London Borough of Ealing
Best Practice in Public Sector Procurement
The London Borough of Ealing is the largest Borough in West London and the third largest in the capital with 300,000 residents, 13,365 businesses and an annual budget of £266million. With increasing pressure to drive efficiency savings and cost reductions across the entire organisation, Ealing were faced with the challenges of doing more with less.
As with many local authorities, Marketing and Communications are vital to ensure information is distributed to residents, businesses, council staff and the wider community. As part of the wider review, the team running the Council’s Marketing and Communications were under pressure to find new and innovative ways of utilising their budgets while handling a significant and ever present demand for timely communications.
The centralised team were managing frequent time sensitive demands for prompt turn-arounds for online and offline communications, departmental heads who sometimes found it quicker and easier to use the most convenient (but not necessarily the right) supplier, pressure to push more work through under-utilised in house but outdated production facilities and constant cost pressures.
The decision was taken to deploy a proven platform for streamlining the complex and time consuming processes involved in specifying, capturing prices from suppliers and processing orders.
After a lengthy selection process, Ealing selected Claritum due to its proven capabilities in public sector. The Claritum spend management platform provides the end-to-end process automation, controls and reporting capabilities needed to improve efficiencies and help to drive savings.
The Claritum system was initially deployed into the Marketing and Communications team to help reduce the time and improve the quoting process. Quoting required capturing costs from both internal creative and design teams alongside external print providers and the internal production facility. The platform enabled the Council to enforce use of approved suppliers and monitor performance and pricing. Over time, it was evident that the supplier base could be rationalised resulting in improved quality and service levels along with cost savings and reduced administration.
By freeing the team up from manual administration, they quickly became more productive and supplier pricing could be monitored and spending controlled. By analysing the profile of work being ordered, it was evident that significant gains could be made by negotiating contracted prices with preferred suppliers. This facility within Claritum, not only ensures compliance to contracted rates, it means the team can respond to client demands immediately.
Streamlined Order Processing
The use of the Claritum platform was extended to streamline the raising, approving and issuing purchase orders and receipting goods from suppliers. This capability helped Ealing ensure that what they bought was what was delivered resulting in reduced wastage and errors. By integrating Claritum’s invoicing capabilities with Ealing’s back office financials the Council also reduced the burden of matching, reconciling and approving large numbers of supplier invoices and significantly improved the accuracy of recharging internal customers.
Claritum has also helped reduce the cost and risk of re-equipping the internal production centre. By working with a specialist provider to analyse the line item transactions, Ealing have been able to accurately assess the equipment required and predict the likely volumes needed to fulfil the council’s production needs in house, rather than continue to put work with external suppliers.
With the team becoming increasingly efficient and the range of services growing, the next step was to extend the service offering into more customers. By adding Claritum’s Customer Catalogue, the Marketing and Communications team have been able to provide their customers both within and beyond the Council with intuitive, self-service online ordering. So the Council has deployed branded ordering portals to local schools, emergency services and other publicly funded bodies. This approach is helping to drive more volume through the department, resulting in better pricing with suppliers and lower costs.
We estimate the reduction in direct and indirect costs will be many times the costs of the system improvements as well as providing many non cost benefits. It is an area many public sector organisations are looking at.
Claritum has helped The London Borough of Ealing transition from an inefficient provider of marketing and communications to a highly effective service provider and manager of the Ealing brand. This transformation has not only delivered hard cost savings and process efficiencies it has enabled the council to bring new and innovative services to a wider range of publicly funded bodies across West London.