Founded in 1850, The Royal School, Wolverhampton, has a long and proud history of educational excellence. To fully utilise its capacity, the decision was taken to become a Free School. With its impressive heritage and exceptional on-site facilities, the school’s attraction is enormous. Since its transition to a Free School in 2016, pupil numbers have more than doubled.
During this period of great change, the school faced several major projects. Director of Finance & Services, Jo Phillips, and her team, faced a staggering volume of work in order to keep pace with developments. When she heard about Auditel from a mutual contact, Jo realised their services could offer the perfect solution.
After meeting with consultant, John Wardle, Jo was assured of two things: firstly, that Auditel could work swiftly and independently with minimum impact on her time and resource. Secondly, that, thanks to Auditel’s unique network of specialists, multiple projects could be run and completed simultaneously, in parallel to the work that her own team were completing.
“Working with Auditel means that my team can focus on core activities, confident in Auditel’s abilities to progress other projects,” said Jo. “This hands-off approach means we can receive recommendations and make decisions with confidence.”
Minimum disruption, maximum benefit
To review Electricity and Gas, John enlisted the services of Auditel Energy expert, Simon Gibson. Simon conducted a thorough review of existing contracts, including the terms of the agreements and historical charges. New tenders were then created and taken out to the open market. At this stage, Auditel consultants use their significant experience to leverage best-fit solutions for their clients. New suppliers were appointed, and Automated Meter Reading units installed – this negated the need for monthly manual readings and eliminated estimated invoices. Ongoing monthly reports detail actual costs versus budgets and identify any reasons for high/low usage. Bill checking and resolution ensures that energy consumption is managed and punitive charges for ‘over capacity use’ are avoided. This allows The Royal School to have much improved visibility of a tighter control over spend.
As refurbishment continues and The Royal School’s energy needs evolve, Auditel continue to advise on any concerns and manage contractors for the benefit of the school. This includes liaison with the main building contractor over new supplies, meter installations and the removal of obsolete units.
“John and his team brought with them detailed knowledge of our specific needs, the marketplace and the tender process,” said Jo.
Critical to day-to-day school life, The Royal School’s fleet of printers were a key point of concern for Jo. Utilising his expertise and knowledge of the market, John ran a bespoke tender and was able to drastically reduce costs by achieving the best market rate with a new and more suitable supplier. The existing fleet of 37 machines was rationalised down to 24 brand new units which were much more suited to the school’s needs. By replacing the fleet with more efficient models with reduced colour usage, The Royal School saw an initial saving of 41%. John also introduced and project managed a Paper Cut Managed Print technology that will reduce usage by at least 20% and further improve annual savings.
For landline and mobile telecoms, John worked with fellow Auditel telecoms specialist, Rob Andrew. Together the pair were able to secure both significant savings and a marked improvement in customer service levels. In addition, having meticulously reviewed historical transactions, John and Rob negotiated and claimed a refund of incorrect charges in the sum of £3,500, much to the delight of the school.
“For my team, the additional resource and the peace of mind that work can be passed over without the need for micro-management is as valuable, if not more so, than the savings achieved,” explained Jo.
Another notoriously complex area for The Royal School was their fleet of minibuses. John terminated the existing leases and ensured that the end of contract damage clauses were handled correctly and at no detriment to the school. Then, due to increased pupil numbers, John prepared and ran a new tender for three vehicles. Legal weight and capacity limits as well as issues around D1 Drivers were included to guarantee that all of The Royal School’s legal and practical needs were met.
At the time of analysis, the school’s catering suppliers were extremely well managed in house and a review confirmed that favourable terms had already been negotiated. Through a summary review, Simon secured a small annual saving and provided validation of full market pricing.
A long-term partnership built on trust
The ongoing partnership between Auditel and The Royal School allows the opportunity to reshape and bring more order to certain key cost centres. At the same time, by using increasing volume, improved profits and a higher calibre of suppliers can be achieved. By implementing this strategy, Auditel are able to support Jo and her team as they concentrate on the rapid rise in core pupil numbers that, naturally, demands changes to teaching and operational processes.
As a testament to the ongoing trust and value placed in Auditel by The Royal School, Jo recently requested that John undertake reviews on several more cost centres including the upgrade or implementation of a new, site-wide VoIP telephone system.