1. Why has ADEPT entered into a partnership with Proving Services?
ADEPT and Proving Services have entered into an exclusive partnership to offer membership of best practice research groups and benchmarking services to ADEPT local authority members. The collaboration enables ADEPT local authority members to access the benefits of Proving’s tools and services at no cost, or at a considerably reduced rate.
2. What is Proving Services?
Proving Services is a small research organisation based at Cranfield University, in Bedfordshire and was established in 2003 by two former directors of the University.
The organisation has worked extensively to develop sector-leading, research-based tools and processes for the evaluation of strategic options, innovations and business change, value for money and value chain relationships. These tools and approaches are used extensively across the private and public sector.
Proving Services established the Future Highways Research Club, now known as the Future Highways Research Group (FHRG) in 2014 as a forum for sector thought leaders to share knowledge and experiences and identify, develop and assess innovations with the potential to transform the sector. The FHRG applies academic research frameworks and methods.
Its current research programme is captured in Figure 1:
3. What are the benefits for ADEPT local authority members?
The exclusive partnership between ADEPT and Proving Services has been designed to offer significant benefits to ADEPT local authority members.
- Software toolkits & research - access to a range of software toolkits, best practice and unique, evidence-based research papers for free, or at a significantly reduced cost.
- Research Groups – at the present time, the opportunity to take part in and benefit from the Future Highways Research Group.
- Assessment - The annual membership fee provides an independent, annually conducted VfM Assessment, as well as access to the anonymised VfM benchmark data.
- Influence - the chance to support strategic transformation, the implementation of sector-based innovation and deploy continuous value for money improvements.
- Confer, collaborate & share - the opportunity to take part in, shape the research and benefit from attendance at the quarterly meetings of the FHRG at Cranfield University, a forum for discussion of the sector challenges and innovations.
- Financial savings for local authorities – combined membership of the FHRG and VfM benchmarking club represents a significant (33%) annual saving.
4. What is the benefit to ADEPT?
By entering the partnership with Proving Services, ADEPT will be taking on a number of new responsibilities. ADEPT will receive a fee of £750 for each local authority member who signs up. 10% of any revenues generated from assignments for non-FHRG members are also remitted to ADEPT. As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus is invested into the Association and used to improve services to members.
5. What is the Future Highways Research Group?
The Future Highways Research Group (FHRG) is a forum for local authority highways service leaders to share knowledge and experiences and develop innovations that could transform the highways sector through the application of academic research frameworks and methods.
The FHRG offers opportunities to debate, design, develop and test innovative solutions to prevailing and emerging challenges in the highways sector.
The main aim is to give ADEPT local authority members the chance to support strategic transformation, drive the implementation of sector-based innovation and deploy continuous value for money improvements.
For further details please contact Andy Perrin, Director at Proving Services, at [email protected] or 07400 161111.
6. How has FHRG developed?
The Future Highways Research Group membership has doubled in size in the last five years and there are now 38 members, both county and unitary councils. Members must be directors, service commissioners or heads of service, and their host authority must be a member of ADEPT.
7. How have the research groups developed?
Working within a robust academic framework, the FHRG’s pioneering 20+local authority members have successfully hosted 19 research initiatives, conducted seven concepts trials and completed four sector surveys.
Please see the prospectus for more information on the research pedigree.
8. What is the VfM assessment?
The combined Future Highways Research Group and VfM Benchmarking Club will include an annual, independently conducted and certified value for money assessment of highways services.
To date, the research based VfM assessment has been designed to provide detailed performance analysis in five key dimensions. From 2021, two new optional dimensions will be added to recognise the emergence of the sustainability agenda and best practice collaboration as critical drivers of good value for money.
Please view the prospectus to find out more about the VfM assessment and what is included.
9. What is Value Analyser?
Value Analyser is a powerful, yet simple to use, software tool developed by Proving Services. It enables local authorities to identify and prioritise opportunities to improve value for money through cost savings, further income generation, productivity gains and better outcomes. Value Analyser focuses on the five key dimensions of value for money as illustrated in Figure 3.
For each dimension, the tool measures performance against a series of ‘factors’, that is the measures that are typically important to that service area for each dimension. Under the Economy dimension, for example, a key factor would be ‘Staff Costs.’ The factor sets are developed by the relevant research club members.
Value Analyser considers both the current performance and our confidence (evidence to support that performance) for each factor in calculating the value for money score.
Figure 3: The Proving Value for Money Framework
Once an assessment has been completed in Value Analyser, a number of reports are easily generated to illustrate the current value for money position and, if desired, how that compares to other authorities as illustrated in Figure 4:
Figure 4: Example Value for Money Benchmarking Plot
10. What are the costs of membership?
Associate membership of each of the Research Groups is free to ADEPT local authority members.
- All local authority members of ADEPT are enrolled automatically as associate members. While associate members are not able to attend Future Highways Research Group meetings, they are able to access key benefits from each group.
- Free access to research findings, analytic tools (except Value Analyser – please see question 9 for information), datasets and thought leadership articles available on the ADEPT website.
Full membership of the combined FHRG and the VfM Benchmarking Club has an all-in annual fee of £4,950 + VAT. This represents a significant annual saving of 33% for combined membership.
The annual membership fee provides unrestricted access to the research outputs of the FHRG and will also include an independent, annually conducted VfM Assessment, as well as access to the anonymised VfM benchmark data.
All local authority members of ADEPT can become full members of an individual Research Group. Full membership gives the same benefits as associate membership but also the ability to:
- Attend and participate in all Research Group meetings.
- Assist in setting the research agenda.
- Act as a lead pioneer for a research theme
11. What are the objectives?
The objectives for our partnership (FHRG & ADEPT) are to:
- Create value added services for members.
- Demonstrate the value of membership to existing members.
- Attract new members and retain existing ones.
- Continue to position ADEPT / FHRG as the leaders in innovation in the sector.
In December 2020, ADEPT and Proving Services combined and enhanced the Future Highways Research Group (FHRG) and the Value for Money Benchmarking Club to create a single research and benchmarking membership with an all-in annual fee of £4,950 + VAT. This represents a significant annual saving of 33% for combined membership. The annual membership fee provides unrestricted access to the research outputs of the FHRG and will also include an independent, annually conducted VfM Assessment, as well as access to the anonymised VfM benchmark data.
12. Who do I contact for further information?
You can also take a look at our prospectus for further information.