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May 2017
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Leading procurement advisers outline how changes to off-payroll taxes could give the public sector an opportunity to deliver better procurement practices all around

MD of Bloom, (Formerly Nepro Ltd) Rob Levene

MD of Bloom, (Formerly Nepro Ltd) Rob Levene

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

There has been much debate about the serious impact changes to off-payroll tax rules (IR35) will have on the public sector and contractors alike. The MD of Bloom, (Formerly Nepro Ltd) Rob Levene, argues that the changes present the public sector with a real opportunity to procure ‘outcomes’ and not ‘hours’, mitigating some of the risk and delivering better procurement practices all around.

Rob Levene told GPSJ: “The new rule will impact 20,000 contractors working for the public sector. Our clients are telling us that the changes to off-payroll tax rules are causing serious concerns. Without action on the way that interim staff are engaged, public sector buyers are likely to face consequences from the HMRC and to suffer immediate price hikes and reduced choice and access to skilled contractors.”

These fears are far from unfounded. A poll by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) which appeared in Contractor UK last year highlighted that the public sector may face a talent drain. The poll showed:

  • 54% of PSCs intending to exit the public sector if the ‘paying agent’ is granted responsibility for IR35
  • 31% say they will leave behind working for taxpayer-funded bodies regardless of whether they would be required to pay the same tax and NI as employees
  • 23% say they will no longer do government work if they have to pay tax like an employee.

“As a business focussed on delivering outcomes for our clients, we believe these changes present public sector buyers with an opportunity to re-evaluate how they procure contractors,” Rob continued. “Best outcomes are achieved when a consultant is engaged to deliver pre-defined outputs, on a fixed fee and timescale basis. So acting on this change could be a blessing that makes organisations think differently about how they engage contractors.

We’ve seen unprecedented demand from clients looking for a solution to the impending tax rule changes. As we’ve explained that it’s not just a solution to the IR35 problem, but also an opportunity to review how contingent labour is used and consider if best value is being achieved. An ever-increasing number of contracting authorities are signing up to our solution.”

4 steps to mitigating the risk of off-payroll tax rule changes

The IR35 solution from Bloom can be broken down into 4 steps:

  • Data Gathering – the client identifies which contractors may be in scope of IR35
  • Diagnostic – using various methods to investigate whether the contractor is inside scope of IR35 or could be outside if procured via a Statement of Work. This means that:
    • Instead of focussing on hiring an ‘interim’ covering a 9-5 schedule, 5 days a week, buyers need to hire a contractor focussed on delivering the project outcomes
    • Contractors eligible to be procured in this way are identified, helping mitigate some of the risk that is being placed on the public sector.
    • If some contracts are clearly identified as being inside the scope of IR35, the client is immediately alerted and can ensure appropriate tax and NI is deducted
  • Supplier Engagement – Bloom works with suppliers in close partnership to make sure that they are comfortable with transferring their contracts to statements of work, and through the process of registration
  • Requirement Transfer – Milestone-based and outcome-focused Statements of Work are written, keeping those that are eligible safely and legally outside IR35

To cope with the demand, Bloom has created a dedicated team to guide clients through its diagnostic service and the recommended outputs. They have already signed up clients from across the public sector, and continue to receive new requests every day.

Rob Levene added: “The demand levels aren’t surprising when you consider that there are numerous advantages to procuring professional services through outcome-focused Statements of Work. Existing clients save up to 19% on average when measured against project budget. Our strategies of supporting SMEs, local procurement and social value help clients achieve their procurement goals. Another big benefit is the reduction in scope creep; for one client who used Bloom to fulfil 132 projects in a 12-month period, only 7 projects extended.

Contractors benefit from this new approach too. Whilst many now need to face the tax consequences of the changes, others could take this opportunity to change how they are procured by focusing on the outcomes first. By registering as a supplier with Bloom, they get access projects with over 130 public sector clients. For SMEs in particular (which make up the majority of our supply chain) this is an incredible opportunity to access public sector contracts.

Employing a consultant through Bloom means taking a different approach to employing interims and consultants. By changing the focus from delivery to outcomes, you change the relationship with the person doing the work. There’s no confusion of employment boundaries. Just a clearly defined outcome, delivered for a fixed fee, in a defined time.

And that’s the opportunity. Change to a focus on outcomes and actively manage the risk these tax changes bring. You might even see the change as a blessing one day.”

The Utility Week Live 2017 transformation leaders and technologies

For all utilities, transformation and flexibility are not optional as they face the challenges ahead: they are the key to survival.

Driving this change in culture are a number of people, whilst a number of key technologies will enable and shape the utilities’ transformation and increasing flexibility.

Utility Week Live 2017 has identified the 10 most important transformation leaders and technologies, as voted for by the industry themselves.

Key People

The ten individuals set out have embraced innovation and driving change in their respective companies, across the sector, and more widely. They are the leaders in the transformation the utilities are undergoing towards becoming more flexible, sustainable and suitable for the new world we’re all heading towards.

These people are: Basil Scarsella, chief executive, UK Power Networks; Ben Jeffs, director and chief executive, MOSL; Cathryn Ross, chief executive, Ofwat; Cheryl Latham, chief executive, Brighter World Energy; Dermot Nolan, chief executive, Ofgem; Piers Clark, founder and chairman, Isle Utilities; Elon Musk, founder and products architect, Tesla and chairman, SolarCity; John Reynolds, chief executive, Castle Water; Simon Harrison, group strategic development manager, Mott MacDonald, and chair of the energy policy panel, IET; and Tony Cocker, chief executive, Eon UK.

Over the coming months, Utility Week/WWT/WET News/Network will speak to the top ten people, speak to people in the industry about the influence and impact they have had, publish biographies detailing their careers and key decisions, or hearing from them direct with columns.

Key technologies

The ten technologies outlined opposite/below are fundamentally changing the shape and look of the utilities sector – in particular the energy side things. These include technologies and innovations that are already a key part of utilities’ daily operations, and those whose influence and impact is only going to grow in the coming years.

The top ten technologies are: cloud computing; demand response and demand side management; electric vehicles; energy storage, including battery technology; geographical information systems (GIS); the Internet of Things (IoT); machine learning; smart metering; solar; and wind.

Over the coming months, Utility Week/WWT/WET News/Network will speak to experts in the technologies, look at examples of how they have been rolled out and assess the impact they’ve had, look at the numbers behind the innovations, and getting investor views on the development of the technologies and how close they are to transforming the business as usual operation in the sector.

The Utility Week Live 2017 transformation technologies:

  • Cloud computing
    • Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet. It enables companies to use computer resources, such as data storage or an application, as a utility, rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures and servers in house. This could enable multiple devices, including tablets and mobiles, access to programmes and data remotely vie the internet.
  • Demand response/demand side management
    • Demand response and demand side management provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in the operation of the electric grid by reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives. The aim is to cut peak loads and remove the need to reinforce energy networks by better tying demand up with supply.
  • Electric vehicles
    • The last three years have seen a remarkable surge in demand for electric vehicles in the UK – new registrations of plug-in cars increased from 3,500 in 2013 to around 85,000 by January 2017. The increase in the number of EVs will potentially put additional strain on energy networks by increasing demand at peak times. However, there is also the opportunity to utilise EVs as mobile storage devices.
  • Energy storage (including batteries)
    • Energy storage (ES) technologies offer great potential for supporting renewable energy and the UK’s energy system. The offer different ways to store the energy created by variable renewable technologies at times when demand is low, but supply is high. They will then be able to provide a variety of services when needed.
    • There are a variety of energy storage solutions available and being developed, including battery technologies, pumped storage, and mechanical storage.
  • Geographical information systems (GIS)
    • A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map. This enables people to more easily see, analyse, and understand patterns and relationships. For utilities, this will enable them to assess information about the land, such as the location of factories, farms, and schools, or storm drains, roads, and electric power lines.
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
    • Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). For utilities, this could enable a variety of devices at different sites and locations to connect to one another and to communicate and take orders from staff or collectively follow programmes. This could include the safe shutdown of assets at a substation in response to a failure, and another asset responding to ensure continuity of supply. At a domestic level, this could enable smart appliance to respond to external signals to turn on or power down.
  • Machine learning
    • Machine learning is the field of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. In the last decade this has provided innovations such as self driving cars and practical speech recognition. Moving forward, this could lead to improved and automated network management.
  • Smart metering
    • On a basic level, smart meters are electronic devices that record consumption of energy and communicate that information at back to the utility for monitoring and billing. The UKs smart meter programme is due to rollout 53 million smart gas and electricity meters by 2020. The technology is also thought to be an enabler technology, allowing for things such as 24 hour switching, smart appliances within a connected home, and opening up smarter local network management solutions.
    • Solar
    • Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Within the UK, 10 per cent of its renewable power comes from solar power, or 1.5% of total UK electricity. This comes from a total of 8GW of solar PV which has been deployed so far. Solar is owned by 670,000 homeowners, and thousands of businesses, farmers, schools and community groups. Despite cuts to subsides for the technology, it is expected to continue growing as the government strives to meet its carbon targets.
  • Wind
    • The UK is one of the best locations for wind power in the world, and is considered to be the best in Europe. It contributed 11 per cent of UK electricity generation in 2015, and 17 per cent in December 2015. The deployment of wind power is set to increase, despite government opposition to new onshore developments. Offshore wind is expected to be the biggest growth area, with bigger turbines and larger windfarms being developed.

The Utility Week Live transformation leaders:

  • Basil Scarsella – chief executive, UK Power Networks
    • Scarsella has seen UKPN win the utility of the year award at the Utility Week awards twice in consecutive years (2015 and 2016). This has been achieved by improving the safety, efficiency and reliability of the DNO’s operations. Alongside this, under Scarsella’s leadership UKPN is also embracing new technologies, such as energy storage at its Leighton Buzzard site.
  • Ben Jeffs – director and chief executive, MOSL
    • Jeffs was named chief executive of MOSL in July 2015 and since then has a seen the development of the market operator from a small, starter company to the delivery body behind the opening up of the non-domestic water market. He has helped drive forward the programme which will significantly change the way the water retail market operates.
  • Cathryn Ross – chief executive, Ofwat
    • Ross has been influential in helping the regulator shift away from descriptive regulation to a more principles based approach. She returned to Ofwat in July 2013 after five years away at the Office of Rail Regulation. Since then she has guided the industry through the PR14 price review and is gearing up to take the sector through the even more revolutionary PR19. Ross also has an important role in ensuring the sector is ready for market opening in April 2017.
  • Cheryl Latham – chief executive, Brighter World Energy
    • Latham has set up the new energy supplier, Brighter World Energy, in an attempt to tackle two major problems: UK energy customers being “consistently overcharged” and people in poor nations such as Africa living without access to energy. It promises to install a solar-powered micro-grid in an African village for every 2,000 UK customers it signs up.
  • Dermot Nolan – chief executive, Ofgem
    • Nolan joined Ofgem as chief executive officer in March 2014, having previously been commissioner at the Commission for Energy Regulation in Ireland from May 2008 and its chair since May 2011. He has overseen turbulent times within the energy sector, with pressure mounting on suppliers following the Competition and markets Authority probe. Nolan will now have to ensure customers are treated fairly under the principles-based approach being adopted by the regulator. Away from retail, Nolan will also manage the transformation of the energy networks to a more flexible system, including making it easier for storage solutions to be developed.
  • Piers Clark – founder and chairman, Isle Utilities
    • Clark set up isle Utilities on the back of his experience gained working at Blackstone’s water-sector private equity fund and from four years as Thames water’s commercial director. He has also helped to establish the Technology Approval Group (TAG) in 2005. Isle Utilities is a global team of scientists, engineers, business and regulatory experts, with a “common drive to make a positive social, economical, and environmental impact through the advancement of innovative technologies and related practices”.
  • Elon Musk – founder and products architect, Tesla; and chairman, SolarCity
    • Musk is best-known for his exploits with the Tesla motor company, which is developing electric vehicles. The Model S was the most popular EV in the world last year, selling more than 50,000 units. Following on from the success in the automobile sector, Muck has driven Tesla forward with the development of the Powerwall storage system – both for domestic and commercial purposes. He has generated interest in the energy storage sector and EVs that goes far beyond the traditional reach of the sector.
  • John Reynolds – chief executive, Castle Water
    • Reynolds has driven the rapid expansion of Castle Water from a new entrant in the Scottish water retail sector, to the one of the largest companies in the UK water retail space. This has seen the company takeover the customer bases of Portsmouth Water and Thames Water.
  • Simon Harrison – group strategic development manager, Mott MacDonald; and chair of the Energy policy panel, IET
    • Harrison has a pan-infrastructure perspective including energy, transportation, water, the urban and built environment, having built his career primarily in the electricity sector. He also has an active interest in energy policy has led to him directing a number of key studies in the UK and elsewhere. Harrison also chairs the IET’s energy policy panel, and most recently the Future Power Systems Architecture Project, a collaboration for the UK government between the IET and the Energy Systems Catapult.
  • Tony Cocker – chief executive, Eon UK
    • Cocker has worked his way up through the company over a period 19 years to arrive at his current position. He spent 11 years with Eon UK before being names as chief executive in 2008. Since then, he has seen go through a split, with the newly created company Uniper taking on ill focus on the conventional energy world – consisting of upstream and midstream businesses that originally belonged to Eon.

Utility Week Live returns to the NEC in Birmingham on 23 and 24 May and will showcase the latest innovations and technical solutions for the industry.

The theme for this year’s event is transformation and flexibility, and it is the show for essential services to showcase hundreds of new products from specialist suppliers and innovators, technical presentations, pitches and live demos.

Plus, there is an extensive programme of seminars exploring the future of gas, electricity and water.

For more information, please visit:

Westminster City Council in joint venture to help public sector organisations

Simon Terry CEO at 4C Associates

Westminster City Council is partnering with International management and procurement consultancy, 4C Associates, to launch Symbiance, the first company of its kind dedicated to helping local and central Government, and public sector organisations make significant financial benefits.

Over the last three years, Westminster City Council’s procurement team has contributed year-on-year savings across the Council, of more than £120m. As a result, the council already has the lowest band D Council Tax of any local authority and is 45% lower than the inner London average. The Westminster team now wants other authorities that face the daily pressures of reduced funding, to benefit from their success.

By combining Westminster’s know-how in public sector spend with 4C Associate’s consultancy expertise in procurement and managed services, including 4C’s work within the private and public sectors, Symbiance will deliver a range of cost saving services such as: ‘Cost Reduction;’ which includes reviewing spend across the entire organisation; ‘Target Operating Model’ which assesses the efficiency of how the organisation is structured and functioning; ‘Process & Technology,’ to identify any inefficient systems and processes; and ‘Managed Services.’ The consultancy’s team of specialists will drive value by assessing cost efficiency throughout the entire organisation from the supplier contracts, to the operating model, right down to the spend item of goods and services used.

Mark Ellis, Partner at 4C Associates, said, “UK public sector services are constantly feeling the financial squeeze caused by a rise in demand for services and cuts in funding. Symbiance will help to overcome these economic challenges. 4C’s consulting capabilities, Westminster’s deep understanding of local government and both organisations’ demonstrated ability to deliver value, brings a unique combination of expertise and experience that is already proving to be of great interest to public sector organisations, from local and central Government to wider public services such as housing associations, health authorities and educational establishments.”

Simon Terry CEO at 4C Associates, told Government and Public Sector Journal: “Symbiance will help public sector organisations address their increasingly difficult challenge to improve, or at least maintain, services while they simultaneously reduce costs. Symbiance combines Westminster City Council’s outstanding ability to deliver real value in local government with 4C’s expertise in transforming private and public sector operations and in driving value through better efficiencies and lower costs. The innovation we have shown in creating Symbiance reflects the approach we have and will take in helping our stakeholders achieve their goals.

“Symbiance will work with the Chief executives, CFOs and CPO/Heads of Procurement of public sector organisation to help them deliver value. We offer consultancy services to improve performance through transforming processes, organisations, capabilities and better use of technology, we offer targeted cost reduction programmes to address budget challenges and we offer managed services to provide best-in-class capabilities for the long term.

“Symbiance will help public sector organisations deliver short term savings, sustainable long term value and transform their operations to create an internal capability.”

Anthony Oliver, Chief Procurement Officer at Westminster City Council

Anthony Oliver, Chief Procurement Officer at Westminster City Council, told GPSJ today: “Over the past three years Westminster City Council has delivered budget savings over £100m. This has been necessary to counteract the significant financial challenges of reduced funding from central government and chronic cost pressures within services. The Council has strengthened its strategic commissioning and procurement capabilities. Through our transformation Westminster has exemplified the delivery of Better for Less, driving innovation and sustainability though its procurement which it now can leverage for other public sector organisations. Symbiance brings together Westminster, the best of local government and 4C’s expertise in delivering cost reduction and organisational efficiency.”

“Westminster City Council’s Procurement Services team are looking to leverage its significant success in the Council to drive value, reduce cost and work with its customers to innovate services through its joint venture with 4C Associates, supporting other public sector organisations facing similar challenges,” he added.

Comment to GPSJ: Government Transformation Strategy

Chris Price, Director, Public Sector at Computacenter

Chris Price, Director, Public Sector at Computacenter

Following the announcement of the Government Transformation Strategy today Chris Price, Director, Public Sector at Computacenter has told GPSJ:

“We welcome The Government Transformation Strategy announced today. This is an important step towards ensuring the UK Government remains a global leader in its approach to public service transformation through harnessing best of UK tech. 

“The government has made significant strides in the adoption of digital over the last six years, and this new strategy rightly recognises the need now to focus on the wholesale end-to-end transformation. This means tackling the ‘back-end’ plumbing, and driving efficiency with an internal focus on equipping civil servants with the right workplace tools. 

“As a home grown British technology company with a global footprint, we look forward to playing a key role in delivering this transformation and in doing so contributing to the UK’s economic growth.”

Expert urges public sector bodies to act RIGHT NOW to alleviate chaos surrounding IR35 reforms

Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator

Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator

Public sector bodies may need to implement an emergency action plan to avoid losing vital skills warns Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator ahead of April’s IR35 reforms. The advice comes following HMRC’s guidance that invoices paid after 6 April 2017 for work carried out before that date will be subject to the new rules.

Any public sector body that pays its contractors one month in arrears will need to receive invoices before 6 March while those that pay their contractors on anything more than 60 day terms will need to consider settling invoices before 6 April. Any public sector body that cannot provide proof to the recruitment agency that a contractor is outside IR35 according to the new rules will result in a contractor having his or her tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) deducted at source.

Dave Chaplin commented: “The fallout of the new rules for public sector bodies is potentially disastrous. We have been warning public sector hirers about the impact of the new legislation for some time now so I would hope that they have been conducting due diligence and getting their ducks in a row to deal with the new reforms well before now.

“The reforms represent a potential car crash for all public sector bodies that hire contractors. A poll we conducted last year told us that 80% of contractors plan on abandoning the public sector rather than accept a contract inside IR35 so it is important that hirers work closely together with their contractors now to establish a contractor’s employment status or else risk losing them altogether.”

Contractor Calculator would point out that those public sector hirers which pay their contractors a month in arrears may well struggle to assess all their contractors in time with only weeks to go so has come up with an action plan for them to avoid a contractor skills brain drain:

–  place limited company contractors in a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) umbrella solution temporarily whilst assessing contractors.

–  test contractors as soon as possible – engaging a contractor via an umbrella for more than 12 weeks will mean they are eligible for certain employment rights under the Agency Workers Regulations creating additional costs.

–  Contractor Calculator’s solution  is currently available and will provide free online IR35 testing instantly. The test displays the contractor’s IR35 risk along a spectrum allowing hirers to make a fully informed decision regarding a contractor’s status and minimising any risk.

–  once each contract has been IR35 tested hirers will know which contractors have passed and who can return to trading via their limited company on the same terms as before and can negotiate an outside-IR35 contract for those who fail.

Dave Chaplin added: “The timing of these reforms is causing utter chaos and already threatening an exodus of talent. This will have a significant impact on an already stretched public sector. Government projects rely heavily on contractor expertise and the whole point of hiring contractors via personal service companies (PSCs) is the public sector wants contractors, not employees, for short-term expertise on tap. The proposed reforms are already starting to potentially cause irreconcilable damage for all involved but we are where we are, so I would advise any ill-prepared public sector body to heed our advice and carry out our action plan without delay.”

Please visit:

Local councils turn to cloud technology to more efficiently manage the booking and hosting of events

James Pegum, CEO of Priava

James Pegum, CEO of Priava

Priava, the leading cloud-based venue management software company, has announced that a growing number of local government organisations in both the UK and Australia are deploying its cloud-based venue management software to maximise event bookings, reduce costs and improve services to local residents.

Councils face unique challenges in managing hundreds of community and commercial events and bookings every month across a multitude of facilities and spaces, including recreational grounds, sports halls, stadium, swimming pools, community centres, halls and dedicated function spaces.

Priava’s cloud-based software – including event booking with an online calendar, venue and inventory management, CRM, task management, file storage, sales management, online enquiries, and catering modules – enables councils to manage bookings for multiple venues from a central application and offer online self-service bookings. UK councils that have so far adopted the software include Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, London Borough of Ealing, London Borough of Waltham Forest and London Borough of Woking.

James Pegum, CEO of Priava, commented: “At Priava we understand that no two councils or government organisations are the same. Our purpose-built software has been designed to be flexible, intuitive and easy-to-use, with the aim of streamlining booking processes in accordance with the needs and existing processes of our council and government clients. This enables users to increase efficiency, enhance services, reduce costs and maximise occupancy and income across a diverse range of venue spaces.”

Priava’s system includes an online calendar, offering the public a self-service option to check availability and make room-booking enquiries.

Support for flexible working

As it is cloud-based, nothing ever needs to be installed onsite, which means different venues, spaces and facilities of all sizes can be managed using just the one application, and flexible working staff can be easily supported. Built-in reporting enables managers to check the utilisation of resources at a glance, ensuring local residents get the best value for money.

Key benefits for councils

Some of the benefits that councils are realising from automating the booking of facilities and running of events include:

      • Reduce administration costs, streamline the enquiry process and increase customer service experience by providing a self-service enquiry system with an online calendar & enquiry form;
      • Differentiate between internal & external bookings quickly and easily by creating separate rates and financial codes specific for each venue and facility that can be exported to accounting packages;
      • Maximise revenue generated from commission payments by accurately tracking referral sales for all third-party suppliers; e.g. external caterers, event stylists, audio-visual suppliers etc.;
      • Saves time by managing repeat bookings and creating and editing re-occurring events with ease e.g. community group meetings, fitness classes, sports pitch bookings etc.;
      • Reports on usage of spaces and other intelligence e.g. top hirers, can be created quickly for senior management;
      • Eliminates the possibility of double bookings;
      • Improves venue/facilities use with access to real-time availability;
      • Reduces the burden on in-house IT department as all updates/maintenance are managed remotely by Priava and there is no need for an on-site server
      • Integrates with accounting packages, marketing systems and other software packages to ensure real-time sync of information between all existing systems and reduce errors from the duplication of data;
      • Supports flexible or remote working with secure access from any location at any time;
      • Ease of use of system reduces training for events staff;
      • Easy-to-use report designer enables administrators to create simple and effective catering booking forms and contracts etc.Key modules that form part of Priava’s software include; an easy-to-use CRM system that allows users to add & edit contact, organisation and opportunity records with ease, Events & Bookings which combines the ability to access a sophisticated venue chart together with the ability to find, add & edit event bookings, Online Calendar & Enquiries which has been developed to boost efficiency for local authorities that manage venues that need to be booked on a self-service basis such as internal meeting rooms or external facilities that are in high demand (e.g. sporting facilities, community halls etc.) Catering & Inventory allow users to attach food, beverages, resources and equipment to quotes and event bookings with advanced reporting on profits and losses as well as the ability to link to accounting packages, Advanced Permissions which enables administrators to control the information that users have access to, and Priava’s REST API which allows Priava to sync information with 3rd party systems such as accounting packages.
      • For further information
        Tel: 0845 0744 250

Top Deloitte Business Award for Me Learning

Me Learning directors celebrating their win

Me Learning directors celebrating their win

Online training expert, Me Learning, has been announced as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016. Featuring rising technology companies across the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, the figures reveal Me Learning in a credible 360th position.

Rankings for this international award are based on percentage growth over a four year period. Me Learning’s growth tripled in this period and grew at a staggering 322%, catapulting them into the top 500 for this geographically wide region.

In order to be considered for the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016 entrants must prove a base-year operating revenue of at least 50,000 Euros and current-year operating revenues of at least 800,000 Euros. Headquarters must be based in the EMEA region and should be a technology company that ‘develops or owns proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues’.

Me Learning is a specialist provider of quality e-learning solutions to both private and public organisations, specifically to the social care sector, charities, education and health. It creates, develops and sells specific online training courses that range from compliance related to tailor made learning platforms. Today, Me Learning works with 110 Local Authorities in the UK and has over 250,000 registered learners.

Nick Richards, co-Founder of Me Learning comments, “Since starting the company in 2005 we have seen steady growth as our breadth of courses develop and our customer base grows and grows. To be considered and even included in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2016 is testament to the consistently high quality of work our team produces. We were delighted to be included in 2015 but to reach 360th in such a wide global region for 2016 is fantastic news – let’s see if we can be even better placed next year!”

“Innovation is more than technological advancement; it’s also a state of mind,” added Paul Sallomi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and global technology, media and telecommunications industry leader. “The winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 program in EMEA recognise that this new type of thinking is essential for business success. We look forward to your continued leadership in introducing new tools that can enhance the personal lives of consumers, and drive growth for companies worldwide.”

Achieving a position in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 is impressive in this highly competitive and rapidly changing environment. To be featured in the listings companies have to be both dynamic and successful – for the second year running Me Learning has matched these requirements and proved it with their resulting sales.

For further information on Me Learning please visit or follow on @MeLearningUK

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: