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V4 Services

V4 Services' News & Events

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Privacy Policy
At V4 Services, we respect your privacy and are committed to protecting your personal data, so we’ve created this  privacy notice to tell you how we look after your personal data when you visit the V4 Services website, (regardless of where you visit it from) and tell you about your privacy rights and how the law protects you. You can download a pdf version of this policy here.
download Privacy Policy 2018
Crown Commercial Service supplier
22 May 2017
Support for the implementation of Cloud solutions and end-to-end procurement expertise for cloud technology solutions can now be procured from V4 Services using the Government’s Digitial Marketplace.V4 Services has been appointed as a supplier on G-Cloud 9, Lot 3 cloud support services.

Commercial Director, Stephen Morton, said: “We work with a broad range of clients to understand their challenges and issues, explore their future options in detail and after they’ve selected the solution that’s right for them, we support them through the stages of implementation.  This can be light touch - providing overall direction, or management and ownership of project delivery.”

V4 Services provides the following services:
  • Options appraisals including data analytics and business intelligence.
  • Outline and detailed business case development.
  • Implementation support for new systems.
  • End-to-end procurement of cloud-based technology solutions linked to savings. delivery, efficiency improvements and better customer experience.
Examples of our work include:
  • Support to Peterborough City Council with the implementation of Verto, a cloud-based collaboration and project management solution that enables a single view of all projects within an organisation for reporting progress, risks, inter-dependencies, and streamlining processes and information flows.  
  • A review of the Purchase to Pay system at Bedford Borough Council and change implementation support to rationalise the number of requisitioners, ensure compliance with value for money and automate and rationalise supplier invoicing.
  • Procurement of the London Borough of Merton’s Customer Relationship Management system using a competitive dialogue process.
If you’ve got a challenge and want an initial chat about potential solutions, please give us a call on 0121 400 0408 or email tellmemore@v4services.co.uk
ESPO logo
24 Apr 2017
V4 Services has been awarded a place on ESPO’s new National Consultancy Framework 664-17 which is available for use by all public sector organisations in the UK.  

The two-year framework which was launched this week and is in place until April 2019 provides public sector buyers with an efficient, compliant choice of suppliers to across a broad range of professional disciplines and expertise.  

Sally Howe, V4 Services’ Communications and Marketing Director said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed on to the new Framework which will gives the public sector a fast and cost-effective way of buying in specialist help.  

“Since 2014 we’ve delivered over 260 change and efficiency projects in partnership with 120 different organisations including councils, NHS and new organisations which have been set up by the public sector. We’re delighted to have secured a place on eight of the lots and look forward to continuing to help public sector organisations with their substantial challenges including transforming services, setting up alternative delivery models, savings delivery and integrating health and social care.”  

V4 Services has been appointed on to the following lots:  

  • Lot 1    Business services
  • Lot 3    Food and catering
  • Lot 4b  Social care (adults)
  • Lot 4c  Social care (children)
  • Lot 7    Leisure, culture and tourism
  • Lot 8c  Facilities management
  • Lot 8h  Waste and recycling 
  • Lot 10  Strategic projects  

If you’re interested in finding out about our work and how we can help you, please call 0121 400 0408.  
Integrated health and social care outcomes
22 Nov 2016
The benefits of a collaborative initiative by eight different health and social care partners in Oldham (Oldham Urgent Care Alliance) to reduce unplanned and unnecessary admissions to hospital will be shared at tomorrow’s Directors’ Forum of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Steve Morton, Service Director, V4 Services and Caroline Drysdale, Director of Community Health Services at Oldham Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust will talk about the programme management approach to integrating health and social care that has been put in place in Oldham and the impact this has had over the past year. 

“We have set up a number of schemes to deflect people from being admitted to hospital, these all have targets, clear plans and are monitored, managed and reported upon so that actions can be taken quickly if we are not on target.

“In the first 12 months we achieved a 5.8% decrease in unplanned hospital admissions despite and increase in A&E attendances of 2.6%,” said Caroline Drysdale.

In addition to the deflection schemes a new unit for frail or elderly patients was set up to support and care for people not seen as ‘seriously ill’ or needing to be in hospital to have an immediate discharge assessment and be supported with the right care within their own homes.  The average length of stay for people over 65 years reduced from 7.4 to 2.7 days (64%).

Following the success of the year pilot the Oldham Urgent Care Alliance has set up a permanent Programme Management Office which is not only managing schemes to meet the Better Care Fund targets but also the Winter Resilience Schemes to proactively manage the additional pressures that A&E departments face throughout the winter months.

V4 Services both set up and managed the Programme Management Office for the Alliance acting as the independent broker to negotiate some difficult decisions.  This has now been handed over to permanent staff with support from V4 Services to manage the data and intelligence for ongoing monitoring, reporting and management.


Oldham Urgent Care Alliance is a voluntary informal partnership between several partners with the objective to improve the integration of health and social care for the people of Oldham.

The Alliance is made up from: Oldham Council; Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust; Oldham CCG, GotoDoc, a social enterprise providing an out of hours GP service; Oldham Care and Support, a limited company owned by the council to provide homecare and re-ablement services); Voluntary Action Oldham, First Choice Homes; a GP representing GPs in the area.
Pickie Fun Park early market engagement
06 Oct 2016
Ards and North Down Borough Council has launched its early market engagement to seek views from experienced operators/developers in an opportunity to manage and develop Pickie Funpark, a family visitor attraction in Bangor, Northern Ireland.  

This much loved local attraction, which is a key site on Bangor’s seafront, was built in the 1990s and was redevelopment in 2012 with a £2.6 million investment.

V4 Services are working in partnership with the Council to engage with suppliers on how the  tourism and development potential of the park and its facilities can be optimised with the ultimate objective of entering into a new arrangement with an operator probably underpinned by a lease of the site from March 2017.

If you believe your organisation has the capabilities to help the Council to achieve its objectives and would wish to inform the potential procurement process, please contact us on market.engagement@v4services.com for a copy of the Business Opportunity Prospectus and questionnaire focused on the issues that we would like to explore with you. 

Please note: Deadline for responses to this early market engagement is Wednesday 26 Oct, by 12 noon.
Deans Sport and Leisure
04 Oct 2016
We’re interested in hearing from suppliers interested in a potential opportunity to manage and operate a number of sports and leisure facilities on behalf of Lincoln College. Deans Sport and Leisure in Lincoln has a range of quality facilities opened in 2012 including:
  • 40 station fitness centre,
  • Seven badminton court sports hall
  • Outside multi-purpose sports area (450m2)
  • Three squash courts
  • Spa and health suite
  • Hair salon and additional spa treatment areas
  • Climbing room with 4m high climbing facility
  • Dance studio
  • Spinning/multi-purpose room
  • Conference suite with capacity for up to 170 delegates
  With a student population of 9,000 part and full time students we are seeking the views and input of suppliers as part of an early market engagement in order to inform potential and innovative solutions that may be part of a formal procurement process.   For further information about this opportunity, please contact market.engagement@v4services.com   Deadline for responses is Monday 17 October 2016.
Macmillan cakes
30 Sep 2016

We can have our cake and eat it too! – Budding bakers from V4 Services rose to the challenge last week to bake tasty treats for the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Chocolate, carrot and mojito cupcakes were the order of the day all enjoyed with cups of tea and coffee.

Big thanks to Rachel Frondigoun and Debbie Low for organising the day; all our lovely bakers and those who came to part with their pounds to put on a few pounds!

A total of £120 was raised for Macmillan and the great work they do to support people who have been diagnosed with cancer, through their treatment and beyond.
HSJ Awards
12 Sep 2016

A programme of work to reduce non-emergency admissions away from Oldham’s busy A&E has been shortlisted in the Annual 35th HSJ Awards which take place on Wednesday 23 November at the InterContinental O2, London.

As a finalist in the ‘Improved Partnerships between Health and Local Government’ category, V4 Services has been working with a partnership of eight organisations ‘Oldham Urgent Care Alliance’ to meet the Better Care Fund guideline reduction of at least 3.5% in unplanned admissions to hospital compared with the previous year through an integrated care model.

A year into the programme, the approach taken has resulted in tangible benefits:
  • A reduction of 5.8% in non-emergency admissions despite a 2.6% increase in A&E attendances over the same period.
  • The average length of stay on a new unit (SPRINT) established for patients over 65 years reduced from 7.4 days to 2.7 days (64%).
  • A new paediatrics triage system resulted in almost 600 deflections.
  • A proactive system for the management of patients with long term conditions such as diabetes, asthma, breathing issues and chronic illnesses was introduced resulting in almost 500 hospital deflections and,
  • Patients in need of intravenous medications were diverted to intermediate care facilities in the community, resulting in over 250 additional hospital deflections.
Nine deflections schemes were established and managed by a small, central and independent Programme Management Office, run by transformation delivery partner, V4 Services. Its role was to provide challenge to the partners and ensure the best interests of the Alliance were promoted.

Steve Morton, Service Director at V4 Services said: “We have a strong track record in helping local authorities to design and deliver transformation plans and we’ve applied the same principles with our partners at Oldham Urgent Care Alliance whilst acting as a broker between organisations with the patient and local community at heart

We’re delighted with the results that have been achieved by all the partners in Oldham working together. The support and endorsement of the Oldham CCG and the partners’ receptiveness to change have been key to the success of the programme of work. The approach has been strongly focused on the collation of data and weekly performance reporting to test, review and reflect on our joint actions.”

About Oldham Urgent Care Alliance Oldham Urgent Care Alliance is a partnership of eight alliance partners: Oldham Council; Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust; GotoDoc, a social enterprise providing an out of hours GP service; MIO Care, a limited company owned by the council to provide homecare and re-ablement services; Action Together; First Choice Homes Oldham and GP representation.

The Alliance’s aim is to improve the urgent care system across the Oldham locality. It has a number of objectives: to reduce unplanned admissions to hospital by 3.5%, deliver a number of integration projects and take a performance management approach to the use of resilience funding.

About V4 Services
V4 Services designs and delivers interventions/programmes of work to enable our customers to meet their strategic objectives and required outcomes – whether that’s reduced costs, mitigated risks, improved performance, greater income, economic growth or typically a combination of outcomes. 

We’ve delivered successful projects for over 120 clients across the UK and work with councils, NHS, new delivery vehicles including not for profits, trusts, joint ventures; and the private sector. 

Our core services include: data analytics and business intelligence; programme management; savings delivery and income generation; end to end support to explore and set up new business models; commercialism, commissioning and procurement; design and delivery of transformation programmes.
download Download Case Study (PDF)
Go Awards Wales Finalist
12 Sep 2016

V4 Services, in partnership with Powys County Council, are thrilled to have been nominated as a finalist in the ‘Local Government Initiative of the Year’ and ‘Best Service’ categories of the inaugural Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards Wales 2016/17. 

Having explored the options for the operation of the Council’s leisure services, V4 Services worked with Powys County Council to procure an experienced  leisure operator to manage 15 leisure centres across Powys. A 15 year contract was awarded to Freedom Leisure, a not-for-profit leisure trust.  The new arrangements have secured: 
  • A saving of 32% of the original revenue budget, in excess of the original target.
  • Around £2.5 million capital investment in improved health and fitness facilities and management information systems during the first year and a commitment to further refresh investment in the fitness equipment by the contractor every five years.
A year into the new contract, Freedom Leisure has introduced a range of new membership schemes and flexible means of payment; completed five energy saving projects; improved the marketing and information and introduced a range of software to record and report on data, as well as increased both gym and general participation in active leisure.  

Councillor Graham Brown, Portfolio Holder for Commissioning and Procurement said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this important project. Not only have we made significant savings for the Council but services for local people are improving.  It is also great to receive external recognition of the work that has been carried out by our staff, V4 Services and Freedom Leisure to achieve these results.”  

Winners of the Awards will be announced on Thursday 6 October 2016 at the Marriott Hotel in Cardiff.  

The GO Awards Wales are the benchmark by which progress in this £5 billion plus sector in Wales is measured.  

Incredible! Just six months after our biggest National GO Awards, we return with our very first GO Awards Wales. Organisations in Wales are known for their best procurement practice and it’s been overwhelming to see so many of them enter our very first GO Awards Wales. This finalists’ list profiles those organisations who continue to excel in their field and make genuine differences to everyday life. Well done to everyone who entered – picking the winners this year is going to be a tough task for the GO Awards Wales Judging Panel,” said Grahame Steed, Government Opportunities Managing Editor and Lead Judge, GO Awards Wales 2016/17.
Exploris Aquarium and Sealife Centre
28 Jun 2016

Exploris Aquarium and Sealife Centre is set to reopen following nearly £1 million capital funding secured from the Northern Ireland, Department of Environment for facility refurbishment and support towards ongoing maintenance, and the successful appointment of Crumlin Road Gaol Ltd who will work in partnership with Dingle Oceanworld to provide a first class visitor attraction.

The facility was originally shut to the public in 2014 after years of falling visitor numbers and the need for an increasing financial subsidy from the local council (formerly Ards Borough Council and now Ards and North Down Borough Council).

V4 Services were appointed by the Council to initially evaluate the options for the future management of Exploris, to manage an early market engagement with potential operators to determine what the Council would need to do to ensure a successful operator procurement.

Steve Laird, V4 Services’ Director said: “The challenge that we had was significant because we were looking to fully understand how we could put together a management package which would meet the requirements of both the Council and any new operator but at the same time work within an incredibly tight timescale to obtain a time-limited capital grant from the Department of Environment.”

We worked alongside expert lawyers, Pinsent Masons, to develop and manage the procurement approach and we’re really pleased with the outcome which brings back a revitalised visitor attraction for Northern Ireland and its visitors." 

Ards and North Down Borough Council’ Alderman Deborah Girvan said: “We could not be more delighted with the outcome of the project and the scheduled reopening of Exploris. Working with V4 Services we are very pleased to have appointed such an innovative company as Crumlin Road Gaol Ltd to operate the Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary for us. Their proposals are robust and promise to deliver a first class visitor attraction that will contribute to public understanding of marine life and make a very strong contribution to the regeneration and economic life of Portaferry, as well as the wider Ards and North Down area.”  The management of the process has resulted in: 
  • The appointment of a new operator that currently manages Crumlin Road Gaol, one of Northern Ireland’s leading visitor attractions (supported by a specialist aquarium operator from the Republic of Ireland) to manage Exploris and the seal sanctuary under a 25 year operating agreement.
  • Over £1 million investment in improvements to the facilities, largely funded through a capital grant provided by the Department of Environment.
  • A significant broadening of the range of marine exhibits and related attractions.
  • Approximately 75% reduction in the maximum annual revenue subsidy required from the Council.
  • A share in operator profits above an agreed threshold.
  • Transfer of all operating cost and income risks to the new operator.
  • Continued provision of a seal sanctuary to serve the whole of Northern Ireland.
download Read full case study (pdf)
Stafford Borough Council V4 Services
20 May 2016

Stafford Borough Council has today launched its early market engagement to seek interest and views from experienced leisure operators in managing an attractive package of leisure, culture and heritage facilities in the area.   

The package includes: four leisure and fitness centres, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, Stafford Castle, heritage sites, marketing and events including the prestigious annual Stafford Festival Shakespeare and facility related sports development services.  

The council is eager to speak to potential operators retain and develop the high quality provision and variety of services that the local community benefits from.  

Adam Hill, Head of Leisure and Culture said: “We’re proud of the services that we deliver for the local community, and have a great portfolio of facilities, this process is intended to protect and build upon this offer by working in partnership with others.  

“V4 Services are working with us to manage the engagement and procurement process and get the best possible outcome for the Council, our partners and the local community.”  

Operators interested in this opportunity are invited to request a copy of the Early Market Engagement Prospectus by emailing market.engagement@v4services.com.
download Stafford Borough Council Prospectus (pdf) download Appendix A (pdf) download Appendix B (pdf)
NHS Five Year Plan
19 May 2016

V4 Services and the Oldham Urgent Care Alliance are preparing to share the results of a programme of work to meet the Better Care Fund target of reducing unplanned hospital admissions at next week’s NHS Five Year Plan: Implementation and Progress Conference in London on Thursday 26 May.

The Oldham Urgent Care Alliance, a voluntary partnership of a mixture of organisations with responsibility for improving the integration of health and social care in Oldham, is delighted to have exceeded the BCF target of a 3.5% reduction on the previous year.

V4 Services has been managing the Programme Management Office for the Alliance over the past year bringing together the whole programme of interventions in a coherent structure and acting as the independent broker to negotiate some difficult decisions.

If you're not able to attend the conference but are interested in the results of the programme - Download our case study or contact us on 01785 211616 or contactus@v4services.co.uk for further information.

Note: Oldham Urgent Care Alliance is a voluntary informal partnership between several partners with the objective to improve the integration of health and social care for the people of Oldham.

The Alliance is made up from: Oldham Council; Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust; Oldham CCG, GotoDoc, a social enterprise providing an out of hours GP service; Oldham Care and Support, a limited company owned by the council to provide homecare and re-ablement services); Voluntary Action Oldham, First Choice Homes; a GP representing GPs in the area.
Better Care Fund target achieved
15 Apr 2016
A programme of work to divert non-emergency admissions away from Oldham’s busy A&E has resulted in a 5.8% reduction in non-elective admissions over a 12 month period, despite a 2.6% increase in A&E attendances over the same period.

Oldham Urgent Care Alliance, which is comprised of eight alliance partners (Oldham Council; Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust; GotoDoc, a social enterprise providing an out of hours GP service; Oldham Care and Support, a limited company owned by the council to provide homecare and re-ablement services; Voluntary Action Oldham; First Choice Homes and GP representation) has been working with V4 Services to establish and implement a Programme Management Office with the responsibility of coordinating the work of the eight partners in achieving the Better Care Fund guideline reduction of at least 3.5% in non-elective admissions to hospital compared to the previous year.

Following a recent visit by the national Better Care Fund lead, the Urgent Care Alliance was praised. “The key strengths of Oldham’s BCF programme are built on very strong relationships between the Council and CCG, and also with providers. The Urgent Care Alliance brings together all of the major players on the patch and is the vehicle for their BCF plan.

They have resourced a PMO to support the alliance and see this as a key factor in their success, with a strong focus on data and key metrics”, said Anthony Kealy, Head of Delivery Support (Better Care Fund, Out-of-Hospital and Elective Care Programmes). 

Steve Morton, Service Director, V4 Services said: “We’re delighted with the results that have been achieved by all the partners in Oldham working together with the patient at the centre of what we do. The support and endorsement of the Oldham CCG and the partners’ receptiveness to change have been key to the success of the programme of work.”

V4 Services role has been to:
  • Set up and manage the programme management office
  • Review all nine deflection schemes and set and agree key targets and milestones.
  • Set out project plans with clear actions and responsibilities.
  • Establish a governance structure for oversight of the whole programme.
  • Capture historic and current data and design a reporting mechanism.
  • Set up reporting structures with weekly performance reports circulated to all key stakeholders.
  • Challenge thinking, broker decisions and negotiate with partners to drive forward solutions.
  • Project manage the:
    • Paediatric project;
    • Integrated discharge team project;
    • Reviews of ambulatory care and A&E;
    • Performance management and evaluation of the winter resilience funding.
Further information about the work is available in this case study.
Procurex North Live
03 Mar 2016
With warnings of fresh cuts to public spending from the Chancellor this week, there is no let up for those who hold the purse strings and decision makers in the public sector to deliver the services that local communities need with an ever decreasing pot of money. 

Having worked with over 120 public sector organisations including: councils, NHS, social enterprises and new business models arising, we’re proud of our achievements that we’ve delivered in partnership with our customers to meet community need without the need to cut services.

If you’ve got a challenge and you don’t really know what your options might be, we’d be delighted to have a chat with you at next Tuesday’s Procurex North Live event at Manchester Central Convention Centre. 

Visit the V4 Services team at Stand 59 to find out what we’ve been doing for other organisations and how we could help you.  If you’re not able to come along on the day but are interested in what we offer, please contact us tellmemore@v4services.co.uk

Go Excellence in Public Procurement
08 Feb 2016
V4 Services in partnership with Powys County Council, are delighted to have been nominated as finalists in the ‘Procurement Innovation or Initiative of the Year’ category -local government and consortia within this year’s National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2016/17.  

Steve Laird, Director, V4 Services said: “We’re really pleased with this recognition. We worked hard with the team at Powys to ensure the Council’s objectives were achieved and that the provision of leisure services in the county is on a sustainable footing for the local community.”  

Deputy Leader of Powys County Council, Councillor Graham Brown, said: “We are absolutely delighted at this recognition as the level of competition for this year’s awards was at its most competitive yet, with many high-profile organisations from across the UK submitting an entry. Although we won’t find out if we are winners until 8 March, we are proud to achieve finalist status, which itself is a great commendation for the work that we have done to procure a new strategic partner, Freedom Leisure, to operate our leisure sites across the county.”  

The 15 year contract is due to make savings of £18 million (32% of the original budget) plus an investment of £2.5 million in improved health and fitness facilities and management information systems and a further commitment by Freedom Leisure to refresh fitness equipment every five years.  

“During a time when many local authorities are under pressure to fund non-statutory services such as leisure, we have taken a proactive approach to secure the future of our services to our communities,” added Councillor Brown.  

The National GO Awards 2016/17 will be held on Tuesday 8 March on the evening of Procurex North Live 2016.   Now in their 16th year, the National GO Awards are the benchmark by which progress in this multi-billion pound sector is measured.  

“The UK sets the standard for procurement excellence around the world, so it’s great to see so many organisations’ procurement teams willing to test themselves against the UK’s best. The UK’s Day of Procurement on Tuesday 8 March is going to be hotly contested!” said Grahame Steed, Managing Editor of Government Opportunities and lead judge for the GO Awards.
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham Business Opportunity Prospe
18 Jan 2016
The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is seeking interest from experienced leisure operators to manage four of its leisure facilities: Becontree Heath Leisure Centre, Abbey Leisure Centre, Jim Peters Arena and Barking Splash Park.  This is a fantastic opportunity for potential suppliers with Abbey Leisure Centre in the centre of Barking having opened just eight months ago and Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in the heart of Dagenham, being just four years old.

V4 Services are working in partnership with the Council and are interested in speaking to suppliers, who already operate similar facilities and have the capability and experience to work with the Council in taking forward its vision.

Initial feedback and discussions, as part of the early market engagement, are being sought by Monday 25 January with a report on the findings due in February.   If you’re interested in this opportunity, read the Business Opportunity Prospectus to find out more about the current provision, the Council’s vision, the process and contacts for responding or email peter.appleton2@lbbd.gov.uk
download Business Opportunity Prospectus
Spending Review
25 Nov 2015
V4 Services’ response to today’s Comprehensive Spending Review

Lots of announcements made by the Chancellor in today’s Spending Review, the specific detail and impact on local government is not yet clear.  While the detail of these changes and number crunching is carried out, we expect the challenge faced by councillors, chief executives and senior officers to continue to be tough over the next five years.  

Having risen to the challenge to deliver £10bn of savings since 2011/12 through shared services; rationalised assets; improved processes and productivity; streamlined services, channel shift and buying more wisely, local government must continue at pace to deliver services that meet public need.


1.    Reduce costs
Following detailed spend analysis to identify specific suppliers, we conduct a contract analysis and options for renegotiation with your top suppliers.  You can also embed this new commercial approach with our commissioning and contract management toolkits. 

2.    Recover your money
On a no return, no fee basis, our delivery partner, Meridian Cost Benefit can undertake a purchase ledger review to identify: duplicate payments, credit notes not processed, VAT errors, errors on supplier statements to identify opportunities to recover funds due to the council from its suppliers. Recent projects at Central Bedfordshire Council and Worcestershire County Council have delivered returns of £500,000 and £180,000 respectively. 

3.    Increase your income
Do you know your income from sales, fees and charges as a percentage of your total spend? How does it compare to similar authorities and your neighbours and what are the potential commercial opportunities across your service areas? We can conduct a Commercial Diagnostic of all service areas across your council with a view to identifying commercial opportunities to increase earning potential. Recent projects include: Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and Ipswich Borough Council. 

4.    Explore your options of delivering services using Alternative Delivery Vehicles  
We’ve set up over 25 alternative delivery vehicles (ADVs) including: charitable trusts, Teckal compliant local authority trading companies, and managed the procurement of specialist operators to manage and operate council services. From the initial options appraisal to the provision of end-to-end support to set up the new ADV, time is needed in the planning but the financial rewards can be significant.  Recent projects including Belfast City Council and Powys County Council have resulted in 25% and 32% reduction in the annual revenue subsidy. 

5.    Develop a commercial culture
Our bespoke development programme works with Members, Senior Managers and Heads of Service giving them the knowledge to develop, scrutinise and develop new delivery models and a more commercial approach.    

To find out more please visit www.v4services.co.uk or contact sally.howe@v4services.com on 07912 517093 or nev.wilkinson@v4services.com  on 07786176401.
Powys County Council Leisure consultants
20 Oct 2015
Freedom Leisure, a not-for-profit leisure trust, was awarded a 15 year contract on 1 July 2015 to manage and operate 15 leisure centres for Powys County Council.  

Following an initial options appraisal carried out by V4 Services and a ‘Stop and Think’ workshop, the Council decided that the best strategy was for its leisure centres to be managed by an existing specialist operator.  

V4 Services were further engaged to support the Council through a full, EU compliant tender process.  

The complete package of services provided included: leisure market and commercial expertise, extensive document drafting, preparation of a financial submission workbook and financial instructions, assistance with the dialogue process, development of an evaluation model, support to the evaluation, clarification and preferred tenderer selection processes,  full financial support and legal support through Leonie Cowen Associates.  

The new arrangements have contractually secured a saving in excess of the original target from year one, growing over 15 years to a total of nearly £18 million (32% of the original budget).  

Jenny Ashton, Service Strategy & Development Manager said: “The team from V4 Services provided expert professional support to our Project Team throughout the process. They were responsive to our needs and their expert advice enabled the Council to deliver an exceptional outcome for our local communities, with major savings which will help to fund building improvements.  

The team were on hand to support very extensive engagement with members and local stakeholders. As a critical friend they enabled the Council to address immediate challenges which were different at the start of the engagement.  They responded quickly to highly complex queries and worked hard to share knowledge and experience with our team.” 
download Read full case study (pdf)
Paul Kelly Leisure Consultant
01 Oct 2015
Sport and Leisure Consultant, Paul Kelly, joins V4 Services in response to the growing demand from local authorities to explore different options for the delivery of sport, leisure and cultural services.  

Having worked as one of the company’s associates for four years, Paul has been appointed as Assistant Director to support Director, Steve Laird in the growth and delivery of a number of key projects.  

V4 Services have been working in partnership with a growing number of councils to deliver significant subsidy reductions for the provision of leisure services, and in some cases removing the need for revenue support.  

Notable projects include: supporting Belfast City Council to establish a local charitable trust ‘Active Belfast’ with a secondary level agreement in which the trust contracts with specialist operator, GLL; working with Newark and Sherwood District Council to establish a Teckal compliant, local authority trading company, ‘Active4Today Limited’, to manage and operate the council’s leisure facilities and services; managing the procurement process to appoint a specialist golf operating partner for the management, maintenance and development of Liverpool City Council’s golf courses and helping Bedford Council procure a leisure partner, ‘Fusion Leisure’ to operate the council’s facilities at zero subsidy.
23 Sep 2015
Belfast City Council today announced a fantastic opportunity for catering and hospitality suppliers interested in managing and operating the restaurant and catering outlets for a number of visitor attractions across the City, including the award-winning Waterfront Conference and Exhibition Centre which is currently undergoing a £29.5 million extension.  

V4 Services are working in partnership with the City Council and are interested in speaking to suppliers, who may already operate similar international venues as well as local catering and restaurant outlets within the City interested in partnership opportunities to develop the food and drink experience for visitors.  

Other notable venues forming part of the business opportunity include: Ulster Hall, Belfast Zoo, The Stables Coffee Shop, Malone House and Belfast Castle.   Initial feedback and discussions, as part of the early market engagement, are being sought by Monday 5 October with a Market Consultation Event or further meetings planned for the 7 and 8 October 2015.  

If you’re interested in this opportunity, read the Business Opportunity Prospectus to find out more about the current provision, the Council’s vision, the process and contacts for responding.
download Download Belfast City Council, Business Opportunity Prospectus -
Carlisle City Council leisure procurement
03 Sep 2015
Carlisle City Council is seeking expressions of interest from potential partner organisations with the capability and capacity to operate and develop their existing and proposed sport and leisure facilities.  

As a designated ‘Healthy City’, health plays a key part in the overall vision for Carlisle as set out in its Sports and Physical Activity Strategy 2013-17.  

The objectives set in the Strategy are to: 
  • Work in partnership to provide and promote high quality opportunities for adults of all abilities to become involved in sport and physical activity on a regular basis.
  • Work in partnership to facilitate opportunities for children and young people of all abilities to become involved in sport and physical activity on a regular basis.
  • Provide and promote high quality and safe opportunities for all Carlisle residents especially disabled, socially excluded or under-represented groups.
  • Support talented performers and assist them to reach their personal dreams and goals.
  • Support the ongoing development of coaching and volunteering capacity within the sport and physical activity sector in Carlisle.
  • Encourage access to a range of quality places in Carlisle to play sport and take part in physical activity.
  • Maintain and develop the culture of working in partnership that delivers on its promises to local communities and funding bodies.
 The Council has entered an early market engagement exercise and is interested in input from potential capable and experienced partners who: 
  • Can eliminate the current revenue subsidy whilst retain a reasonable focus on economically
  • accessible and community focused facilities and sports/cultural offer
  • Have a commitment to ongoing improvement and investment in sports and leisure facilities.
  • Have experience and knowledge of major facilities development. Any new operator will have to offer significant input to the development of the proposed new facilities at The Sands Centre.
  • Have an understanding of the economic impact of leisure and cultural facilities and a willingness to enter into a creative and innovative partnership with regards to economic regeneration across the city, including the potential for development on new and other sites.
Initial responses are required by 11 September 2015.   If you’re interested in this opportunity, read the Business Opportunity Prospectus to find out more about the current provision, the Council’s vision, the process and contacts for responding.
download Download Carlisle City Council, Business Opportunity Prospectus
Belfast City Council leisure transformation
01 Sep 2015
Belfast City Council has committed to an ambitious £105 million investment in its leisure provision to improve health outcomes across the City, provide modern, fit for purpose facilities for local people and increase the level of participation in regular physical activity.  

V4 Services are working in partnership with the City Council and are interested in speaking to developers, principal works contractors, architects and PPP partners who may have a potential role in delivering the Council’s vision.  

Initial feedback and discussions are being sought by 18 September to feed into a Supplier Engagement Day.  

If you’re interested in this opportunity, read the Business Opportunity Prospectus to find out more about the current provision, the Council’s vision, the process and contacts for responding.

download Download Belfast City Council, Business Opportunity Prospectus (
Tandridge District Council commercial approach
30 Jul 2015
Improved procurement principles and practices have been put in place at Tandridge District Council following a 15 month partnership with V4 Services. Following an initial diagnostic exercise to determine whether purchasing savings could be delivered and assess the Council’s approach to procurement, V4 Services worked with the Council to: 
  • Deliver savings from re-negotiated contracts, 14 of the top 50 contracts.
  • Establish a lower cost base with which to start re-tendered contracts.
  • Train staff to be able to negotiate and spot opportunities.
  • Develop professional contract management principles.
  • Embed a contract management structure.
  • Improve the procurement documentation and guidance.
  • Set up a Procurement Board to bring governance, structure and direction to all procurement.
  • Improve practical skills.
Louise Round, Chief Executive, Tandridge District Council said: “The timing of our work with V4 Services was fortuitous as we were reviewing both the governance of our procurement arrangements and our commercial approach. The savings which they helped us to identify in existing contracts were of course very welcome but what was even more helpful was the way in which V4 Services personnel were able to work with our staff to impart skill and expertise.  

“Staff report feeling a good deal more confident in both procurement and contract management and we have been left with a much more robust procurement framework, standing us  in good stead for the financial challenges to come”
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Local authority trading company
01 Jun 2015
A newly formed Council-controlled, Teckal compliant, trading company took over the management and operation of leisure facilities and sports development for Newark & Sherwood Council yesterday.  

V4 Services’ Director of Development, Steve Laird, said:  “Having worked in partnership with the Council to fully explore different options for delivery of services, it’s been great to work with the team to set up Active4Today Limited.   

“The arrangements have released £324,000 savings for the Council and the new organisation has a target of achieving a zero net revenue subsidy by 2017, three years ahead of the original plans.”  

The V4 Services’ team specifically worked on:  
  • Production of the detailed options appraisal which identified the best model for moving forward as being a council-controlled, Teckal compliant company.
  • Mobilisation support for the establishment of the new trading vehicle including:
    • Development of a five year comprehensive Business Plan
    • Assessment of pensions.
    • Formulation of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and other governance documents.
    • Assistance with the recruitment of the Shadow Board.
    • Development of the Lease and Management Agreement between the Council and the new LATC.
    • Establishment of the LATC including charitable status and VAT registration.
    • Advice on service level agreements with the Council for the provision of support services.
    • Provision of advice regarding the client-side function and performance management regime.
 “We wish the directors of Active4Today Ltd and the 67 staff that transferred over today every success in developing a strong leisure and sports offering that meets the needs of local people”, added Steve.
download Read full case study
Non statutory services
14 May 2015
We've worked in partnership with over 100 public sector organisations helping them to reduce the cost of service provision while focusing on clear outcomes to be delivered.

The Queen will outline the new Government's policies and proposed legislation next Wednesday at the State Opening of Parliament.

Essentially for local government there will be even more efficiency, even more transparency and even more accountability.  Non-statutory services are particularly vulnerable.

We have a strong track-record of delivering revenue reductions (25% +) moving toward zero subsidy. Don't close facilities - talk to us to find out what we've achieved with Belfast City Council, Bedford Borough Council, North Down Borough Council, Newark & Sherwood Council in developing new models of service delivery.
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Belfast City Council leisure transformation
10 Apr 2015
An innovative new arrangement to transfer Belfast City Council’s leisure services into a locally established trust with a secondary level agreement between the Trust (Active Belfast) and Greenwich Leisure Limited has secured a net annual reduction of £2 million from original £8 million annual revenue subsidy.  

V4 Services were engaged by the Council via a competitive tender process using the ESPO Pro5 National Consultancy Framework and acted as advisor to the City Council on all financial, services and commercial matters.  

The City Council’s objective was to secure long term financial savings, which would be used to part-finance the cost of borrowing for a £105 million capital investment in the development of new leisure facilities including the new £19 million sporting and community hub in South Belfast.  

Andrew Hassard, Director of Parks and Leisure, Belfast City Council said: “We appointed V4 Services because of their extensive knowledge of the wide range of issues that the Council would have to address in order to achieve our very ambitious transformation plan.  

“They provided an exceptionally good service throughout the project, responding very quickly to a variety of challenges. They engaged effectively with all stakeholders and provided clear advice and support, maintaining complete integrity throughout the complex negotiations. This included working with six political party groups, informing and advising them on a unique commissioning role for the Council in the delivery of services.  

“They provided hands on support and advice and were always highly accessible to meet, discuss and address emerging issues. The V4 Services’ team have a highly focused approach and they were able to gain the trust and confidence of the Project Board very early in the process, helping to shape the various agreements. The outcome has been a contractually assured saving of £2 million per annum with an expectation that service quality will also improve significantly.”
download Read our case study Belfast City Council NPDO
26 Mar 2015
Local authority budgets for non-statutory services are predicted to shrink by 66% by 2020[1] but there's still options for reducing cost and increasing income well before consideration is given to closing down services.  

Research carried out by the Local Government Association suggests that 60% of councils are considering some degree of service reduction to help meet the budget gap in 2015/16.

Steve Laird, Director, V4 Services said: “In our work with councils across the country we still see plenty of opportunity to do things differently either within the existing in-house service to generate greater income and reduce operational cost or through exploring alternative service delivery models.

“Our recent work with Wirral Council and Belfast City Council has secured substantial savings and enabled investment in new facilities.

“Before considering any service closure, we’re keen to talk to any authority to set out what could be possible to sustain some of the most popular services for local residents.”  

[1] Local Government Association: Under Pressure, How councils are planning for future cuts
download Read our case study Wirral Council Leisure Transformation
Gateway Conference Centre, Aylesbury
27 Feb 2015
V4 Services is pleased to announce its sponsorship of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s entry into this year’s LGC Awards which take place on Wednesday 11 March 2015, at the Grosvenor House, London.  

Over 175 submissions have been shortlisted across 19 different categories with Aylesbury Vale District Council up against six other councils for the title of ‘Entrepreneurial Council of the Year’.   

V4 Services’ Executive Director, Paul Tonks said: “We have been working in partnership with the council to manage and coordinate the council’s £100 million major projects programme.

“It’s really fantastic to be part of the achievements and new facilities that have been developed for local people to benefit from.  These have included the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, the refurbishment of Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre, the Gateway Conference Centre– combined council offices and conference centre - and the development of the Waterside South with retail and hotel units. We are now working with the council and its partners, Bucks New University and Aylesbury College, to deliver a new University Campus for Aylesbury Vale which will be another fantastic addition.”

“We’ve worked with over 75 local authorities and it is great to see the positive, commercial and entrepreneurial attitude and skills within the team, we wish the council all the very best on the night.”  

In addition to regenerating the area though investments in their property portfolio,   the council’s award submission highlighted an impressive cultural change programme and a ‘New Business Model’ approach to reviewing services and generating income.  

Check out the new facilities in Aylesbury and future plans

download Download release
Cabinet Office
26 Feb 2015
Following consultation on the new EU Procurement Directives (28 March 2014), the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 come into force today.

Some interesting developments aimed at simplifying public procurement, increasing transparency and reducing bidding costs and ensuring that small businesses have better access to public sector contracts.

Download a copy of our Guidance Note
download Public Contract Regulations 2015
Digital media
08 Jul 2014
Paperhat has partnered with leading industry publication Supply Management to run an online webinar on tendering for marketing services and other complex categories.  

Heads of Procurement and Heads of Marketing Communications are invited to join “Rip up the RFP”, a free webinar on Thursday 17 July at 1pm which will question whether traditional recognised tendering processes are robust enough to cover the many categories in marketing procurement, which increasingly cross over into other service sectors. Adam Jacobs, MD of V4 Services, will join Ian Sullivan from Paperhat and Peter Rowe, Sourcing Manager (Marketing) from Royal Bank of Scotland.  

Chaired by Supply Management magazine the panel will debate how best to optimise and align the RFX process to deliver a lower cost of ownership and improved ROI, how to make the scope wide enough to meet an organisation’s future needs and how to encourage innovation and proactivity from partners in the supply chain.  

The way that customers engage with products and services and the organisations that produce or provide them has changed substantially in the past five years.

Digital media channels continue to grow and smartphone penetration will reach 75 per cent [1]of the UK population this year, with tablet penetration following quickly up the ranks at 50 per cent. At the same time, organisations and companies whose customers span the generations from post-war to Generation Z, have an increasing challenge of ensuring that their marketing and communications are highly targeted and use the right channels to reach, get the attention of, and increasingly collaborate with their intended audience. But while new digital channels, apps and technology hit the market, enabling quicker and easier communications and conversation, – are those in charge of buying marketing services, Heads of Procurement and Heads of Marketing Communications, keeping track of changes in the marketplace to be able to buy the marketing services they require to deliver their intended outcomes? 

From a procurement perspective there can be a mistaken desire to rationalise the supplier base to drive down cost and introduce consistency with the unintended consequence of a single supplier appointed for three years to do all design, all print and with little in the way of innovation.  

There is no doubt that large multi-service marketing agencies can fulfil many requirements but how sure are we that the appointed supplier can carry out all marketing regardless of the audience, whether that’s primary aged children or those in their 80s and 90s? How much consideration was given to the outcomes required and the necessary experience (and evidence of such experience) to deliver? 

One great thing about marketing and communications as an industry is that it is constantly evolving.  There are many suppliers from multi-nationals to micros; there’s ample creativity and innovation and plenty of choice of sector specialists. Those who know and understand the teen market, the next latest thing, what movies and pop stars are current will be different to those who understand how to engage multiple stakeholders in a town centre regeneration scheme. 

Your suppliers are an extension of your in-house team, they are your partners in delivery, so make sure you take the time from the outset to: 
  • Be clear about the issue you are trying to solve / your objective
  • Research the supplier market before going out to procurement
  • Ensure you check out the evidence of what the suppliers have delivered previously and their approach to meeting your objectives
  • Take references from their clients, do they deliver?
  • Find out how their technology will improve your internal processes? i.e. feedback on proofs, version control, management of the approval process etc
    Interested in joining the debate? Attendance at the webinar is free by registering at http://bit.ly/1iuDRGR  

[1] Source: Internet Advertising Bureau
download Download article
05 Jun 2014
A project to identify areas of erroneous spend and provide assurance of the strength of procedures in place within Accounts Payable, has recovered £100,000 for Central Bedfordshire Council. 

Using the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Spend Analysis and Recovery Services Framework, the Council appointed Meridian V4 Services to carry out the review on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

Paul Meigh, Chief Procurement Officer, Central Bedfordshire Council said: “Prior to project commencement, Meridian set clear expectations of the likely value of recoveries and expected project delivery timelines.  The council is delighted with the results achieved from this project; expectations were exceeded and the whole project had very little impact on the day to day functions of the team.”

As a direct result of the success of the project, the council is re-investing some of the physical cash savings into further contract compliance opportunities including an audit of telecommunications.

Note: Meridian Cost Benefit Limited and V4 Services Limited bring together specialist spend and procurement diagnostic services and a track record of spend recovery and savings delivery.  Meridian V4 Services is a special purpose vehicle set up for provision of services through the CCS Spend Analysis and Recovery Services Framework.
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reducing the cost of local authority golf courses
29 May 2014
Following a review of the options for Liverpool City Council to secure the provision of ‘pay and play’ golf at two golf courses, Liverpool North and Allerton Golf Course, L32 Trading Ltd have been appointed as the new operators, securing the future of the two long standing sports facilities.

V4 Services were appointed as advisor to the Council on all commercial and procurement matters, advising on the development of the process documentation and legal agreements.

Our team worked with the Council to refine the Council’s requirements, carry out market testing, design the procurement route to produce the best commercial outcome, produce the procurement documentation set, establish the risk transfer required and support and advise on stages of the procurement and award process.

The arrangement makes sure that the golf courses continue to operate at a price that is affordable to users and receive investment to make them sustainable in the long term.
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Public health contract review
05 Feb 2014
Work to integrate public health into Oldham Council has delivered £1.4 million of ongoing savings following a detailed review of all transferred contracts.   

V4 Services were challenged to deliver a million pound of savings from the overall budget of seven million spent on third party suppliers who provide a range of public health services to Oldham’s community.   

Following an analysis of existing spend and review of all contracts, the potential for savings and a plan of action was agreed with the council.  Sensitive and protracted negotiations with suppliers resulted in overall savings of £1.4 million with no detrimental effect to services and in some cases improvements.   

Maggie Kufeldt, Assistant Executive Director, Joint Commissioning for Oldham Council said: “This particular review has been really successful. The V4 Services’ team did an excellent job of getting to the bottom of contracts, supporting us to identify waste and heading the negotiations and discussions with providers.  I’ve been really impressed by the team’s ability to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in and with the tenacity displayed in sometimes challenging situations.”   

The work undertaken by Oldham Council in partnership with V4 Services is being shared today at AGMA’s Procurement Hub.
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Bedfords Leisure Facilities
06 Jan 2014

Leisure facilities in Bedford will receive an investment of £3 million and Bedford Borough Council expects to achieve substantial savings on the management of leisure facilities in the borough following a procurement managed by V4 Services in partnership with the council.   

Fusion Lifestyle will take over the operation of Bedford Borough Council's leisure facilities on 1 February with aims to increase participation in active sport and recreation. 

Andy Watkins, Assistant Chief Executive & Chief Finance Officer, Bedford Borough Council said: "We have very high expectations for our leisure services and were determined to secure specific outcomes from the process. Our absolute requirement was for all leisure facilities to continue to be affordable and accessible for local residents.

"The outcome was excellent, and working together with V4 Services we expect to deliver savings amounting to £15 million over the full contract term. In addition, local people will benefit from the result of investment by the new operating partner of more than £3 million in their local leisure facilities."

V4 Services operate the council’s Commercial Hub to support delivery of the council’s strategic objectives and drive value from its suppliers.    

Steve Laird, Director of Leisure & Cultural Services for V4 Services said: “By adopting a multi-stage approach to the procurement process which involved a compliant and variant bid and involving competitive dialogue, we were able to secure a really positive outcome for the council and local community.  While many local authorities face the financial challenge of keeping leisure centres open, Bedford Borough Council has secured a fantastic result of increased investment in leisure facilities and a reduced subsidy by the council of a £1 million per year.”
download Read full case study