Northamptonshire County Council
Why NCC chose CDS to improve brand and budget control across print and digital channels
Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) needed a single supplier to streamline their design and print arrangements to make the most of their buying power and achieve value for money, in the face of growing financial pressures.
CDS provided a turn-key design and print service which enabled them to produce designs consistent with their corporate brand, market testing for all printed products to deliver best value and improved purchasing, reporting and invoicing procedures.
A key benefit of the new arrangement is the provision of a CDS designer based within the Council’s Marketing and Communications Team, enabling early involvement at the conceptual stage.
The designer uses knowledge and experience of print and online communications to advise on available options to make savings or avoid incurring unnecessary costs.
NCC, reviewed their outsourced design arrangements and established they were using around 40 agencies.
This incurred a wide range of hourly fees and created real challenges to maintaining a consistent brand.
They also identified that their print buying practices were fragmented and did not make the most of the Council’s buying power or clearly demonstrate value for money.
In the face of growing financial pressures, NCC concluded that they needed a single supplier to streamline their design and print arrangements to ensure consistent delivery of their brand and leverage their buying power.
The Local Government Shared Service (LGSS), of which NCC is a member, ran a mini-competition under the CCS Framework Agreement for a single supplier capable of providing the complete end-to-end process to all members covering:
- Advice and consultancy
- Full design service - including conceptual, graphics and artwork
- Effective use of both digital and printed channels
- Provision of a wide range of print services - covering quick turnaround for Legal and Democratic departments through to strategic corporate campaigns
The Council was also looking for a supplier who could provide efficient online systems to work seamlessly with staff and elected members, their Marketing & Communications Team and Procurement and Finance Departments.
CDS won the contract and quickly implemented the service, providing an on-site designer based within the Council’s Marketing & Communications Team. The on-site designer acts as an extension of the Communications Team, enabling early engagement in projects and campaigns from the conceptual stage.
This approach allows us to fully understand the Council’s communication goals, audience and lifecycle and provide input into strategic campaigns. Examples include the award winning* ‘Grow Together. Foster a Child’ campaign, which saw a 36.6% increase in the number of enquiries from prospective foster carers compared with the same period in the previous year.
The CDS solution protects the Council’s brand, ensuring the correct use of its graphic devices, friendly modern font, strong bands of colour and powerful images of ‘real people.’
This enabled the Council to make maximum use of their corporate identity, including branding support for income generation activities.
CDS also provide expert technical advice and consultancy on producing print and online communications that are fit for purpose, meet the objectives and offer best value for money.
CDS’ online systems enables us to efficiently market test all print requirements to make the best use of the Council’s buying power. Strategic audits are used to identify opportunities to further streamline communications, eliminate duplication and save money.
Since CDS implemented this service, the Council has been able to improve brand control, prevent unauthorised design and print and accurately record spending. The Council reports significant savings across all publications and consistently over 95% customer satisfaction.
The Local Government Shared Service (LGSS) is one of the largest public sector shared services ventures of its kind in the UK, wholly owned by Northamptonshire County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Milton Keynes Council.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.
Our partnership with CDS helps us to ensure that all design and print work is consistently of a high quality and provides the council with good value for money. We find CDS to be flexible, accessible and responsive to our needs.
Simon Deacon, Head of Communications and Marketing
Northamptonshire County Council
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