CCS eyes central government travel savings as it splits contracts

Crown Commercial Service promises to boost role of smaller firms as provision of travel and conference booking for officials is split into four contracts

By Civil Service World

09 Sep 2015

The Crown Commercial Service has announced an overhaul of the way departments source travel and accommodation services for officials.

In a move away from a traditional framework agreement, CCS has split the provision of travel and conference booking into four separate contracts and increased the number of providers, with the Cabinet Office saying the new system will "help make civil servants' travel behaviour more efficient and sustainable" and allow access to cheaper rates and fares.

In 2011, the Cabinet Office and Treasury ordered all departments to use a central travel management services framework for their travel and accommodation bookings, with guaranteed prices and management fees agreed centrally by CCS.

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Analysis by the National Audit Office, published earlier this year, found that more than 80% of government travel expenditure booked through the central framework went through just two firms – Redfern and Hogg-Robinson – in 2013-14.

Travel and accomodation services will now be provided by four travel management suppliers – Redfern; Calder Conferences; Hogg Robinson; and Clarity Travel Management. A summary of the four-year contracts posted on the GOV.UK Contracts Finder platform puts their total value at £1.16bn-£2.24bn.

CCS says the new arrangement will open up provision to small and medium-sized businesses.

"A wide range of suppliers bid for the work, resulting in more competitive pricing where three of the four successful bidders are small or medium-sized companies," a CCS statement said.

The move – which the Cabinet Office claims could save "more than £50m" – was welcomed by civil service chief executive John Manzoni.

"These new contracts demonstrate that by working with our customers and suppliers we are able to develop solutions that support businesses, including smaller companies, while making a significant contribution to go venrment savings that helps to deal with the deficit for the taxpayer," he said. 

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