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Proving Services FAQs

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. Who are 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.

Benefits include:

  • 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.
  • Conference ticket - a complimentary ticket to an annual conference. .
  • 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 into 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. As a not-for-profit organisation, any surplus is ploughed back into the Association and used to further improve services to members.

5. What are the Research Groups?

ADEPT local authority members have the opportunity to take part in and benefit from the Future Highways Research Group. The group, attended by sector leaders, offers opportunities to debate, design, develop, test and share innovative solutions to prevailing and emerging challenges in the highways sector.

It also provides access to Proving Services’ Value Analyser TM toolkit and methodology, enabling members to undertake self-assessment reviews at whole service or function level, with benchmarking information available, if required.  For example, authorities can self-assess the whole service and benchmark their performance against peer authorities, and/or assess individual functions such as Streetlighting or Winter Maintenance. These assessments clearly identify and prioritise opportunities for improvement.

In addition, members have access to quarterly training sessions with Proving Services and access to support via telephone and email. Detailed scoring guides are also provided for whole service reviews.

The groups are:

  • Future Highways Research Group – already established and extended to all ADEPT local authority members in autumn 2018.
  • Future Waste & Resources Research Group – embryonic; currently focusing on benchmarking.

For further details please contact Andy Perrin, Director at Proving Services, at [email protected] or 07400 161111.

Figure 2: Research Club activities


6. How has FHRG developed?

The Future Highways Research Group membership has doubled in size in the last five years and there are now 35 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 review the flyer to find out 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 review the flyer 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 is the Strategic Options Analyser toolkit?

The Strategic Options Analyser toolkit is a powerful, strategic tool, free for ADEPT members, and the first of its kind for the sector. It is designed to support the analysis and prioritisation of future strategic initiatives. The toolkit is used to create a route map of business changes towards an authority’s strategic outcomes. You can find out more about the toolkit here.

11. What are the costs of membership?

Associate 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.
  • Complimentary ticket to annual conference.

Full Membership

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

12. What are the objectives?

The objectives for our partnership (FHRG & ADEPT) is to:

  1. Create value added services for members
  2. Demonstrate the value of membership to existing members
  3. Attract new members and retain existing ones
  4. 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.

13. Who do I contact for further information?

Please contact Hannah Bartram, Chief Operating Officer at ADEPT via [email protected] or call 07872 013707 or Andy Perrin, Director at Proving Services via [email protected] or call 07400 161111.

You can also take a look at the flyer for further information.

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