Economy and Infrastructure

11.03.19

SARS II: Recovery made easy

Source: PSE Feb/March 2019

Paul Bentley, of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), introduces us to the Spend Analysis Recovery Framework: a no win no fee means of carrying out audits and recovery for the public sector.

You probably don’t think of yourself as a hero. Those who spend taxpayers’ money have a duty to look for new and innovative ways of getting best value for the public purse, but it’s not that exciting.

Ideally it would be. Ideally, we would swashbuckle through spreadsheets, mercilessly review spending, and selflessly quest for a better deal. Each of us in central government and the wider public sector would be in a state of constant vigilance as we query every single penny.

But this isn’t the movies. Resources are tight and there are other, more routine tasks to perform. Where can you find the time and staff to sift through your books and find out if your spending could be smarter?

Back in 2012, all central government departments and arms-length bodies with budgets over £10m were directed to carry out audits. The aim was to ensure payments to suppliers were in order and then recover any overspend.

CCS helps organisations across the entire public sector save time and money on buying everyday goods and services. Our customers have achieved commercial benefits worth over £600m (compared to current market comparators) via some 1,260 procurements. We developed an agreement to facilitate these recoveries, and that framework is now in its second iteration.

Spend Analysis and Recovery Services II (SARS II) offers audit and recovery at no extra cost to the customer under a ‘no win no fee’ principle.

Honest mistakes happen when handling large transactions. They occur in both the public and private sectors but, until recently, the private sector has been more proactive in recovering overspend. Examples of unforced errors include duplicate payments, over payments, incorrect rates, missed discounts, incorrect VAT, or contractual oversights.

That’s why CCS is encouraging government departments and the wider public sector to look carefully at SARS II – part of the suite of financial service frameworks available to central government and the wider public sector through CCS. Under SARS II, all the customer needs do is provide the data, readily available in any ‘accounts payable’ or enterprise resource planning system. A SARS II supplier then analyses the books, identifies any errors, and reports them for customer authorisation to recover from suppliers in a professional and courteous manner, ensuring relationships are maintained.

Only when the cash is back in your organisation’s account will the SARS II supplier invoice for their fees – which amounts to a small percentage of the recovery. If no recovery is identified, there’s no fee at all and, if a recovery is identified but the customer chooses not to take it any further, there’s also no fee to pay.

Spend recovery has been so successful in the private sector that many larger organisations now have dedicated departments carrying out deep dive audits annually. So, how might a public sector organisation go about this? CCS customers have two routes to market: either a direct award or a further competition.

The direct award route enables customers to quickly access the market. Select a supplier which is able to supply the service requirement and, if the price offered on the framework is acceptable and they have the needed expertise, the award can be made. Alternatively, if a customer feels their opportunity is significant or offers a larger than usual scope, they may attempt additional savings via a further competition.

CCS can provide guidance on both options. Our role is to help colleagues across the public and third sector serve taxpayers even better than they already do. There’s nothing heroic about it.

For further information on SARS II please visit the agreement page on the CCS website.

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Wiltshire Council withdraws £20m plans to close special schools and reopens consultation

26/03/2019Wiltshire Council withdraws £20m plans to close special schools and reopens consultation

Wiltshire Council has announced it is extending its consultation on controversial plans to restructure its special education services and has wit... more >
South Yorkshire leaders make breakthrough in £30m devolution deal

26/03/2019South Yorkshire leaders make breakthrough in £30m devolution deal

The four South Yorkshire council leaders and mayor Dan Jarvis have announced a “breakthrough” in the stalled devolution deal for Shef... more >
Council leader reinstated after online Tommy Robinson comments amid Tory Islamophobia row

26/03/2019Council leader reinstated after online Tommy Robinson comments amid Tory Islamophobia row

The Conservative council leader who was suspended for sharing a message supporting far-right activist Tommy Robinson has now been re-instated by ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Wiltshire Council withdraws £20m plans to close special schools and reopens consultation

26/03/2019Wiltshire Council withdraws £20m plans to close special schools and reopens consultation

Wiltshire Council has announced it is extending its consultation on controversial plans to restructure its special education services and has withdrawn its decision to close three special schools... more >
South Yorkshire leaders make breakthrough in £30m devolution deal

26/03/2019South Yorkshire leaders make breakthrough in £30m devolution deal

The four South Yorkshire council leaders and mayor Dan Jarvis have announced a “breakthrough” in the stalled devolution deal for Sheffield City Region. After “years of impa... more >

the raven's daily blog

Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

18/03/2019Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, outlines his organisation’s campaign to make sure local government tops to government’s list for this year’s Spending Review. Our #CouncilsCan campaign to influence this year’s Spending Review is well underway and gathering momentum. The money local governm... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

11/03/2019Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

The decline of the Great British high street has been one of the greatest concerns for local councils in recent years, leading to some innovative... more >
Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

11/03/2019Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at Public Power Solutions, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Swindon Borough Council, describes the benefits of... more >
National Infrastructure Commission: Progressing the North

11/03/2019National Infrastructure Commission: Progressing the North

The National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) National Infrastructure Assessment was released in July 2018, making a variety of recommenda... more >
SARS II: Recovery made easy

11/03/2019SARS II: Recovery made easy

Paul Bentley, of the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), introduces us to the Spend Analysis Recovery Framework: a no win no fee means of carrying ou... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News