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January 2017
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Transformation and flexibility top themes for Utility Week Live

Transformation and flexibility are the two headline themes of Utility Week Live, which returns to the NEC in Birmingham on 23-24 May 2017 bigger and better than ever.

Today’s utilities need to rise to the challenges of changing models of consumption and competition, the demands of sustainability and extreme weather, and political and economic upheaval: all these require a new approach from the essential businesses delivering water, gas and electricity to UK homes and businesses. Transformation and flexibility are therefore not optional for utilities, but the key to survival and success.

Utility Week Live 2017 will bring together these businesses with their supply chains and wider stakeholders to explore the new models of thinking and operating that are demanded by this challenging environment.

With last year’s show featuring more than 100 speakers, 150 exhibitors and 3,000 delegates, the 2017 version promises to grow this still further.

The pan-utility keynote conference will feature top utility leaders debating themes including resilience and decision-making amid uncertainty (including the potential impact of Brexit), skills, sustainability and new business models. ‘Meet the regulator’ and ‘meet the buyer’ sessions will give delegates the chance to pose questions to Ofgem and Ofwat, and for utilities to engage with major energy and water users.

Meanwhile, seminar sessions will once again take place in individual theatres on the show floor dedicated to Water and Energy, and there will be a new Customer Theatre for retail and customer-focussed topics.

Essential show features include the Innovation Zone (organised in partnership with the Energy Innovation Council); the Drilling & Tapping competition, including the World Water Cup (in partnership with the Institute of Water), the Streetworks Village, the Network Zone and the Outdoor Demonstration Zone. To mark the opening of the non-household retail market for water we will also be introducing the Water Retail Pavilion (co-hosted with our sister show edie Live), where water retailers can meet the major business buyers of water.

“After the success of last year, I am extremely excited to announce that Utility Week Live 2017 has launched,” said Amanda Barnes, Chief Executive of Utility Week Live. “It is a great opportunity for the multi-billion pound UK utilities industry to gather over two lively days of networking and come face-to-face with the key decision makers across the gas, electricity and water sectors.”

The Utility Week Live exhibition, technical seminars and keynote plenary sessions are all free to attend, while a paid ticket will be required to gain access to the keynote conference and panel discussions.

WATER THEATRE SESSIONS INCLUDE: Preparing for PR19; Innovation in water; Energy efficiency opportunities; World class water; The circular economy and resource recovery; EU and environmental legislation policy update; Market opening: working with retailers; Water resources and energy from sludge; A sustainable water industry for the future – 2020 and beyond

ENERGY NETWORK THEATRE SESSIONS INCLUDE: Regulation update; The future of innovation; The storage revolution; The data driven network; The future of gas networks; The network of the future; Future heat; The connected customer and the network of the future; Innovation and cross vector thinking

CUSTOMER PROGRAMME THEATRE SESSIONS INCLUDE: Energy retail and the post CMA landscape; The connected customer; Putting customer service at the heart of water companies; Understanding the implications of next day switching; Meeting the needs of vulnerable customers; Smart metering and business transformation; Community energy; Delivering gold standard customer service

KEYNOTE THEATRE SESSIONS INCLUDE: Decision making in the face of uncertainty and turbulence; Smart utilities and their role in smart cities; Meet the Regulators – a Q&A session with Ofgem & Ofwat; Innovation: Digital utilities and the customer interface; Sustainability and climate change resilience; Meet the Buyers – a Q&A session with major energy and water users

Show features

The Innovation Zone: Organised in association with the Energy Innovation Council, this popular feature will showcase the latest game-changing innovations for the gas and electricity industries via technical pitches and live product demonstrations.

Drilling & Tapping championships including the World Water Cup: In partnership with the Institute of Water, the Drilling and Tapping competition sees teams racing against the clock to complete a simulated household connection to a water main. This year the contest incorporates the World Water Cup, with visiting teams competing from the USA and the Netherlands.

The Streetworks Village: The interactive streetworks village will involve a wide range of streetworks solutions providers demonstrating their products on a patchwork of specially-constructed streets.

Water Pavilion: Co-hosted with Utility Week Live’s sister show edie Live, the Water Pavilion will bring together water retailers and major business buyers of water.

The Network Zone: Come along for insights and networking into the wholesale energy market from Network, the dedicated title for electricity, gas and heat distribution professionals.

The Outdoor Demo Zone: Take a breath of fresh air while watching live product demonstrations outdoors from a host of Utility Week Live exhibitors.


£791 million: The expected spend by visiting companies in 2016 with exhibitors at Utility Week Live.

The show is attended by 100% of Britain’s water companies, energy companies and network operators.

Flogas Britain launches specialist rural housing development team

David Taylor & Nicola Perry - Leading the Flogas Rural Housing Development

David Taylor & Nicola Perry – Leading the Flogas Rural Housing Development

Flogas Britain, one of the UK’s leading liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) providers, has created a specialist Rural Housing Development Team, to further strengthen the support it gives to rural, off-grid housing developments.

The team’s core focus will be to help off-grid housing developments operate “as if” they were on the national mains gas network, by creating a miniature gas grid that provides an uninterrupted supply of LPG directly into individual homes, from bulk storage tanks located on site or underground.

Part of DCC Energy, the leading oil and LPG sales and distribution business in Europe, Flogas has been building rural miniature gas grids – often referred to as ‘metered estates’ –  for over 30 years, and operates hundreds of them across the UK.

The launch of the Rural Housing Development team sees Flogas expand its offering, increasing the expertise it can give to rural housing developers, architects and home owners, and recognises the rapid growth of the rural house building sector.

The team will consist of specially trained, dedicated experts who will fully manage the LPG installation process from start to finish, from the site appraisal and planning stages, through to system specification, design, installation and aftersales maintenance. Their aim will be to make it as easy as possible for developers, architects, installers and specifiers to build off-grid homes with low cost, efficient and environmentally friendly energy for heating, cooking and hot water. They will also work with existing estates to convert them from oil or solid fuel to LPG, with full project management to ensure a seamless transition.

By operating on LPG as opposed to oil or solid fuels, home owners can make huge cost savings, and reduce their carbon footprint by up to 50%, which from a developer’s perspective will make the homes easier to sell.

In addition to providing hassle-free solutions during the build phase, Flogas will also provide customer service that is second-to-none to the eventual house purchasers. LPG will be delivered via the UK’s largest LPG depot network and storage tanks will be fitted with full telemetry, ensuring supply to the homes is never interrupted. Additionally, each property will be fitted with an individual smart meter to ensure all billing is based on actual readings for that property rather than estimates, and home owners will benefit from competitive pricing, transparent billing and online account management tools.

Nicky Perry, Business Development Manager at Flogas, said: “We’ve been working with rural housing developers for more than 30 years, so we’re delighted to be creating this specialist team to further strengthen the support we can give them.

“We pride ourselves on being experts in energy, and with a wealth of LPG experience, the new team will be able to provide even more tailored solutions to help house builders in rural areas reap the rewards of a more secure, efficient and economical fuel supply.

“Our aim is to make life as easy as possible for both the developers and subsequent home owners. We’ll deal with everything, so developers can focus on building the properties, and home owners will feel like they are on the national grid, enjoying cheaper and greener energy than they would with solid fuel or oil

She concluded: “As space in urban areas becomes progressively limited, we’re seeing more and more homes being built in rural areas, away from the national gas grid. There is therefore a bigger demand for rural heating solutions than ever before; and with home owners looking to keep costs and emissions as low as possible, metered estates are becoming increasingly popular. Our new Flogas team is looking forward to being at the heart of it.”.

Developers interested in finding out more can visit: or call 0800 313 4720

Autumn Statement: Phillip Hammond says social care is a problem for the next parliament. But the crisis is now.

Matthew Wort

Matthew Wort

Following Philip Hammond’s first (and last) Autumn Statement yesterday, Matthew Wort, Health and Social Care expert and Partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP commented:

“Philip Hammond says social care is a problem for the next parliament, but the crisis is now.

What do you value more, your wi-fi or your relatives and friends who need care and support? This is the question posed to the general public today as Philip Hammond refused to acknowledge social care in his Autumn Statement. While the Government seemed happy to invest in virtual connectivity, dropping business rates for super fast broadband, the sector that relies on personal connection has been ignored.

The Chancellor declared that social care is a “problem for the next parliament” and he couldn’t be more wrong. It is a crisis now, and it is a crisis that needs answers now. Directors of Adult Social Services accept that 1.6 billion was needed to maintain care at current levels, so given that social care providers now also need to find funding for a 30 pence rise in the National Living Wage services look set to only go one way.

By putting its head in the sand, the government sends a worrying signal to the health and social care industry and a confirmation that the government is no longer focused on improving an industry that is relied upon by at least 2 million of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Sadly, this is no surprise, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to mention social care in her 7,000 word Conference speech last month. Not only are the Conservative Party not dealing with the social care time bomb, they’re not even interested.

The sector needs to come together with one voice ahead of the next budget and we all need to make clear what we value more our elderly relatives, those people living with physical or learning disabilities or a faster internet connection?”

Autumn Statement: London Councils comments on lack of adult social care announcement

Following the Autumn Statement, Councillor Ray Puddifoot MBE, London Councils’ executive member for adult social care, said:

“The Autumn Statement did not acknowledge the pressures facing adult social care services up and down the country. In London alone the cumulative funding shortfall for adult social care will be at least £800 million by the end of this Parliament.

“Failing to address growing demand for and additional financial burdens on adult social care services will place further strain on the NHS, weaken the care market and deprive vulnerable people of essential care, resulting in poorer general health and services that are not fit for purpose.

“There is still time for government to act by supporting London’s case for devolution of powers and responsibilities linked to the capital’s health and care system. This will make it possible for London to transform services through quicker and deeper integration of health and care services, which is critical to the long term improvement of health of Londoners and sustainability of services.”

Heading North – Mobilizing the Digital Market Makers of the future

#TechNorth. #digitalnorth. #northernpowerhouse.

The resurgence last month in twitter activity (3805720 views, 1007 contributors, 1480+ tweets) for these handles alone in the last week) around the North’s technology sector is symptom of the region’s growing digital status. A recent Tech Nation Report 2016 stated that digital workers in Leeds earn more than anyone else in the North, closely followed by Manchester, Newcastle & Durham, Liverpool, Sheffield and Rotherham. The digital sector is now estimated to be worth a whopping £1.7billion to the region with which has seen unprecedented growth levels of up to 10x between 2012 and 2015 some cases of non-digital/tech related jobs;

Leeds                            29%

Newcastle & Durham      27%

Sunderland                    26%

Edinburgh                      26%

Southampton                 25%

Change is afoot

Whilst London and the M4 corridor STILL attract both highest paid and largest % of tech jobs anywhere in the UK, a regional change is afoot and how to best harness this digital shift is a topic that’s trending up and down the country.

The NorthernPowerHouse’s own report recommended the need to “Establish digital immersion events” – Public Service teams should consider organizing events with nearby tech communities in order to share procurement knowledge and better understand local needs and strengths”

Collective Commercial Clout

With a view to fomenting the collective commercial clout of local tech communities, regional public service delivery teams, local and global digital industrials as well representatives from government Jisc Communications are bringing to Sheffield Town Hall their first Digital Enterprise 2020 conference, on the 30th and 31st of January 2017.

More than a tech meet up and a long way from the faceless multi tech vendor marketplaces of a regular IT gatherings, Enterprise 2020 will drive relevant business discussions rather than sponsor plenaries on products. Jisc Communications is seeking to bring together at Enterprise 2020 a core group of people serving the Public Sector in the North of England to drive discussions around the “what ifs” and the “if onlys” of a Digital economy.

Digitzed Citizen Centric Support

If you are tasked with delivering digitized citizen centric support that meet the Digital and Cloud First Agendas then Enterprise 2020 asks you to register to share, understand and discuss with peers how you can work with both Global and Local technology businesses and SME’s to create the digital services and solutions needed for today’s citizens.

The day will include digital perspectives from:

Industry Thought Leaders

Sporting luminaries

Business Innovators

Digital Market Makers Meet

Enterprise 2020 is about bringing together – the digital market makers of the North – to discuss the technology of today, tomorrow and more importantly to understand where to innovate and meet the unique requirements of the public sector. We’ll discuss recommendations from the NorthernPowerHouse:

  • Making the North a testbed for experimental tech
  • Creating a ‘Procurement Powerhouse’
  • Pooling the resources of university outreach teams

Register for free at – shape the Public Sector digital debate in Sheffield

Jisc Commercial supports opportunities for digital communities across the country to execute against the Powerhouse recommendations. The group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Jisc and seeks to bring the benefits of Janet (a universally recognized super network formally the preserve of universities and research organizations) to entities organizations within government. The shared digital platform they promote is the ALTERNATIVE NETWORK powers a market place of Government approved suppliers on the many Crown Commercial Services frameworks.

For more information on the event visit:

HERE Reality Lens –3D capture and collection which enables real Enterprise Solutions

If you are involved in managing and maintaining a city’s assets and infrastructure, GIS and engineering projects, join this webinar to learn how the new Reality Lens tool-suite can help visualise, map and measure your infrastructure direct from your desktop, delivering real cost savings and productivity benefits.

When: Tuesday 4th October 2016……2pm-3pm BST (one hour)

The webinar includes an introduction by Andrew Coote – Director WhereConsulting, which will focus on GeoSpatial solutions in Urban Planning.


HERE has been capturing highly accurate geospatial data for more than 30 years and leads the way in the deployment of next generation reality capture to provide lidar-enabled 3D map imagery. Capturing over 700 thousand new points per second, this high-precision geospatial and 3D point cloud data is now available for managing Enterprise applications through HERE’s new product called Reality Lens.

Reality Lens is a unique and scalable tool for infrastructure asset management, GIS and engineering projects that enable you to access complete urban environments. In the webinar we will describe how the map and measure features allow you to locate and gauge your assets with centimetre precision or visualise future constructions.



Webinar highlights:

    • An introduction by Andrew Coote – a respected industry leader in the application of geospatial solutions within local Government and urban planning.
    • A detailed look at how HERE has used its leadership in 3D imagery and reality capture to create Reality Lens and how it can make a key contribution to city infrastructure planning and management.
    • An interactive demonstration of the Reality Lens tool using live London data

Who is the webinar aimed at?

People involved in the provision of UK public service or transport infrastructure, utilities, and construction or urban mobility projects – we will demonstrate how Reality Lens can deliver productivity benefits and real cost savings by reducing transportation or data collection costs.

Register now by clicking the box below:

For more details on HERE reality Lens go to:

EEM Supply Chain Showcase 2016

Exhibition from 2014-2105

Exhibition from 2014-2105

The EEM Supply Chain Showcase takes place in Nottingahm on 29 & 30 September 2016.

EEM Ltd is free to join, not for profit organisation supporting 63 public sector organisations in finding best value products & services through collaborative procurement. EEM secure contracts with 100’s of suppliers and manufacturers, covering all aspects of repairs, maintenance and construction on behalf of our 63 members which results in best value rates and efficiency savings.

EEM Ltd procures all Contracts and Frameworks through the EU creating a compliant and efficient service for the Public Sector reducing both internal and external costs through being a free service.

As a not-for-profit organisation, EEM donates any operating surplus back to the members for the member to use for community projects.

In September 2016 EEM shall be distributing £144,000 in Community Donations, examples of the amounts to be given are: Nottingham £44,213.34, Chesterfield £10,660.67, Mansfield £6,053.93 and Derby 10,794.76.

EEM Supply Chain Showcase 29 & 30 September 2016

WhatA 2-day exhibition style and networking event with up to 73 exhibitors supporting the Public Sector (Repairs, Refurbishment and New-build).

Exhibitors: Manufacturers, suppliers and contractors relating to construction and maintenance of social housing and other public sector property.

Invited: All UK public sector organisations, including Housing Providers, Authorities, Universities, Hospitals and the Blue Light Services.

Why: To meet with manufacturers, distributors and contractors who have been procured through an open EU process and to identify efficiency savings through aggregation and volume procurement at no direct cost to the Public Sector.

Where: Trent Vineyard Conference Centre, Nottingham, NG7 2PX

The 2-day event is split into the following themes:

Day 1: Thursday 29th September 2016: 10.00am – 3.00pm Planned and responsive repairs and maintenance.

Day 2: Friday 30th September 2016: 10.00am – 3.00pm New Build Development and associated services.

Day 1 – Repairs & Maintenance.

Tickets: Free to all Public Sector bodies and Housing Providers. Free entry, Free Coffee and Free Lunch.

For more information and to register please visit:

New sentencing guidelines mean there’s nowhere to hide on health and safety compliance

Gary Plant, MD, Altius

By Gary Plant, Managing Director of supplier assessment and compliance specialist Altius

With stiffer sentencing guidelines for health and safety, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences now in force for England and Wales, public sector organisations should tighten up health and safety compliance.

While organisations may have robust procedures internally, what about health and safety processes of those delivering your outsourced services. It’s necessary to ensure compliance across your entire supply chain.

New sentencing guidelines, which came into force on 1 February 2016, aim to create a consistent, fair and proportionate approach to sentencing organisations or individuals convicted of corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food safety and hygiene offences.

Hitherto, guidance for the courts in dealing with less serious health and safety and food safety offences has been lacking. The comprehensive new guidelines cover the most commonly sentenced health and safety offences and food safety offences in England and Wales.

According to the Sentencing Council, this could cover: “a building firm that causes the death of an employee by not providing the proper equipment for working at height, a restaurant that causes an outbreak of e. coli poisoning through unsafe food preparation, a manufacturer that causes injury to a new worker by not providing training for operating machinery or a gas fitter whose sub-standard work leads to the risk of an explosion in someone’s home.”

Altius Exigo software screen shot

Altius Exigo software screen shot

Large organisations (taking into account turnover or other measures of financial health) committing serious offences could feel the full force of the changes in higher penalties. The Sentencing Council has stated that some offenders will be subject to higher penalties, particularly large organisations responsible for more serious offences. But it says that fines will be “fair and proportionate to the seriousness of the offence and the means of offenders.” As such, the guidelines set out sentencing ranges that reflect the varied levels of risk of harm that can result from such offences.

The guidelines provide a starting point and a range of possible fines dependent on the seriousness of the offence and how culpable the offender is judged to be. This could range from minor failings in procedures to deliberately dangerous acts. For serious health and safety breaches, individual company directors could face prison sentences and heavy fines.

The new guidelines mean there is nowhere to hide when it comes to facing up to health and safety breaches and even if procedures and policies are robust in your own organisation, you could face exposure from suppliers. It is critical for organisations to scrutinise their health and safety policies, training  and compliance, and ensure that risk is assessed across the entire supply chain and standards are applied and continuously monitored.

It’s more crucial than ever before that organisations have robust compliance procedures. This might mean swapping archaic spreadsheet-based compliance systems for more agile compliance software systems that provide total supply chain visibility and a complete health and safety compliance audit trail that is easily accessible and retrievable should a company end up defending itself.

Altius’ managed compliance services and software solutions help public sector organisations to manage compliance across their entire supply chain.

Request a free demo of Altius’ Exigo compliance software system that makes health and safety management easy

Further information

10 signs that it’s time for a supplier health check

Gary Plant, Managing Director - Altius Vendor Assessment

Gary Plant_Managing Director – Altius Vendor Assessment

By Gary Plant, Managing Director of supplier assessment and compliance specialist Altius

External suppliers can help public sector organisations reduce cost, boost efficiency and improve quality. But the flip side is that they can also bring liability in the guise of delays, problems, waste, extra cost and adverse PR.

Here’s 10 possible warning signs that you might need to run a supplier health check.

  1. You don’t have perfect 20:20 vision of your suppliers, contractors and service providers.

Supply chain blind spots are a common symptom of sickly supply chains. Ask yourself: Do you have full visibility of your suppliers and contractors? Are you able to plot trends and spot weaknesses by mapping the full historical data? Do you have sub-contractors in your sights?

  1. You have data overload.

Have the simple spreadsheets you set up years ago grown enormous and complex? Do these spreadsheets align with your other back office systems? Can you use the information collaboratively. How easy is it to  turn the information into useful management reports and instantly retrieve requested data? If you are relying on manual processes to manage a large supply chain, chances are that you will be drowning in data.

  1. You’re taking no chances and audit everyone.

There’s no doubt that seeing something with your own eyes gives you an extra degree of confidence, but it’s expensive and often ineffective. The frequently audited supplier can becoming proficient at passing audits. Audits can be a very powerful tool if used sparingly and positively, but when overdone they become a drain on both supplier and client.

  1. Your cyber defence and data protection strategy is still on the to-do list.

One of the newest threats to your supply chain is going to get bigger and more sinister in years to come. Failing to ensure that your suppliers are cyber-compliant and data protection measures are in order can leave your business open to catastrophic breaches of data and large associated fines. Make sure a comprehensive cyber defence and data protection strategy is in place and regularly update to combat the latest threats.

  1. You don’t have clear accountability lines for assuring subcontractors.

A common concern among managers is that while they’ve got good assurance that their suppliers and contractors are in good shape, their visibility of the next tier down of the supply chain is poor.  The natural tendency is to want to gain assurance of that tier and beyond too. These conscientious managers  often start the process of getting to  know who the sub-suppliers are and start checking them, but the process is long and complex so it isn’t always completed.  Sometimes they will insist sub-suppliers are chosen from an approved list.  But when things go wrong, the first tier supply will rightly point out that you, the client, said that the sub-supplier was OK.  With the best intentions, you’ve taken away their responsibility and accountability to manage their suppliers.

  1. Your insurance bill is eyewatering.

Rising insurance premiums may be a signal that there’s risk lurking among your outsourced services and your insurer doesn’t believe you have things under full control. By demonstrating that you have a grip on supplier compliance, you should see premiums fall.

  1. Team members are tightly stretched

Have you got too many people bogged down in non-value added, reactive activities? Are you under-using their skills to manage a clunky supplier compliance process? Wouldn’t it be better to utilise their talents for value added activities, such as developing supply contracts, rather than supervising and ‘policing’ them.

  1. You worry about legal action.

If things go wrong with outsourced contracts, how easy would it be to defend your actions? Have you got a full audit trail of all the up to the minute evidence available to instantly view and download anytime and anywhere?

  1. You’re asking too much from supplier assessment.

Is your supplier assessment tailored precisely to the risk each supplier represents and proportional and reasonable?  Are your suppliers asked to jump though unnecessary hoops and assessed on criteria that have no relevance to the work they will undertake for you?  Do you stress your contractors out  each and every year, rather than keeping a continuous dialogue going and updating their evidence, as required?

  1. There’s a ‘dark’ side to your compliance process.

Does your assessment system simply measure compliance and financial solvency once a year – leaving you in the ‘dark’ about the other 364 days and crossing your fingers that you’ve got things covered for the entire 12 months. What happens when there’s new legislation or business requirements? In these instances, do you have to wait until the assessment anniversary to bring compliance up to date?

Altius has launched an online supply chain health check tool that will demonstrate how much  visibility and control you have and identify possible areas of risk.  Supply chain managers submitting answers to the quick online questionnaire receive a customised report highlighting strengths and weaknesses in their supplier relationships and suggested actions for improvement.

Complete the supply chain health check at:

Police and health services working to help people with mental health needs

Support Worker Nicholas Blunt, PC Michael Clarke, Specialist Mental Health Practitioner Louise Shaw

Support Worker Nicholas Blunt, PC Michael Clarke, Specialist Mental Health Practitioner Louise Shaw

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and local health services are working in partnership to help people with mental health needs who frequently come into contact with the police.

A 12 month pilot will see mental health professionals from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust based at the Rochdale Police Station. They will work alongside a dedicated police co-ordinator to help identify and engage with people with mental health needs who routinely come into contact with the police services. Once identified, the Mental Health Practitioner will assess if the vulnerable individual requires further support from either mental health, social care or other support services.

Louise Shaw, Specialist Mental Health Practitioner at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said “This is a new and exciting opportunity to build upon the relationship between local mental health and police services.

“It is evidence of the commitment from the local NHS and the police in providing a strong and successful partnership with the common aim of improving the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable within our community.

“We are confident that this will not only bring about positive changes to the lives of people in need, but it will also reduce the demand on the police, health and social care and other support services in our local area.”

Chief Superintendent Chris Sykes said: “Our foremost objective with this pilot is to provide the most effective care and support to those with mental health issues, as soon we are aware of their needs. Having mental health professionals on hand will speed up this process and in turn benefit those most in need.”

Clinical Lead for the Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Anirban Roy has been instrumental in shaping the pilot, he said; “The team from Rochdale are already working with a number of people who have frequent contact with the police, and with the support of other health professionals are identifying problem cases before they can escalate, helping to reduce the demand placed on a number of front line emergency services. We are confident that the pilot will not only improve the health and wellbeing of these individuals, it will be positive for the community as a whole.”

Joining Louise Shaw on the pilot project will be Mental Health Support Worker Nicholas Blunt, with support from police co-ordinator PC Michael Clarke.

Dulux Trade Owner, AkzoNobel Helps HACT Launch Social Value & Procurement Toolkit

Andy Brewin, Social Housing and Social Value Business Manager, AkzoNobel

Andy Brewin, Social Housing and Social Value Business Manager, AkzoNobel

Dulux Trade brand owner, AkzoNobel was named as a key contributor to the development of a new toolkit at its launch last week – Social Value and Procurement: A toolkit for housing providers and contractors – that defines and measures social value through the life cycle of the procurement process.

The toolkit developed by HACT with the support of solicitors, Trowers & Hamlins LLP and procurement specialists, echelon Consultancy Ltd alongside contractors and Housing Associations, enables Housing Providers to quantify and measure social value generated through the supply chain. The HACT social value methodology, Wellbeing Valuation , provides a consistent mechanism to enable contractors and manufacturers to identify and respond to the needs of registered providers.

AkzoNobel was the only manufacturer on the HACT-led working group that designed the toolkit, demonstrating the company’s commitment to helping Housing Providers and contractors define and deliver social value within procured contracts.  The toolkit will enable companies bidding for contracts in the housing sector, including Dulux Trade Contract Partners, to clarify precisely how they will drive social value through delivery of the contract.

Andy Brewin, Social Housing and Social Value Business Manager, AkzoNobel, one of the speakers at the launch, spoke of his optimism that the new HACT toolkit will help the supply chain to achieve ambitious targets linked to social value measures. He also told the audience of professionals from the Housing Provider, Authority and developer community including Northern Housing Consortium, Wandle and Wates that the toolkit will help to positively impact the lives of people living and working within the social housing sector. Reiterating the responsibility of companies throughout the supply chain to drive forward and improve social value ratings, Andy Brewin used AkzoNobel as an example of a manufacturer that not only uses its paints to demonstrate social value but that is committed to driving up and improving training prospects and skills-based learning for housing sector beneficiaries.

Andy Brewin, AkzoNobel said: “We are delighted to have been invited to work with HACT and the other partners on the development of the toolkit. It was important to us as a company to contribute to its development from the point of view of a manufacturer as the whole supply chain has to be considered if attempting to seamlessly deliver social value through the procurement process.”

“Our participation has allowed us to evaluate our own social value to the housing sector. Our social value will be measured through our future product or service developments, through our brands such as Dulux Trade, our new training facility, the Dulux Academy for professional decorators, trainees and apprentices and through the scheme we run for our Contract Partners.  Our participation on the working group has reinforced that manufacturers, contractors, Housing Providers and Authorities need to be aligned so that they can recognise and meet the needs of the people that they serve.”

For further information about the toolkit, please visit or

Frameworks: a victim of their own success?

Mark Hall

Mark Hall

By Mark Hall, public sector director at Redcentric; and Peter Nailer, senior bid manager at Redcentric

From vehicle hire to laundry services to enterprise technology – there are now countless purchasing frameworks for almost anything the public sector needs to buy. Take the Digital Marketplace, specifically covering technology. The several frameworks within it, such as G-Cloud, comprise numerous different lots with each of these offering a variety of technology choices. Add to this all of the other buying organisations and their frameworks and quickly the options for the public sector buyer become complex and downright confusing! As an IT services provider included on frameworks such as G-Cloud 7 and the NOECPC Hosting framework, at Redcentric we have had a front row view of how frameworks have evolved. Originally established to help simplify purchasing (particularly for smaller public sector buyers with limited buying power) and bring cohesion to public sector procurement, there have been many success stories. However, as the number of frameworks grows by the day, are frameworks still doing the job they set out to?

Considering that sales over G-Cloud recently hit £1 billion, it is clear to see that this framework has achieved its goal. With some 1,900 approved suppliers in place it has created a highly competitive marketplace centred on the government’s ground breaking ‘Cloud First’ strategy for both SMEs and large IT suppliers.

The conditions set by G-Cloud encourage fairness by ensuring a level of transparency. For example, suppliers have to publicly display pricing on the framework to give each other an accurate view of what they are charging, allowing competitors to set their rates accordingly. Also thanks to G-Cloud contracts not exceeding two years, buyers aren’t stuck with suppliers for an excessive length of time, and can rethink their options as they themselves evolve.

But the benefits and adoption of G-Cloud do not resonate across many other frameworks. Some place a cap on the number of suppliers able to win a place on the framework effectively creating monopolies dominated by big players who have the resources to apply. These caps fail to properly harness competitiveness amongst suppliers and do little to encourage them to innovate. Some framework contracts are set for as much as four years, tying organisations into long relationships that may go beyond their requirements.

The increase in volume of frameworks is also a problem. This rise is partly due to fact that any organisation operating in the public or not-for-profit sector has the authority to establish a framework and encourage other organisations to use it – provided they comply with EU law. Everything from schools and colleges to district councils and charities have done so, drawn to the commercial gains and incentives. For every sale made over a framework the founder receives a commission of between 1 and 5%.

Frameworks, a victim of their own success

Frameworks: a victim of their own success

So let’s consider, does the current framework landscape meet its goal: to make public sector buying easier and more cohesive? The answer is complex- in some cases, like G-Cloud, the answer is yes, in many cases the answer is no.

Speaking from a supplier perspective, the sheer volume of frameworks that exist, even just in relation to IT, create pressure to apply for a place on them all in order to avoid missing out on potential business. This can be a full time job, with smaller suppliers who lack resources pushed out. Once again this means that larger suppliers are likely to realise greater opportunities, reducing the ability of frameworks to deliver a level playing field. But more worryingly is the impact on innovation. As the choice of suppliers diminishes so too does the choice of innovative and cutting-edge solutions from start-ups that lack experience and funds to gain a place on the framework.

As technology frameworks have increased in public sector procurement, the IT community has responded with a rise in the level of subcontracting used to deliver the work required against them. However, this goes against the transparency that frameworks are meant to provide. Naturally for simplicity sake, IT managers tend to prefer a single supplier to meet all of the organisation’s needs, meaning that many IT suppliers have to outsource to deliver the full service. But this too favours the big suppliers, as they can afford to win a place on the framework, but then subcontract most of the work to smaller companies who can only be on a framework via their contractee. Larger suppliers retain a cut of the profit generated from the sale, passing small margins on to contractors who deliver much of the work.

Public sector buyers are already faced with complexities when using frameworks to procure resources. While the frameworks aim to support buyers by undertaking compliance checks of suppliers, there can still be a burden on the buyer as regulations change or are updated. Take the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, which is available in a 127 page document at While it’s down to suppliers to review and ensure they’re compliant, it’s often a non-procurement professional, such as an IT manager, who is the one making a technology purchasing decision with limited knowledge, understanding or time to review regulations.

So how can the situation be improved? Firstly a holistic review of all frameworks in operation across the public sector would help to show where effort is being duplicated and if there is an opportunity to pool the buying power of multiple framework operators and buying organisations. Frameworks need to start properly delivering on the goal of bringing the buying power of many public sector organisations together, to forge better deals and consistency, rather than just flooding the market with different options. There should be more regulation of framework provision, rather than an open book, ‘the more the merrier’, approach.

The popularity of a framework approach has certainly taken off, but in recent years we’ve seen the market grow in complexity rather than simplify purchasing. With large companies still dominating an increasing number of frameworks, and many lacking transparency with regards to sub-contracting, it’s possible the market may well end up counter-productive. Clearly this is where the success of G-Cloud should be heralded as a way forward for other service areas and lead others by example.

While the copious amount of frameworks may baffle public sector buyers, service providers can step in to help reduce the confusion. Redcentric offers a free consultation service in line with the ‘Cloud First’ goal. Our service establishes how Cloud and hybrid options can help specific public sector organisations achieve their objectives, and determines what digital services they will benefit from. The benefit of Cloud, including flexibility and remote working, are too plentiful not to adopt. And a successful implementation starts with a consultation to see how it can best suit the individual organisation.

To discover how Redcentric keeps it simple – providing efficient, secure and flexible Cloud solutions for the UK public sector contact us on:

Call: 0808 164 3515



Oldham Council welcome Transport for Greater Manchester green bus proposal

Oldham Council welcome Transport for Greater Manchester proposal to switch to new battery powered buses in the future.

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed the announcement earlier this week that officials from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have met with the Volvo Bus Corporation to discuss proposals to replace the current bus fleet with a new electric fleet run on rechargeable batteries.

Councillor Sykes represents Oldham Council on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee (TfGMC). On hearing the news he said:

“I am pleased that Volvo have indicated that they would like to start a trial of up of thirty new battery-powered buses in Manchester city centre in 2017, and that they would also like to back this with an investment in charging points. I look forward to the day when these buses run in Oldham and they will help make a contribution to tackling the air quality issues we have.”

“The Liberal Democrats firmly believe that making our public transport system greener must be seen as a priority,” added Councillor Sykes. “We need to move away from fuel-guzzling, carbon-emitting vehicles to clean, quiet electric vehicles. We have already made progress with hybrid vehicles but this represents the next step. I look forward to the day when passengers can ride on any bus knowing that they have made a green choice for their journey.”


Legalex 2LEGALEX, 11-12 May 2016, ExCel London – stand L554

PHS Data Solutions, a division of the PHS Group, will be promoting at Legalex, their latest document protection and digitalisation schemes to help legal practices combat data security threats.

As data protection laws demand more proactivity from company executives, business information security defences must be strong to protect practices and to avoid serious data breaches and the associated stiff penalties.

PHS Data Solutions is a leading player in the scanning, storage and shredding industry for a variety of sectors including Government and legal organisations. It offers outstanding services to support Law firms who need to bring their business practice into the digital age.

Courtrooms across the UK are being catapulted into the digital age by the Ministry of Justice’s digitalisation programme which aims to make obsolete the 160 million sheets of paper generated by the courts each year. Legal firms will need to make sure they are up to speed with the digital super highway and its requirements for compliance if they are to remain at the forefront of their industry.

Scanning and data capture solutions and services, such as those offered by PHS Data Solutions, enable organisations to capture, process, manage, retrieve and share business-critical documents, archives and information digitally across and between organisations. Information flow and security is improved resulting in businesses needing much less space for the storage of documents and allowing them to rest assured that they have a robust system in place to minimise data breaches.

The legal sector has obligations to keep paper records which may create large quantities of paperwork needing management and storage. PHS Data Solutions offers a secure off-site document management facility that can also provide a scanning service to avoid transportation costs and any potential for loss in transit of important information.

Nowadays many businesses are required to keep confidential client information, as well as employee or company data, for a minimum amount of time. This could include: employee agreements, business loan documentation, litigation records and many sensitive documents which require careful management. It is important not to just be compliant but to carefully dispose of documents you may no longer need. The risks of keeping old documents containing sensitive data can be high, possible resulting in identity theft, fraud and potential financial loss or reputational damage.

At Legalex PHS Data Solutions will demonstrate how to create a sole chain of custody for the most sensitive of data which ensures a minimum of risk of being breached. The company is renowned for providing tailored and unique document digitisation services and solutions to meet each client’s individual requirements. It numbers amongst its clients Ward Hadaway (one of the UK’s Top 100 law firms).

The company’s UK team will be on hand at the exhibition to answer any questions which Law firms may have on how to spring clean their document scanning, storage and destruction processes. PHS Data Solutions Managing Director, Anthony Pearlgood, said: “We are delighted to make our debut at Legalex and to be able to showcase our document protection schemes. We really can help businesses stay secure and provide them with business continuity following any scenario.”

Legalex must be a priority if your legal practice needs to know how to address the demands of business digitisation and the safe-keeping or destruction of sensitive data. Be sure to visit PHS Data Solutions on stand L554 and find out more about what one of the UK’s leading document capture and conversion specialists can do to help deliver a complete workflow solution for your business.

If you can’t make the show but would like more information then contact Ruth Williams, Head of Marketing on 029 20809111 or email or