Worcestershire County Council, like all other councils, is operating in a difficult climate with reducing budgets and increased demand for many of its services. Having last undertaken a spend recovery audit of their accounts payable some years ago, the council felt it was the right time to commission a further review to identify and recover any overpayments to suppliers and receive advice on improving their current processes.
The scope of the project included a detailed examination of all expenditure with third parties since April 2008, to identify duplicate payments, overpayments, credit notes not processed and unclaimed VAT.
The council wanted to appoint an experienced supplier to undertake the project and had four objectives in mind:
1. minimising impact on the day-to-day routine of the accounts payable team
2. maximising recoveries
3. ensuring all communications with staff and suppliers were handled with complete professionalism
4. commissioning the project on a ‘performance-related’ basis
The council carefully considered their requirements and decided to use the CCS Spend Analysis and Recovery Services framework to appoint purchase ledger review specialist, Meridian V4 Services, via a direct award.
Ruth Minors, Accounts Payable Officer at Worcestershire County Council said:
“We are very pleased with the manner in which the entire project has been undertaken. Engagement was made simple by use of the direct award facility available under the Spend Analysis and Recovery Services agreement, which was completed using a straightforward call-off form.
“The data extract process and recovery phase called for significantly less staff time and resource than we anticipated. Recoveries of duplicate payments were lower than expected, as a consequence of our use of specialist pre-payment checking software. However, Meridian added significant value to overall recoveries by their detailed analysis of statements and complex supplier accounts. Meridian’s account manager communicated with our staff and suppliers in an entirely professional manner.
“We would be happy to engage Meridian for a further audit and would recommend them to other councils considering a recovery audit.”
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