Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Category management flushed out

They've delivered public service since 1852, yet Sunday, Monday, and now Tuesday publicly owned toilets have managed to feature in national newspapers - yes, I have blogged the toliets. Today it was the turn of Billericay Town Council (covered in The Times hard copy) which it has been claimed at £20k a year, is "the most expensive toilet in the country". Other Billericay numbers are 20p charge for users for a visit, a 15 year lease and a £125k contract break charge. 

Now the claim of being "the most expensive toilet in the country" would surely be very easy to verify and in the process could potentially demonstrate vfm and a collaborative approach by councils to benchmarking, collaborative negotiating, and collaborative buying.

So what I suggest is something very simple, a national audit of the nations contracts for 'superloos'. Include: the core details of the service provided, date started, length of contract, options for renewal, expiry date, break clauses and penalties for early termination, cost of consumables and charge to users. Such a simple audit would provide a really simple tool for introducing a category management approach to 'superloos'. Let some CX make a name for themselves as 'superloo procurement lead'. Let them baseline the costs and introduce a category management approach. Leading negotiations with the comparatively small number of providers shouldn't bring a flush.

Let's face it, if the LGA can't get a handle on this, are their aspirations for a new national procurement strategy with category leads really achievable?  Roll up, roll up, the cost of spending a penny could drop!

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