How you buy water in England is changing

Did you know that from April, you might be eligible to switch to a new retail water service supplier to get the best deal?

Retail services include things like reading meters, issuing bills and customer service.

Are you eligible?
If your premises are used only for business and your existing supplier of water and/or wastewater services is based in England, it is likely you will be eligible to switch. If you are in Wales, or your existing supplier is based in Wales, you may only be able to switch if you use more than 50 million litres per year.

Find out if you are eligible

Why switch?
Reviewing your supplier means you could benefit from:

  • lower bills and better value for money
  • better customer service
  • more tailored services to suit your business needs
  • help to become more water-efficient

What we’re doing to help you
We’re working with YPO, The Energy Consortium, ESPO, NEPO, West Mercia Energy, and the Ministry of Defence to launch a new framework to help you choose a water supplier. It will give you access to suppliers for your water supply and waste water services (sewerage), plus additional services to help you make water efficiency savings.

Get ready to switch
You should start to get your site information ready now so that you are ready to switch as soon as the new framework is available in April.

In order to switch the essential information you will need to know is:

  • organisation name
  • address including postcode
  • annual consumption
  • supply point ID (SPID) – this is a unique reference number for your meter (this should start to appear on your water bills. If you do not have this number you can call to ask your current supplier)
  • contact name at the premises
  • contact phone number at the premises

It would also useful if you know your:

  • unique property reference number
  • demand profile (i.e. 24/7, 9-5)
  • annual spend

If you are interested in using the new framework please get in touch.

Find out more information about the new market.

7 good reasons to sort your payment solutions today

Whether you’re looking to improve your processes for collecting payments or paying invoices – or indeed both – it needn’t be a lengthy process, as we can help you get up and running in a matter of weeks. Here are 7 good reasons why you should take the first steps towards streamlining your payment solutions today:

  1. Embedding payment cards with your top suppliers will reduce 1000s of invoices into just one – your monthly card statement – making it much easier for your finance team to process
  2. Customers have typically reduced the number of invoices they receive by as much as 45%
  3. Using payments cards can save you at least £5 per transaction compared to traditional purchasing methods
  4. You will be able to pay about 20% more invoices on time. This will help you achieve your prompt payment targets, as suppliers are guaranteed to be paid within 3 working days
  5. Switching your ePayment card provider could save you between £28 and £45 per card on annual card fees
  6. Receive annual rebates based on your card spend. In the past 2 years rebates to customers totalled over £10 million
  7. Reduced fuel card fees and charges have helped save over £1.3 million for UK police forces and £900,000 for the UK ambulance service

Our payment solutions include ePurchasing cards, fuel cards, and merchant acquiring services, equipment and payment gateway services to help you accept payments online, over the phone or in person.

We have over 4,000 public sector customers using the services, with over £1.4 billion of spend going through our ePurchasing card solution and £15 billion of receipts going through our merchant acquirer service. So you can be doubly assured our services are tried and tested!

Ready to get started? Please get in touch.

NHS trusts work together and save £9 million on locum doctors

By combining their agency staff requirements 3 NHS trusts were able to save £9 million a year on their locum doctor costs.

CCS NHS trusts save £9 million on locum doctors

The customer requirement
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust were spending in the region of £30-40 million a year on locum doctors. They joined forces as by bringing together their requirements they believed there was the potential to make significant savings and improve workforce efficiency across the trusts.

The solution
They chose to use the CCS Multidisciplinary Temporary Healthcare Personnel agreement (RM3711) to find an agency who could meet their locum doctor requirements, as this framework has the option, if required, to also cover their nursing and allied health professionals needs, without the need to go back out to the market. This is because the agreement enables trusts to source all their temporary clinical staff through a single solution.

The proposed collaborative solution needed all 3 trusts to get executive level and clinical support. The trusts were able to do this by showing that it was an opportunity to develop common workforce management practices and that they would be able to achieve significant cost and efficiency savings.

By working closely with CCS at the specification stage the trusts were able to ensure that NHS Improvement price caps were addressed, and that the successful supplier will meet any other future NHS Improvement requirements.

Following the evaluation of 7 supplier bids, the trusts awarded a contract to a single master vendor supplier for all 3 trusts, with each trust entering into their own signed contract. As a master vendor the successful agency supplies the trusts with temporary staff from their own pool of workers in the first instance. Where they cannot supply from their own pool, they sub-contract to an established agency in their supply chain.

The results
Each trust will save approximately £3 million a year, giving the trusts a combined saving of £9 million annually. This saving is a direct result of the 3 trusts working together to achieve better management of their medical locums and drive down costs to ensure they meet NHS Improvement’s agency rate caps.

Richard Somerset MCIPS, Senior Category Manager, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The support I received from CCS was of the highest standard and helped the trusts complete a successful procurement that will save millions of pounds a year.”

Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.

Ready to buy now? Visit the framework page for more details on the buying options.

Get involved

If you want to find out more about how we can help you, why not ask one of our customer team to give you a call or sign up to our newsletter?

Get in touch

Welcome to CCS

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been working hard to deliver great customer service and outstanding commercial value to our customers.

We’ve made changes and improvements along the way, such as building new teams that are dedicated to working with our customers across all areas of the public sector: health, local government, education, devolved administrations, police and emergency services, charities and the third sector.

To find out more about your team, visit the relevant sector page using the menu above

Along with these improvements, we’ve also made plans for the future. In 2017, we will be rolling out a number of new initiatives and improving our services:

  • We’re developing new online tools to make it easier for you to work with us
  • We’re taking steps to help you work with more small and local businesses
  • We’re working with you to pursue more ways to provide even greater commercial and social value through your procurement activities
  • We’re attending an extensive number of events at which we’ll be available to discuss your specific challenges and how we can help

Check out our blogs, news and events page for regular updates

Whether you’re an existing customer or new to CCS, we can help you save time and money on buying everyday goods and services so you can focus on delivering what matters most to you. We’ve already helped hundreds of organisations like yours, and would love to help you.

We would also like to hear from organisations like yours to ensure we are providing the best possible solutions to your needs.

If you want to find out more about how we can help you, ask a question, leave feedback or sign up to our newsletter please get in touch.

Contact us

We look forward to hearing from you.

Malcolm Harrison, CEO

Would you like to get involved in evaluating our new management consultancy framework?

I’m part of a strategic category team supporting the current procurement for management consultancy (RM3745). We’re keen to get customers from all areas of the public sector involved in the evaluation process, so I wanted to tell you a bit more about the procurement and how you can get involved…

The framework
This new management consultancy framework will replace ConsultancyONE. It has been designed to help you access suppliers who can provide consultancy services to support your organisation. The range of services available is being broadened and we are working hard to ensure you have access to specialist and SME businesses. Key features will include:

  • Revised day rates and a choice of flexible pricing models (fixed, time and materials or risk and reward), as part of the further competition process, to help you achieve better value for money
  • New lots have been included for education, healthcare/community and infrastructure (lots 5, 6 and 7)
  • Suppliers to meet specific sector needs
  • No upper or lower spend limits
  • Increased number and refreshed list of suppliers for you to choose from
  • All suppliers will be accredited to cyber essentials
  • Simple access as you will be to direct award, as well as run a further competition

The framework will be awarded in two phases:

  • Phase one is expected to be available in July. It will include business consultancy, finance and audit
  • Phase two is planned for September and will include HR, healthcare/community, education, infrastructure and ICT and digital services

Why get involved?
I’m looking for people to help my team evaluate the supplier bids to ensure we have the most capable suppliers, which offer best value for money and meet your needs.

It’s a great learning and development opportunity and will look great on your CV as you will be able to say you have been part of developing the largest consultancy framework within the UK!

What’s involved?
You will be given one question to evaluate that suppliers have been asked to answer. How long it will take to evaluate the question will depend on how you choose to plan your time. You can spend as little as an hour a day or up to a full day at a time, which means it will take somewhere between 2 to 8 weeks.

Before you start you will be provided with training, which will include an overview of the system you need to use and the questions suppliers were asked, including the response guidance they were given that you will be evaluating their answers against. This training will take about 40 minutes.

If you’re interested in getting involved and would like to find out more please get in touch.

Do you receive our newsletter?

Did you know that we publish a monthly newsletter providing you with all the latest news on our frameworks, procurement policy, training opportunities and events?

Sign up to the CCS newsletter

Here is a copy of the latest issue. If you don’t currently receive the newsletter and would like to start doing so, please sign up by completing this short form.

New framework to help you digitise print, copying, scanning and storage

With the adoption of new technologies, many of our customers are seeing a reduction in print volumes and an increased demand to move to digital solutions. Designed with this in mind, we have launched a new framework to provide you with an all-in-one solution to support you with every element of your print and records information management needs.


Developed in collaboration with YPO and Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) to create the biggest agreement of its type, it covers a wide range of services from buying multifunctional devices to managing your print strategy, storage and scanning services to support digitisation. There are also services to help you appraise, select, and sensitivity review your records, and audit and consultancy to help you optimise your print and records management.

Benefits include:

  • reduce costs and wastage by consolidating your devices and storage, and take advantage of proactive consumables management for less waste of toner and paper
  • a flexible model for managed print and content management services enables you to scale up and down so you only pay for what you need at the time
  • digital storage on secure hosting services will help protect you from loss of critical documents, and our records information management services ensure you are always compliant with government security standards, removing the need to check yourself
  • cut your carbon footprint with new energy efficient devices, helping to support your organisation’s energy saving initiatives
  • access to the latest technology, software developments and guidance to help you move to digital solutions, become more efficient and reduce the volume of paper you use, as well as reduce physical storage and retrieval costs, saving you time and valuable space

Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.

Ready to buy now? Visit the framework page for more details on the buying options.

New managed print and digital solutions framework

We’ve launched a new framework to help you access a full range of print and digital solutions, including both fully managed end-to-end solutions and individual service options including:

  • print and paper products (including envelopes and labels)
  • digital asset management
  • pre-production services (including basic design and artwork, photograph retouching, typesetting and proofreading)
  • operational print, security print, large format and wide print
  • direct mail and transactional print
  • database management
  • storage, fulfilment and distribution

CCS print and digital solutions framework

Benefits include a transparent price model to help you achieve savings, and you can expect savings in the region of 5-20% depending on your print maturity and volumes.

All suppliers on the framework will use their expertise to help you achieve savings and move to digital solutions, where possible.

Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.

Ready to buy now? Visit the framework page for more details on the buying options.

Communications framework attracts small businesses

The Communications Services framework has proved extremely popular with suppliers, resulting in a number of small and regional businesses successfully applying to join the new framework. Of the 67 agencies selected, 69% are small or medium-sized businesses and 22 are based outside of London.

CCS Communications Framework for small businesses

The framework offers you a choice of agencies who can support you with specific services, from channel planning and PR to creative development and digital marketing, to meet your tactical requirements.

It complements the Campaign Solutions framework, which launched at the end of 2016, giving you access to agencies that can design, plan and deliver entire campaigns for you.

David Skinner, Crown Commercial Service’s Director of Corporate Solutions said:

“A wide variety of innovative, exciting and talented agencies are now on the framework, including many small businesses.

This will provide public sector bodies with the tailored, specialist and flexible advice they need to develop cutting edge campaigns.”

Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more.

Ready to buy now? Visit the framework page for more details on the buying options.

Don’t forget that car tax regulations change on 1 April

I just wanted to remind you that new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) regulations – commonly known as car tax – are coming into force on 1 April 2017.

What is changing?
Just like the current system, new cars will be divided into 13 bands based on their carbon emissions. This determines how much you pay in the first year of ownership. The amount paid each year after that will depend on the type of fuel the car uses.

These tables show the new rates based on fuel type – alternative fuels include hybrids, bi-ethanol and liquid petroleum gas:

Petrol and diesel cars                                                    Alternative fuel cars

CO2 emissions (g/km)First year Standard rate*       (after 12 months)CO2 emissions (g/km)First year Standard rate* (after 12 months)

*Cars costing over £40,000 will pay an additional tax of £310 for 5 years

These rate changes will only apply to new cars registered from 1 April 2017 onwards.

Cars costing more than £40,000
Cars registered after 1 April 2017 with a list price (the published price before any discounts) of more than £40,000 will attract an additional rate of £310 a year for 5 years. This additional rate will only apply after the first 12 months.

Fuel TypeStandard rateAdditional rateTotal annual amount
Alternative fuel£130£310£440

After 5 years, depending on the fuel type, the standard annual rate will then apply.

Find out more
You can find further information online on GOV.UK. Got a question? Please get in touch.

We helped UK police forces save nearly £2 million on office supplies

The customer
One of the areas where police forces have historically struggled to achieve savings is office supplies. As part of the Collaborative Law Enforcement Procurement (CLEP) Programme, opportunities for savings on office supplies were identified through collaboration and standardisation of their requirements.

An office supplies category strategy was developed through the CLEP programme with the objective of saving 7-10%. This represented a potential saving in the region of £690,000 – £980,000 for forces.

CCS help police save on office supplies

The solution
As CCS already had an established framework for office supplies, it made sense for the programme to undertake a further competition under the framework, rather than re-approach the market directly.

In doing so the programme was immediately able to benefit from standardisation and consolidation as the products available through the framework are based on a streamlined core product catalogue of around 900 items.

Additionally, 60% of the UK police office supplies had previously been bought through a single supplier which presented an opportunity for greater competition by running an eAuction, led by CCS. This brought over 85% of the UK police spend together.

The results
By combining use of the framework with an eAuction the forces were able to benefit from the savings achieved through the framework, which were further enhanced through an eAuction.

Overall savings in the region of 23% were achieved, with some forces saving as much as 31% (based on the top 20 items purchased).

Based on the national UK police spend on office supplies this result offers a potential total saving in the region of £1.9 million. A phenomenal result for all involved and far beyond the original target set.

Get involved
To take part in an eAuction or find out more about buying office supplies please get in touch.

Get involved

If you want to find out more about how we can help you, why not ask one of our customer team to give you a call or sign up to our newsletter?

Get in touch