Lewisham Passenger Transport - Travel Coordinator Team Manager Q&A

In this interview we speak with Wendy Hall at Lewisham Borough Council about their recent go-live of Passenger Transport.

 

  1. Thank you for your time today Wendy, can you please tell me a little bit about your role and what you’re currently doing with Lewisham at the moment?

"In my current role and when we initiated adam I was a Travel Coordination Team Manager so our role was to procure transport, the most appropriate transport for young children and young adults and adults."

  1. What did the process look like before for engaging, enrolling and managing Suppliers?

"We were quite organised really, we would send out quotes via email, to a distribution list and using a quotes form which made out what we required and we waited for an email from our Providers with their offers. Then we collated them and then located them."

*and was that using a closed framework? *

"Yes, we had a closed framework which ends in June-July."

  1. How many suppliers did you have? How were they managed?

"We started off with 16 but we only had 9 or 10 that were actually working with us. We’d send a quote acceptance form once it had been agreed but in view of managing them, that would be going out and visiting their offices, I would do the compliance checks with them; checking things like licence validity, how they do their recruitment checks and things like that. So quite long-winded visits usually."

*and did the providers like that approach or do you think it’s an approach they prefer now? *

"I think they liked the process of seeing us and going out and visiting. The advantage of the new process is that things are much more transparent, so they can now see their position in where they are when they quote, we’re reliant on them occasionally ringing up and asking ‘how did we do on that’ and were they in the ballpark but that didn’t happen too often, they were very accepting on whether they got the job or not."

  1. What has now changed?

"Where we were in terms of a disadvantage was as I mentioned, we had 16 providers which was then reduced to 10 and the framework was closed so we had no opportunity to get anyone else to replace those. So, it actually limited the amount of suppliers we could go to."

"With adam it enabled providers to be able to jump on and jump off so if we lose someone, we’re able to constantly refresh the market."

*and the providers quite like that as well? *

"I think some are existing suppliers and are a little cautious of the new providers coming on and a bit fearful of losing some of their share of the pool of work. However, it makes them more competitive and they don’t have such a monopoly over things."

  1. How has this improved or changed yours and your teams’ day to day role?

"Well we’re still very new to be honest, we’re only three weeks in really, so it’s hard to say really. We’re still picking up bits from beforehand so if you ask that question again in three months’ time, I’d probably say it’s all singing and dancing and made everything easier! So at the moment things are quite straightforward, we have queries about the invoicing and quotes and reporting but even if it reduces the number of invoices that we actually have to deal with, the physical dealing with invoices that would be a huge time saver for the team because it was very time consuming, which was completely monopolising two peoples time all of the time, so that’s something we’re really looking forward to and we have seen that in the last week or so."

  1. What was it like for Providers making the change?

"The feedback from them has been very positive, we only had one or two that were struggling a bit at the beginning but those queries seem to have gone now so I think generally the feedback has been really good. Hopefully once they see the benefits of the invoicing and the speeding up of the payments, they’ll be even more positive. So, we haven’t had any moans or gripes about it at all."

  1. What will improve for Providers using the system?

"I think for them its going to provide the transparency around where they are in the ball park when they’re putting their offers in. They’re going to have sped up invoices with our interfaces working between adam and Oracle. So yes, that will be the main benefits for them."

  1. How do Lewisham want to work with Providers – what relationship do you want with them?

"We like to have a very trusting relationship with our providers. We’re handing over children and vulnerable people to them, so we have to trust them. So, obviously with the new ones you have to build that up but with our current providers, we know the strengths and weaknesses of all of our providers and I hope that continues with all of the new ones that we have. So as we get to know them, we’ll know where they are and what they can offer."

  1. What next for you and the Supplier team?

"Well our roles will develop, hopefully, using adam it will free-up time for the two guys doing all of the invoicing. So then, they can move to new roles that are more client facing rather than being back-office spending so much time doing invoices, they’ll be able to be more interactive with our clients, do more assessments and have a better relationship with the schools. From my point of view, I’ll be able to concentrate more on compliance and getting out and building those relationships with our suppliers and ironing out any issues."

  1. What advice or recommendations would you make to other boroughs/councils?

"I think it’s about being open-minded about change and see what the benefits are. With adam we’ve been led through the whole process so nicely, there is a lot of work that has to be done to get it on board but actually the whole process and the team came with such a comprehensive plan of how everything was going to work and the timetable that we were all working to, that we all went along very merrily through the whole thing. It’s been really good, we haven’t had any mad panics, it hasn’t been a stressful thing at all which sometimes when you’re setting up new stuff it can be. From our point of view it’s been a really nice and calm process, it hasn’t been helter-skelter or flying by the seat of your pants job it’s been really nice."

Thank you very much again for your time today Wendy.

If you would like to find out more click here.

Keep updated with Lewisham's progress here.

Read the stories of other Public Sector Organisations who have overcome their challenges, implemented change and are now seeing results, it might inspire you to do the same.