Since late 2014, we have been working with North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) to enhance their customers’ temporary labour provision.

Established in 1976, NEPO undertakes high-value procurement in major strategic areas of spend (such as construction, energy, facilities management and professional services) in partnership with North East local authorities and a range of associate members. All authorities rely heavily on temporary staff to keep services running smoothly – their partnership with NEPO is key to this and, in turn, NEPO’s partnership with ourselves.

As an intermediary sitting between NEPO and a panel of recruitment agencies, we fulfil a wide range of skilled job categories for NEPO’s customers on a 24/7/365 basis, managing over 120 agency suppliers every day. The contract is delivered across 260 North East locations via a Neutral Vendor model.

In a demanding climate, the partnership has already delivered significant efficiencies and improvements, including:

  • Cost savings of £1.23m – £230k above the original estimate
  • Over £30m in spend – initial projected spend was £25m
  • Greater visibility and control of agency spend, through real-time MI
  • Captured ‘out of panel’ spend in areas where higher rates were being paid for contingent labour
  • Almost 2,000 agency workers transacted per week – up from 1,100
  • Access to a high volume, constant supply of quality staff
  • Targeting new areas that NEPO was unable to previously, such as Social Care and Education
  • Agencies now competing on quality rather than price through standard agreements
  • Suppliers working in a transparent, ethical way and sharing NEPO’s values

Supporting the local economy – in the initial 12-month period, 65% of revenue was within the local economy and 35% from national businesses, equating to £19,727,048 and £10,416,486 respectively

Total compliance to legislation such as Agency Worker Regulations (AWR) and the UK Modern Slavery Act, with a standard and parity safeguarding process in place throughout the entire supply chain

A significant reduction in administration, with all framework authorities going from hundreds of invoices per week to just four per month

A certainty that the right workforce will be in play at the right time – ultimately ensuring a positive service to all NEPO’s local authorities and associate members.

Due to the levels of service delivery and savings that have been delivered, a decision was made to extend the contract for a further two years. This serves as testament to a successful project between a neutral vendor outsourcing specialist and public sector organisation – and reinforces the business case for winning the NOA Professional Award for Excellence in Business Process Outsourcing.

Adam Smith, Regional Procurement Officer at NEPO, comments:

“The success of the partnership so far is a direct reflection of the processes/systems put in place, as well as the efforts the team have made to cater for each individual authority and their requirements. The team’s determination and enthusiasm for the contract to do well has been evident throughout.”

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