Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council – Passenger Transport and Fleet
Delivering significant efficiencies and improving the lives of vulnerable passenger transport users.

NPTIn early 2010, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC) realised that they were not delivering transport as effectively as they could, they did not operate transport in an integrated fashion across the Council or have a plan that was going to allow transport to deliver a much more flexible service. NPTCBC quickly realised that additional capacity and the benefits of an independent view was necessary to ascertain how to transform the service, develop a plan and confirm a solid business case in a service which was spread across various of the Council’s departments in isolated pockets, each with a competing aspiration for the service.

EDGE was commissioned to work with an internal team to develop this plan over a 6 week period. This process also allowed EDGE the due diligence they required to be able to offer their unique model whereby they would deliver the findings and risk their fees against non-delivery of savings.
EDGE immersed themselves into the operation enabling them to understand the culture, performance management, capability and how the operation worked in practical detail.
The review undertaken concluded that a major 3 year transformation was required across the service to deliver efficiencies, develop a more flexible proposition and integrate fleet and transport operations making it fit for purpose for the future.

EDGE were then commissioned by NPTCBC to lead and deliver the transformation and committed to delivering significant cashable savings of nearly £3million over a 3 year period. In the first two years of the partnership efficiencies have exceeded these expectations by over 100% and the partnership is now forecasting nearly £5million cashable impact over the 3 year term.
By basing a team of up to 4 managers on site on a full-time basis EDGE integrated into the NPT team, leading and working with NPTCBC colleagues to deliver the transformation. A robust Governance structure was implemented with close involvement from The NPT Chief Executive, Director of Finance, Director of Environment and The Head of Education Services. The Governance structure was critical in keeping the team focussed on hitting monthly targets, unblocking issues and communicating decisions impacting a complex group of stakeholders including head teachers, care home managers council front-line operatives and politicians.
There were many initiatives which have contributed to the success in delivering efficiencies and service change. These included;

Effectiveness of the transport operation
First of all EDGE looked at all passenger transport holistically and through detailed route planning the effectiveness of the internal council fleet was improved significantly. A performance regime was put in place to manage fleet down time and radically reduce the use of hired vehicles. Policies were standardised across the wide ranging transport provision so that drivers and escort quality could be improved and guaranteed and savings from the programme were invested so that 170 drivers and escorts could receive training in the first year of the transformation programme. The extra capacity generated allowed many externally sourced routes being provided by taxi companies to be brought back in house with greater cost effectiveness, greater control and a much improved quality of service.

EDGE conducted several months of route analysis to create the most effective way to transport all of the Borough’s vulnerable children and adults. This was carried out in full consultation with schools, parents and care teams. It enabled fit for purpose vehicles to be specified and maximum journey times to be ensured. The route exercise provided the basis to procure the most effective and quality solution from the external market. The procurement exercise involved a new and innovative approach to igniting the market and achieving interest from an increased number of suppliers thus providing for a much more flexible and localised solution. This drives down the mileage and time spent travelling to pick up points and back to base and therefore the cost of the journey. Additionally EDGEutilised an innovative reverse auction process which was hugely successful and earned the joint EDGE & NPT CBC team finalist status for an MJ award for technological innovation.

Managing demand and improving independence
EDGE set up a joint working team with schools to develop an individual travel plan for every SEN child where in a carefully planned way those children that are able to will be developed and helped to begin using mainstream transport options. This will have significant long term benefits and allow children to be better prepared for adult-hood and experience more independence than they otherwise would enjoy. It will also drive down costs of providing bespoke transport. Savings from the programme were utilised to invest into this area and provide travel training and assessment resource. A small investment with significant future returns.

Fleet management and maintenance
Through our knowledge of front-line services and transport EDGE provided a robust challenge to vehicle and plant needs across the council. By utilisation of tracker and introducing robust controls on replacement and helping develop new work routines vehicles and plant were reduced significantly with no detriment to service. Spot hire for spares was reduced by 25% through introducing improved vehicle sharing across council and introducing controls and performance management.
Improved controls and performance culture aided the improvement of value from vehicle parts and tyres. EDGEwere involved in ‘hands-on’ supplier negotiations to secure the best prices and contract management.

Creating a sustainable management team
EDGE have been a full time presence, fully immersed and integrated into the NPTCBC team. This has enabled day to day coaching, ownership of initiatives in the programme as well as managing day to day issues alongside the team.  Additionally it has enabled us to develop the team to take on a process of continuous development which can be continued after our departure. The transport team are developing skills to continually adapt the service to meet future needs.  The service teams were also integrated and the identification of people with potential developed into key roles in a reorganised and fully integrated team.