible future vehicle selection.

For vehicles which are in private user schemes, telematics can help distinguish between operational and private use to help with expenses and HMRC tax returns, while it supports duty of care and regulatory compliance, for example, tracking drivers who drive for long periods of time.

Processing payments efficiently
The Merchant Acquiring Services agreement has been designed to help government and public sector organisations access the equipment and services they need to accept payments by debit and credit cards and other payment methods.

The agreement replaces the previous DVLA and GBS Merchant Acquiring contracts and aims to formalise the use of debit card, credit card and alternative payment methods, which many organisations already use and which are already secured by the financial institutions.

The agreement provides CCS and its stakeholders with the opportunity to: refresh the existing requirement for key customers, whilst also taking advantage of some market changes and new innovations; introduce and attract new/more bidders, including SMEs, to increase competition; increase savings opportunities both in terms of process efficiencies and a reduction in fees with much greater focus on secure transactions, delivering significant savings from reduced Interchange fees; standardise the service delivery; and complement and support growth of the CCS Merchant Acquiring Service offering.

Benefits of the new agreement include: improved pricing – reduced rates for processing payments and the hire of chip and pin terminals, and lower set-up costs and management fees; additional discounts for all participating organisations through the aggregation of spend and transaction volumes; operational efficiencies and enhanced business processes; and it complements and supports the Government Digital Service payment platform.

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