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Delivering social value through fleet supply chains

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The Crown Commercial Service is working with Driving for Better Business to deliver social value through fleet supply chains.

Alongside safety, public bodies are becoming increasingly conscious of their responsibility to consider the environmental and social impacts of their procurement, according to Dominique Butchard, category manager at the Crown Commercial Service.

“Every time a local authority, central government department or healthcare organisation signs a contract with a supplier, there are opportunities to increase the social value delivered for UK citizens,” she explained.

“The public sector needs to recognise this opportunity and understand what their options are to boost social value in their area.”

For the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), delivering social value within its procurements is a key priority, it says.

This is supported by The Public Services (Social Value) Act, which requires consideration to be given to how social value can be delivered through the public sector’s commercial activities in order to secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits for communities.

“Fortunately, safety and social value don’t have to be tackled separately,” said Butchard. “Managing risk in your fleet can have a direct, positive impact on both our environment and local health services.”

For example, improving the driving habits of your teams can reduce emissions - improving air quality as a result of smoother driving - and prevent accidents, helping to relieve pressure on your local emergency services and NHS. 

CCS is taking action to support customers in this area, building the management of road related risk into our new framework agreement for the supply and fit of tyres, glass and fast fit items, as a requirement for our suppliers and their wider supply chains.

“This is where Highways England’s Driving for Better Business (DfBB) comes in,” says Butachard.

“The programme is a Government-backed initiative based on the principle that employers have a prime role to play in the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

“It is free to access and includes useful online tools and resources to help businesses evaluate practices, strengthen culture, enhance performance, and demonstrate leadership in the management of work-related road risk.”

Driving for Better Business is designed to help employers to make effective interventions with both their drivers and vehicles, to improve safety and risk management - reducing work-related road risk, controlling the associated costs, and improving compliance with current legislation and guidance.

Stuart Lovatt, strategic road safety lead at Highways England, explained: “Driving for Better Business harnesses the power of public procurement to raise management standards in the supply chain which in turn delivers better working conditions, safer societies and lower environmental impact.

“Organisations that follow the DfBB framework see a reduction in road collisions and operational costs allowing them to deliver a more reliable cost-effective service to their public sector clients.”

The programme consists of seven steps to help organisations manage their work-related road risk, starting with joining the community of operators and enabling networking to share practices.

Butchard said: “It aims to guide businesses on gaining leadership support and then evaluating current risk levels to set a benchmark.

“The programme then provides practical help and support to strengthen positive practices and embed a culture of responsibility for safety throughout.”

In sampling, DfBB measured an 80% reduction in speeding and a 43% reduction in collisions, resulting in a 26% drop in insurance premiums.

Other large businesses have been able to reduce fuel consumption by up to 50% by changing driving behaviours, gaining a net reduction of 1,500 tonnes in CO2 emissions.

As part of the development of CCS’s new agreement for supply and fit of tyres, windscreens and fast fit items, helping the public sector to improve road safety was a key priority, says Butchard. “That’s why we’ve made it a requirement for all suppliers to sign up to the DfBB scheme.”

She explained: “Public sector fleet operations are critical to public services and keeping them roadworthy is key. These operations can require services for roadside tyre and glass replacements as part of emergency call outs, an activity which in itself increases risk.

“In this situation, considering not only the supply chain for the distribution of goods associated with this agreement, but also the nature of service delivery by mobile fitters was a top priority for us.”

She continued: “With a vision of a world where those who use the roads for work do so safely, efficiently, and sustainably, DfBB is an approach which CCS believe provides an opportunity to embed best practice across all suppliers appointed to the framework agreement. 

“Being free to use also ensures that the programme is accessible to all suppliers regardless of their size and doesn’t require a budget.

“The structure of the seven steps also ensures that suppliers approach fleet risk management with a continuous improvement approach.”

Many suppliers within the industry will already be participating in the scheme or have other risk management processes in place that can easily integrate into the programme, but for others, enrolment in the seven-step programme will be the start of their journey, according to Butchard.

The DfBB programme supports social value in CCS agreements in two areas:

  • Fighting climate change: smoother driving helps to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while regular maintenance and servicing schedules and daily vehicle checks further reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Health and wellbeing: keeping your drivers, pedestrians and other road users safe isn’t only good for individuals, it reduces pressure on the emergency services and NHS.

Suppliers working through the DfBB seven-step programme role model behaviours to show understanding of these risks and are able to evidence measures of a baseline and policies for improvement to counter these.

Butchard said: “We’re here to support you with the seven steps of the Driving for Better Business programme, whatever you are on the journey to make the roads more safer for users.”

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