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V4 Services

News & Events 2012 Archive

Star Awards 2013
21 Aug 2013

V4 Services is to sponsor the ‘Outstanding Individual Achievement Award’ in Aylesbury Vale District Council’s third annual Star Awards.  

Calls for nominations have gone out for teams and individuals across the council who have worked above and beyond to provide efficient, cost effective and quality services for their local community and colleagues.

After going through an initial Judging Panel, all shortlisted nominees will be recognised during an Awards Celebration on Thursday 10 October at the new Gateway Offices in Aylesbury where finalists of each category will be presented with a glass star trophy.  

Paul Tonks, Executive Director, V4 Services said: “We’re really proud to be involved in the changes that are taking place in Aylesbury to bring new facilities and the opportunity of new experiences to the people of Aylesbury and the surrounding area.  Our team works closely with many of the staff within the council and we’re pleased to be able to give our support to recognising those who deserve a big thank you for the efforts that they put in to make change and improvements happen.”
Public sector procurement
09 Jul 2013

Bedford Borough Council’s new approach to commercial procurement has not only delivered financial savings but also put the commercial structure in place to plan, resource and deliver against a forward-looking Procurement Roadmap. 

The council identified procurement as a major strand of its efficiency programme. Working with V4 Services has enabled us to put in place the right skills and discipline to make a real difference.” Andy Watkins, Assistant Director – Finance and Corporate Services, Bedford Borough Council.

The Commercial Hub has delivered tangible benefits including:
  • Savings of over £1.3 million accrued to the end of 2012/13 with a further significant saving of £1.4 million identified for delivery
  • The core foundations that will support further development of procurement across the council and deliver real value have been put in place, in particular:
    • Category management has been established as a way of working within the council
    • Revised Procurement Strategy
    • Contract review
    • Support to over 68 tenders with a contract value in excess of £30 million (2012/13)
    • The percentage of invoices with a valid purchase order has risen from 40% to 66% between August and December 2012.
Read full case study
12 Jun 2013

Significant financial pressures are forcing councils to think creatively about the priority needs of local people; how money can be diverted from expensive cure to invest early in prevention and how they shape themselves or others to meet these needs. This doesn’t mean just looking at how services are redesigned but also how they are funded, the audience they serve; the functions that councils engage in to support them and ultimately which organisation is best placed to deliver these services cost effectively.

Many councils have committed to becoming more ‘commercial’ or ‘entrepreneurial’ however there is still much confusion and misunderstanding, both at a political and officer level, of what this actually means in practice.

The NLGN, V4 Services and Buckinghamshire County Council are hosting an open roundtable discussion at this year’s LGA Annual Conference on Wednesday 3 July 2013 between 14:30-16:00 hrs at the Midland Hotel, Lancaster Suite, Manchester.   

This event will bring together a selection of senior local government officers and thought leaders to discuss how local government can truly become more entrepreneurial and commercially minded.   A number of practical case studies will be shared from colleagues across local government followed by a frank and open exchange over what does and doesn’t constitute a genuinely commercially-minded council.  

Venue details: the Midland Hotel is a two minute walk from the conference centre. You don’t need to be registered at the LGA Conference in order to attend this free event but please let the NGLN know in advance by emailing rsvp@nlgn.org.uk so we can reserve a space for you.

download Download details
Bike challenge
12 Jun 2013

V4 Services’ Managing Director, Adam Jacobs joined staff from Liverpool City Council to take part in a Charity Bike Challenge at Lifestyles Millennium  in aid of charity Zoë's Place Baby Hospice.  

Managers competed against staff to see who could use up the most calories while raising essential funds for Zoë's Place a home from home operating in Liverpool, Middlesborough and Coventry for babies who have life limiting or terminal illnesses and special and complex needs to varying degrees.   A total of £530 was raised on the day with more fund raising activities planned by staff at Liverpool City Council.  

Read more about the great work of Zoë's Place
GPS logo
03 Jun 2013

V4 Services and Meridian Cost Benefit Limited have been appointed on to a new national framework agreement to save money for the public sector.  Framework agreeement RM1037 – spend analysis and recovery services is available for use by any public sector organisation in the UK.  The four year framework has been set up by  Government Procurement Service (GPS) to support the ministerial directive to all central Government departments, that a spend audit, and recovery of any sums identified in such an audit, should be undertaken.  

Adam Jacobs, V4 Services’ Managing Director said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed on to this framework to continue our work with public sector organisations in finding and delivering savings from their third party spend.  By combining our public sector procurement expertise and experience with Meridian Cost Benefit’s services to recover overpayments made through the accounts payable process, we can offer organisations the means to deliver financial savings and the scope that they need to meet their financial targets or re-invest in critical frontline services.”  

The framework has been set up with four categories of available services: 
1. Contract compliance audit – assessment of contracting end-to-end processes and contract non-compliance and the root causes; identification of any issues and risks; opportunities for rationalisation, closure or novation to existing public frameworks; identification of savings opportunities and recommendations for improvement. 
2. Data analytics services – review of procurement, accounts payable and purchase order processes to identify areas for potential cost and process savings.
3. Data analysis services – review of accounts payable transactions and historic cost recovery audit and spend analytics including duplicate payments, overpayments, errors, overcharging by suppliers and VAT recovery.
4. Spend recovery services – recovery of identified overpayments to suppliers on behalf of the contracting organisation. 

Peter Welch, Director of Meridian Cost Benefit Limited said: In the current economic climate our service helps organisations recover innocently overpaid  amounts to suppliers. Even the best run organisations make overpayments to suppliers. Utilising this framework agreement will help government departments, NHS bodies and local authorities recover significant amounts. These typically represent between 0.05 to 0.1 per cent of annual payments to third party suppliers (expressed another way, often over 30p per invoice processed).  Identifying these errors and then recovering the money can make the difference of retaining or appointing new front line staff, and can make a substantial contribution to the costs of public services, such as leisure centres or libraries.  Decisions for senior managers are becoming harder and that’s why taking up the services through this framework makes sense for government departments and other public bodies.” 

V4 Services and Meridian Cost Benefit Limited are both SMEs and together have worked with 75 public sector organisations in the UK. 

Further information about the framework itself is available on the GPS website
download News release
Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex
19 Apr 2013

V4 Services were commissioned by North Down Borough Council to look at the options for the future management of the new Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex - Northern Ireland's first 50 metre competition pool.

Following a full assessment of the management and delivery options available, it was identified that the potential operating costs were such that the risks of not generating high levels of usage and income were too great to place on a modest sized council.

After some informal market sounding and financial modelling, conducted by the V4 Services Leisure and Culture Team, the council decided to transfer the management of the new centre, together with other North Down leisure services, to an experienced leisure operator.

The process took approximately 15 months and culminated in Serco Leisure being appointed as the council's prerred partner in September 2012, starting the provision of interim services three months later in readiness for the new Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex opening in Spring 2013.

David Warden, Director of Leisure and Community Services at North Down Borough Council said: "Bangor Aurora opened for business on 23 March 2013, just at the start of the schools’ Easter holidays. In the first two weeks we received approximately 70,000 visitors. Almost 2,500 fitness memberships and 1,200 swim lesson courses were achieved by the time of opening, which is an excellent performance by any standards.”

Read full case study
Pile of contracts
28 Mar 2013

Public health teams transfer from NHS Trusts to councils on 1 April, but it isn’t just people that will be moving across. A diverse array of supply agreements move too, including contracts for sexual health, substance abuse, healthy children and healthy lifestyles. On the first day of April, county and unitary authorities across England will be the recipients of dozens of complicated NHS contracts extending to millions of pounds of annual spend.

Andrew Heslop, V4 Services, shares words of caution with councils about to take up the reins for public health.
download Read full article
Commercial training image
25 Mar 2013

A course designed to give public sector managers the skills to operate in business kicks off today with 15 service managers at Buckinghamshire County Council about to embark on the first of six modules. 

Designed in conjunction with the council, the course will take participants through the essentials of setting up a trading company within a public sector environment.   

Tim Frondigoun, V4 Services’ Director of Service Transformation said: “There’s been  tremendous growth in interest in providing public services in an alternative way over the past two years including the establishment of mutual and trading companies.  This course will ensure that participants understand the journey they need to take to sell their services to other public sector organisations.

“We’re pleased to have worked in partnership with managers at Buckinghamshire County Council who are taking a proactive approach to the opportunities now faced.” 

The courses are being led by facilitators who have themselves worked both within the public and private sector and understand the specific needs of both and the foundations for strong commercial relationships. 

Download a copy of the brochure for further information.
Working together
19 Mar 2013

Future public sector leaders from over 50 organisations explored the challenges and opportunities to innovate together during a time when public services are under immense financial pressure. 

The Cross Public Sector Professional Development Day was hosted by Sheffield City Council and supported by the Civil Service Fast Stream, the Local Government Association, FDA Trade Union, the National Graduate Development Programme for Local Government, Managers in Partnership and V4 Services. 

Andrew Campbell Director of Strategy and Programmes at DCLG was the keynote speaker and Jenny Dibden, Deputy Director at DWP and Joint Head of the Government Social Research Profession facilitated the day. 

Over 120 delegates from the Civil Service, Local Government and the NHS graduate talent programmes took part in workshops to understand the essential components of any successful transformation programme; how to innovate to get better outcomes with reduced resources; why change is a job for all of us and how future leaders need to become accustomed to changes as business as usual.

The event was also an opportunity for students at Sheffield Hallam University to learn about public sector careers. Phil Wilson, Fast Stream Chief Assessor and Chief Psychologist, held a workshop at the University to help give students insight into the assessment process.  

Liran Maller, V4 Services’ Head of Knowledge Management said: “The typical career path and portfolio of future leaders within the public sector is changing. The shape and make-up of the public sector is changing; services typically provided by the public sector are being provided by different types of organisations from across the public, private and third sector and indeed many different combinations of these.  As a result, those responsible for leading change will also be expected to have experience and knowledge of working across the sectors. 

“We’re really pleased to be able to share our knowledge and directly invest in those charged with the responsibility of meeting community needs in the most effective and efficient way.”
Luton Borough Council, Team of the Year 2013
15 Mar 2013

V4 Services were one of the sponsors at last night’s annual ‘Luton Excellence Awards’, an initiative set up by Luton Council to recognise and celebrate great work by its employees and to help encourage the rapid changes the authority needs to go through in order to survive in a harsh economic climate.   

“For us, this is huge added value on top of V4 Services’ usual excellent service to LBC,” said Robin Porter, the council’s Director of Commercial and Transformation Services.   “These awards play a big part in the council’s transformation but without the vital contribution of sponsors such as V4 Services, they simply would not be possible.  

With the awards now in their third year, competition has been fierce, with a record number of entries and nominations – well over 300 - highlighting the very best of the authority.  

V4 Services sponsored one of the twelve nomination categories, the coveted ‘team of the year’ award.  To make the shortlist, teams had to demonstrate to the judging panel an ability to overcome difficulties and consistently deliver outstanding results.  In short, teams with a real ‘buzz’ about them.  

It was a tough call for the judges but, in the end from a highly competitive field, this year‘s ‘Team of the Year’ award went to the temporary accommodation service due to its excellent work in increasingly difficult circumstances.  

Nev Wilkinson, one of V4 Services’ Directors said: “We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with Luton Borough Council to recognise those that have responded to the needs of their customers to do things differently in what is a very challenging environment for the public sector.  Well done to all of the team for their committed to good service and innovation.”  

The temporary accommodation service is about as ‘frontline’ as it get. The economic situation has meant that unprecedented numbers of homeless households are now approaching the council for help.  Many have additional problems; many are highly vulnerable and the team often work late hours to help their clients.  Their commitment and determination also extends to some highly proactive thinking, including the council’s purchase of additional out of town flats to accommodate people in need and the refurbishment of a block of flats originally designated for demolition.   

Other commended teams included: the educational psychology service and the admissions team.
26 Feb 2013

Findings of a recent survey of councils make interesting reading given the huge financial challenges that need to be met, alongside an increase in demand for numerous council services.

download Municipal Journal article by Liran Maller
Pro5 logo
05 Feb 2013

V4 Services has been appointed on to the new Pro5 National Framework Agreement for the provision of consultancy services, which is available for use by all public sector organisations within the UK. The Framework which has been designed to meet the specific buying needs of local government will complement the ConsultancyONE Framework being managed by the Government Procurement Service.

Tim Frondigoun, V4 Services’ Director of Transformation said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed on to the new Framework which will give councils a new, fast and cost-effective way of buying in specialist help. Customers can either call off individual suppliers such as us directly or carry out a further mini-competitive tender to meet their specific requirements.”  

“Over the past four years we’ve delivered over 170 change and efficiency projects with around 40 local authorities.  The new Pro5 Consultancy Services Framework provides a value for money solution for buyers with the assurance that appointed suppliers have already gone through a stringent selection process and have the capabilities and experience to deliver.”  

V4 Services has been appointed on to the following lots:  

Lot 6    - Facilities Management
Lot 11  - Leisure, Culture and Heritage Services
Lot 16  - Social Care (Adults)
Lot 19  - Waste and recycling  

Further information about the Framework which runs for a two year period with optional two year extensions is available on www.pro5.org and a Guide for Customers will be issued shortly.
download News release
collaborative team
10 Jan 2013

Cross Public Sector Professional Development Day
 18 March 2013 10.00 – 16.30; Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield

Looking across and beyond the public sector to build personal and organisational capacity

The UK public sector is in the midst of an intense and likely prolonged period of change which will challenge some of the very founding principles upon which it was built. We are currently feeling the short-term effects of this through the current government’s programme of fiscal austerity, which has led to a range of cost pressures and confronted the sector with often increasingly difficult decisions.  This cross-sector day will help you explore the options and opportunities for partnership working and collaboration, to build capacity and increase success for your organisation and you.

For members and alumni of: Civil Service Fast Stream, National Graduate Development Programme , NHS and the Voluntary Sector To register contact: emma.bennett@fda.org.uk
download Cross Public Sector Professional Development Day