Our Clients: Nottingham High School
Nottingham High School
Nottingham High School is an academic community where intelligent children from a wide variety of social backgrounds are given the maximum opportunity to strive for the highest standards.
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Nottingham High School has a long relationship with Auditel. When Stuart Ramsey, the new Director of Finance and Operations, joined the School in 2016, it was his first role in education. He needed to be confident that the cost base was appropriate and realistic, and he knew that Auditel, who had been in place with the School for several years, would be able to provide up-to-date advice.
“I was surprised at just how far into the cost base Auditel could look. It isn’t just utilities – it’s waste disposal, mobile and landline costs, and even our transport fleet. It goes across a whole array.
That’s particularly reassuring when you’re someone new to a business and you want to make sure that the cost base is buttoned down. Moving forward, I know that we have a good platform to review those costs on an ongoing basis.”
Stuart Ramsey, Director of Finance and Operations
“In the past, Auditel had primarily worked on utility bills, and I could see that was a significant proportion of the School’s budget. I asked them to continue with that, but also to help me understand what other areas of the cost base they could support me on.”
- Auditel looks after contract negotiation, supplier management and invoice reconciliation for 10 electricity supplies and 12 gas supplies for the School.
- Eleven months before their latest gas contract renewals, Auditel advised the School that the market was at a nine-year low and they should consider going to tender early. As anticipated, the markets rose sharply a few months later. Thanks to their advice, Auditel saved the School around £70,000.
- Auditel resolved two gas billing issues, gaining compensation of £2,500 for the School.
“The motivation is not to have a big surplus for the sake of it. There are just over 100 children from year 7 up to year 13 on bursaries, and this costs over a million pounds a year. Therefore, the higher the surplus, the more bursaries we can offer that give free places to children whose parents don’t have the means to pay the school fees. It’s a great outcome.”
The savings have also enabled the School to reinvest into the fabric of the buildings, and systems and processes. For example, they have installed cashless tills to improve flow through the restaurant, and classrooms will be fitted with smart projectors. In addition, because the cost base could be managed, there was less pressure on increasing school fees.
Auditel consultants Laurence Fitch and Ruth Dawe quickly identified with Stuart and his team a number of cost categories which would benefit from review. A proposal was submitted and agreed which detailed the areas to be looked at and the objectives for each. Using their experience and enlisting specialist knowledge from within the Auditel network, Laurence and Ruth put together a project team which would have the resource and essential skills needed to deliver the projects for Nottingham High School.
There are several routes that bring the children to school and take them home. As well as looking at the cost of the service, Auditel were able to look at optimising the routes themselves. Through taking all routes to tender, Auditel identified savings of approximately £24,000.
They also recognised that it was un-economic for some buses to return to their base during the day, so these were used as sports ground shuttles. This further reduced costs by at least £10,000 pa.
- Auditel were asked to report and make recommendations on fixed line and mobile communications, the telephone system, maintenance, data and broadband services. Through consolidating supplies and adding a flexible contract, immediate savings of 42% were made. Further savings included 40% on maintenance, 30% through restructuring the data and broadband services, and 35% on mobile communications.
- A new telephone system was required, with specific requirements for functionality and futureproofing. Auditel managed the entire tendering process, including assisting with supplier selection and implementation.
“Our respect for Auditel’s abilities is key to our strong partnership
I found them [Auditel] very straight forward, and clear and concise in explanations about what they can do, and what they can’t do. We just don’t have time to waste with sales people. Their approach filled me with confidence because I could respect what they were saying, and trust them. That’s vital in the foundation of a good partnership.”
Stuart Ramsey, Director of Finance and Operations
Auditel conducted site visits and analysis for six months to understand exactly how, when and why the School use energy.
Savings of up to £60,000 were identified; achievable through installation of upgraded equipment, more efficient lighting, and improved operational issues.
Auditel conducted a site survey which identified that a large reduction in water use could be achieved by fitting passive infrared sensor units in the boys’ urinals. This resulted in a 42% reduction in water consumption and annual savings of approximately £14,400.
Auditel identified savings of £20,000 pa (57%) through a competitive tender process, by better matching collections to school term times and by understanding VAT implications.
Rising costs set against shrinking budgets highlight the need to make every penny count, yet many are missing out on opportunities to make valuable savings and instead, continue to pay far too much for essential services such as energy, telecoms, catering, waste management and school supplies.
Researching and continually monitoring supplier markets is a laborious task. Finding cheaper prices may be easy, but choosing a supplier who will both meet your financial needs and offer consistently high levels of service now and into the future requires specialist knowledge and expertise.
Working with Auditel
Auditel’s independent cost management specialists help the education sector to make better, more informed procurement decisions, saving them money year after year and freeing up funds that can be better spent on improvements to the school facilities and pupil experience.