The UK public sector spends around £650 million a year on physical mail. Central Government departments such as The Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the DVLA are responsible for £250 million of this. They rely on accurate precise physical mailings, as well as digital communications. Experts Pitney Bowes explain the impact this has on the mailroom
Despite its drive to become Digital by Default, the Government has rightly recognised that there continues to be a strong requirement for physical mail. Similar to customer-focused private businesses, citizen-centric organisations communicate with their publics in the way the citizens themselves choose. This is through physical mail, digital communications – email or text messaging services for example – or a hybrid approach.
Public sector organisations therefore need to balance physical communications with digital communications, to make sure their citizens are informed and engaged.
With this in mind, the CCS, ESPO and YPO worked together to create the new UK Government Postal Services Framework (RM1063), to provide customers with a quick and easy route for buying postal goods and services. The Framework is designed to simplify the supplier selection process for public sector organisations balancing physical and digital communications.
There are a number of advantages for government agencies procuring through such frameworks, including:
- It removes the need to go through the full OJEU process every time requirements arises
- Less time and money is spent on the lengthy tender process
- It demystifies complex product and service portfolios
- It provides assurances of best value and benefits of economies of scale
- Services can be fast-tracked, with the flexibility to change requirements
- The peace-of-mind that comes from using selected, approved vendors and strong Service Level Agreements
- The reassurance that services are compliant with UK and European legislation
- Access to products and services agencies may not otherwise have considered
As well as these benefits, there is another significant advantage for public sector bodies in procuring through frameworks: access to innovation. As government agencies look to digital technology to empower citizens, reduce costs, minimise complexity and improve efficiencies, innovation becomes more important than ever before. Government frameworks eliminate the need for procuring agencies to sift through vast supplier product portfolios, as they look for suppliers to prove innovation in their products and services.
The UK Government Postal Services Framework (RM1063) is no exception, and in selecting suppliers for this framework – one of which is Pitney Bowes – the contracting authority revealed it was looking for those that could provide digital, web-based and electronic solutions, as well as physical mail. This requirement demands innovation in postal services, as vendors showcase their most innovative digital and physical offerings.
In procuring new postal services, organisations review inbound and outbound communications to improve precision and accuracy to create impact, reduce costs, generate revenues, improve services and drive performance. Many are looking to update and enhance their services, to gain access to fresh thinking and innovative ways of doing things differently, ultimately improving the digital and physical services they provide to their citizens. Organisations can update their inbound and internal processes with high performance digital and physical solutions such as:
- Mail Sortation systems that quickly sort inbound mail into department destinations, as used by one of Europe’s largest local authorities
- Package tracking which eliminates lost items, saving money and eliminating risk, as used by a major London borough and in some universities and hospitals
- Inbound digital mail room solutions which turn physical mail distribution into fast and effective digital processes
- Smart, efficient visitor tracking software such as SendSuite tracking, improving management of guests coming into the organisation
Public sector organisations can also refresh their outbound processes through the framework, with access to innovative solutions which enable them to:
- Create automated onsite and offsite, physical and digital, hybrid mail document processes
- Integrate existing document workflow software directly into Intelligent mailroom insertion solutions, as several UK councils are doing
- Install multi-carrier postage systems to maximise cost and time savings when using different carriers such as Royal Mail and TNT
- Improve their monitoring of postage expenditure across different franking machines, directly to desktops