Broker Heath Lambert is advising on initiative to reduce insurance costs

Heath Lambert is helping district councils and national parks across the South West of England to develop a consortium to purchase insurance cover.

Historically, each authority has acted individually but recent funding from the South West Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership has allowed the authorities to work together to reduce the cost of insurance procurement.

The consortium is working to establish a framework which will make the procurement process for each local authority quicker and cheaper, as well as offering the same benefits to insurance companies.

By reducing costs for insurers, the consortium is looking to achieve significant premium savings and enhanced cover over the framework’s four year lifespan.

Heath Lambert is acting as insurance adviser to support the lead procurement officer and Teignbridge District Council are acting as Procurement Managers.

Teignbridge District Council and two other District Councils have already signed up to the scheme, with more expected to sign-up once long term agreements expire.

Heath Lambert head of the public sector unit Peter Bristow said: “This is the first time that a consortium framework has been considered for local authority insurance procurement. Each member will be able to select the cover they require. There is no requirement to provide capital or agree to align renewal dates or LTAs with other consortium members, and any authority will be able to continue using the services of any insurance broker or adviser that they currently use.”

Cllr Alan Connett, chair of South West Councils and leader of Teignbridge Council said: “This project is an excellent example of how collaborative working can generate real efficiency savings which cut costs while improving services. At a time when all local councils are having to tighten their belts, its reassuring to know that there are ways like this to reduce costs while improving quality. Initial assessments suggest that the members of the project will reduce their yearly costs by more than double the total investment in this project, meaning much more bang for the buck.

“These savings will be achieved in real, tangible cost reductions for participating authorities, and in addition we are expecting to realise significant cost reductions for each authority through a more efficient procurement process.”

Mel Staton, corporate procurement officer at Teignbridge District Council said the tender process to select framework insurers will start shortly and the consortium framework will be in place for its members by 1 August 2010.

The framework will be open to District and Borough Councils, and National Park Authorities, in the South West region. The consortium is also examining whether the framework could be accessed by other authorities outside of the region.