Switching tracks for business travel – our guide to changing suppliers

Switch travel agreement - CCS

If your travel agreement is coming to an end soon, or you don’t currently have one in place, now’s the time for you to consider your options going forward.

At Crown Commercial Service, we can help you plan a smooth transfer onto our Public Sector Travel and Venue Solutions (PSTVS) commercial agreement. If you’re short on time, here are a few pointers to help you switch to your new agreement as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Why switch?

The benefits available to you under PSTVS include:

  • Access to a mix of approved suppliers to suit your needs, in a way that is compliant with the Public Contract Regulations
  • Low or no booking fees
  • Access to our negotiated programmes for air and accommodation leveraging c£700m travel spend.
  • Savings estimated at 13% independently benchmarked vs the market
  • Price match promise

What do I need to think about when planning to switch?

When does your travel agreement end?

Think about how much time you have left on your current agreement, and what timescales you need to work towards to put a new one in place.  

For large complex implementations, we usually recommend 8-12 weeks to fully transfer from your old supplier to your new one(s), once you have chosen them.  You should also account for the time needed to complete your internal approvals process when planning your transition.

If your existing agreement ends before this process would be completed, you have the following options to move quicker:

  • Direct award ASAP (including for solution 4 wherever possible)
  • Consider remaining with your incumbent, if they are party to PSTVS
  • Consider individual implementation timescales when picking a supplier, these can be shortened in some cases, if your requirement is straightforward.

What internal governance do you need to undertake before awarding your new agreement?

PSTVS includes a provision for direct award across all Solutions in a way that is compliant with the Public Contract Regulations, so ideally you should look to use this option wherever possible to save time, cost and resource (potentially reducing your timescales by up to a month).  

Find out what governance process your organisation requires you to follow to use a direct award – it may be a simple value-for money assessment, you may choose to ask the suppliers for demonstrations of their booking tools, or you may have a different process to follow.

For solution 4, we recommend that you only undertake a further competition if you need a supplier to develop proposals or a solution for your bespoke service requirements not included in the specification of requirements; and/or you need to amend or refine the agreement terms to reflect your requirements (to the extent permitted by the Regulations).

Does your requirement match the specification for one or more PSTVS Solutions?

For solution 4, we recommend that you use direct award where your service requirements are met by the specification.  Solutions 1, 2, 3 and 5 are single supplier agreements, so you must direct award under these solutions.

For solution 4, there are three suppliers but you also have the choice to direct award.  The transaction fees chargeable under Solution 4 are market-leading, meaning they are unlikely to be reduced further through a competition.  PSTVS also gives you the flexibility to mix and match the various Solutions to best suit your needs.

If you have any requirements that are not in the specification, consider whether you could amend your requirements slightly to avoid the need to run a competition (and potentially save you money), e.g. whether everything you are currently asking for is truly necessary, or simply a “nice to have”.  

Is your incumbent supplier on Public Sector Travel & Venue Solutions?

If you’re happy with the service you received from your current supplier, and they are on PSTVS, you could consider doing a short-term enabling agreement (up to one year) via direct award to ensure continuity of service, giving you more time to fully develop and plan your longer-term service provision.

Want to find out more?

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you transfer to our PSTVS agreement:

Email us travel@crowncommercialservice.gov.uk

Call us today 0345 410 2222

Visit our agreement page to find more info

Follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter