27 May 2022

Supporting greener councils with commissioning technology (Guest blog from Servelec)

Guest blog by Emma Simms, Content Manager at adam, an Access company.

Councils across the UK are putting more emphasis on climate change initiatives, ensuring it is a key focus behind any decision making when implementing or improving local services.

By moving towards digital solutions and working with procurement providers to improve services and commissioning activities, local authorities are focusing on quality products that are also sustainable and provide a greener experience for the local area. But how can commissioning technology help to reach long term climate goals and can collaborating with providers speed up this process?

Why are councils focused on climate change initiatives?

When concerns started to rise about the impact of climate change in 2008, the UK Government created the Climate Change Act as a long-term approach to cut greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. Taking a more direct approach, the government amended the Climate Change Act in 2019 to focus on “achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.” (Institute of Government)

This Act – among other pledges such as The Green Deal and UN sustainable development goals – outlines frameworks and guides for the government to lead change. Most recently, ‘1,049 cities, 67 regions, 5,235 businesses, 441 of the biggest investors, and 1,039 Higher Education Institutions’ have signed up to the United Nations’ ‘race to net zero’ campaign (United Nations Climate Change) which has embedded climate change into local and global decision making.

Councillor James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association says, “Councils are a unique and powerful partner in achieving net zero, able to impact on more than a third of all emissions from villages, towns and cities, such as through housing, transport and the natural environment.”

The Local Government Association’s climate change survey concluded 93% of local authorities, regardless of size or budget, are struggling against a funding barrier. This has led to 73% of councils developing partnerships with other local authorities and providers to help combat climate change and work on joint initiatives.

Funding restraints often result in councils relying on less sustainable commissioning methods to ensure solutions stay within budget. Investing in technology can be seen as a high cost, especially for councils with smaller budgets. However, local authorities who have worked with procurement providers, such as Access’ adam, have seen tangible results within the first year of use, along with long-term cost savings, and improvements to service and greener methods.

Transforming greener practices with procurement technology

According to the ‘Councillor workbook: The pathway to net zero’, the top three biggest sources of carbon dioxide emissions are transport, energy supply and homes. By focusing on sustainable change as part of the commissioning process, councils are presented with a big opportunity to be more environmentally focused for every individual as soon as they start using a service.

Milton Keynes Council worked with adam to develop a high quality, compliant and sustainable home-to-school transport solution which gave them full visibility of the local provider market.

Commissioning technology facilitates a better view of the marketplace while streamlining processes to save staff time and costs. It allows councils to identify further areas for improvement, for instance, highlighting too many routes in use for home-to-school transport or discovering a special education needs (SEN) transport provider who uses electric vehicles at a cheaper cost. These elements combined can significantly reduce the impact of transport emissions quickly and efficiently.

This was the case for Milton Keynes Council, as the data revealed that too many routes were in operation and allowed the council to improve their service further by investing in a route planning tool.

Setting sustainable requirements for each provider created a higher quality marketplace for Milton Keynes, encouraging suppliers to be more eco-friendly and develop continued improvements.

Stay green while improving commissioning solutions

Councils need to start by focusing on sustainable solutions that resolve key challenges or services which they are already trying to improve and invest in. This ensures any climate change initiatives implemented are supporting current goals, meaning they are not only cost effective, but provide long term benefits for reducing climate impact too.

By building these into an overall strategy and working directly with like-minded sustainable partners, local authorities can focus on what really matters. Whether that is sourcing sustainable providers or ensuring suppliers comply with greener requirements such as eco-energy friendly homes – councils do not need to compromise between cost of service and climate change targets.

At adam, we are committed to developing a culture of environmental awareness throughout our business operations which we have embedded into our staff values. From recycling practices, managing, purchasing and travel, we strive to create a sustainable environment and lower our carbon footprint as well as that of the local authorities we work with.

Contact our team for your free consultation here and discover more about Access adam solutions.


Emma Simms, Content Manager at Adam, an Access company.


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