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ISSUE 2 | DECEMBER 2007
GPC Visa celebrates its 10th birthday
Keep cardholder spend clearly in sight
Leading the way
B&Q implements an electronic VAT invoicing solution
Welcome to our second issue of GPC News. We received some fantastic feedback on our first issue in June and hope you continue to find GPC News informative and helpful in running your GPC Visa programmes. GPC Visa celebrated its 10th birthday in October, a key milestone and a great achievement. Key areas of the public sector, such as local government and higher education, are growing at pace, which proves that GPC Visa still has the potential to grow and deliver even more exciting savings and results for the public sector. Local government, which includes schools, has seen an impressive 238% increase in annual spend on GPC Visa with higher education seeing a 175% growth in GPC Visa schemes. Barclaycard Business has recently been successful in securing Framework Agreement status through OGCbuying.solutions to provide Acquiring Services for the public sector. This is great news for us and also for you as Barclaycard Business can now provide you with the ability to make and take payments through one supplier. For further information please go to pages 18–21. Please feel free to use our dedicated email email@example.com to forward your comments, feedback and any topics you would like us to cover next year. We have also uploaded a pdf version of this issue on our website www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/gpcnews Your business is very important to us and we thank you for your continued custom. I wish you all a successful 2008.
Denise Leleux Commercial Director Commercial Cards and Payment Solutions
GPC Visa celebrates its 10th birthday
4-5 6-7 8 9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16 17 18-19 20 21 22-23 24
Making the most of GPC Visa
We show you how
Have you seen the awards?
Announcing June and September winners
e-Procurement and GPC Visa
Hand in hand
Finding your perfect partner
Reviewing suppliers driving greater efficiencies
Argos Business Solutions
Are you getting your discount?
A day in the life of…
How busy is your GPC Visa?
B&Q and VGIS
Leading the way
Business Travel Show
See you there
A new deal
OGCbuying.solutions announce Acquiring framework agreement
Taking card payments
The benefits and how we can help
ePDQ - a whole new world
Open up your website to online payments
News and account health check
Website, contact details and other useful information
Happy1 Birthday 0th
Now in its 10th year, the Government Procurement Card (GPC Visa) has successfully generated in excess of £470 million in cumulative savings for the public purse.
aunched in 1997 following a fully compliant tender process, the GPC Visa programme offers one of the easiest ways for the UK public sector to meet its efficiency targets. Today there are now more than 108,000 GPC Visa users and over 900 active programmes around the country. With spend on GPC Visa to date exceeding £2.5 billion and savings in excess of £470 million*, there has never been a more compelling reason for those involved in procuring goods and services in a public sector environment to take serious note of its potential. David Harrison, Vice-President, Visa Commercial, Visa Europe, talks about some of the ways in which the UK public sector has been harnessing this essential procurement tool to save money and improve frontline service delivery. GPC Visa enables users and organisations to negotiate discounts and faster delivery of goods and services so that savings can be redeployed into other areas of the organisation. At the same time it makes back office processes more efficient and less time consuming, freeing staff from unnecessary bureaucracy and paperwork and allowing them to focus on frontline service delivery. Viewed in this way, GPC Visa becomes a cornerstone of public sector efficiency. And, because it is so flexible and versatile, it can be used by any size of organisation, either as part of a wider efficiency drive or as the primary agent of change.
How is it being used?
Over the past year or so, the strongest growth in GPC Visa usage has been experienced in the local government and schools sectors. Here the number of cards has increased from over 5,500 cards to just under 15,000 cards – an increase of over 165%, while the number of transactions has increased by an astounding 327% from 161,382 to 689,195. The central, civil government and defence sectors, where GPC Visa was first introduced have experienced steady growth, both in the numbers of organisations using GPC Visa and in the transactions being placed through the schemes. The departments in this sector represent 78% of the GPC Visa programme and some of the schemes are nearly 10 years old, so on this basis a growth rate of over 13% in this sector is impressive, proving the benefits of GPC Visa are compelling and long term. Travel and office stationery continue to account for the largest percentage of GPC Visa spend, followed by hotels and accommodation, general retail and wholesale, computer equipment and services and building materials. However, it is anticipated that the range of products and services bought will continue to develop as public sector organisations identify more and more innovative ways to use GPC Visa to meet their purchasing requirements. In addition, GPC Visa continues to make a significant contribution to the reduction of waste. By saving an average of 10 sheets of A4 paper per transaction, it is estimated to have reduced the carbon output of the UK public sector by nearly 150 tonnes†.
*Savings calculated using the National Audit Office (NAO) approved figure of £28 per transaction. †38,785,880 sheets of A4 paper have been saved over the past 10 years. This figure has been calculated on the basis of the energy required to create the 38.78 million sheets of paper and does not account for any of the carbon savings associated with the transporting, printing or disposal of the paper.
What does the future hold?
As a result of programmes like GPC Visa the UK public sector is well on the way to reaching its target of £21.5bn of efficiency savings by 2007/8. However, although GPC Visa usage has risen dramatically over the last 10 years, the capacity for growth remains high. One thing is certain, given the scale of efficiencies that GPC Visa has contributed to date, GPC Visa is the most sustainable and successful procurement solution in use by government today.
GPC Visa named by Office of Government Commerce as one of the best commercial procurement deals.
In a recent communication from the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to senior officials across the public sector, GPC Visa has been identified as one of 12 commercial procurement arrangements which should be adopted because of the strong value for money that it represents. David Harrison, Vice-President, Visa Commercial, Visa Europe, says: “After more than a decade, public sector confidence in GPC Visa has reached new heights. The fact that the OGC has decided to recommend it across government as one of a select number of commercial procurement arrangements is further evidence that it has become an essential ‘best practice’ tool to achieve public sector efficiency gains. With over 108,000 cards in circulation and cumulative savings to the taxpayer exceeding £470 million it has reached full maturity and is suitable for small public sector organisations as well as the largest government departments.” Peter Fanning, Former Acting Chief Executive of OGC, says: “It is OGC’s role to help the public sector get better value on goods and services across a wide range of categories. We believe the time has come for all sectors of government to ensure that their procurement spend is through the very best frameworks so that they can take advantage of the government’s collective buying power. GPC Visa is one such example, and for those in procurement roles it is not a case of whether they should be using it but why they are not.” David Harrison Vice-President, Visa Commercial Visa Europe
19.7 61.2 122.3 208.4 304.5 404.8 527 676.1 .3
600 ANNUAL SPEND (£ MILLIONS)
100 50 0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 YEAR
This graph demonstrates just how rapidly the programme has been accepted by the public sector and that, despite the programme moving into its 10th year, there is no let up in its rate of growth. In July 2006, the cumulative spend on GPC Visa passed the £2 billion milestone, through nearly four million transactions.
For further information on GPC Visa, visit www.purchasingcard.info or www.ogcbuyingsolutions.gov.uk
Making the most of GPC Visa
Cashing in on time savings
The time savings generated by GPC programmes and other e-procurement programmes are often referred to as ‘soft’ savings to distinguish them from the price savings that are made from the use of contracts. It is often incorrectly assumed that time savings can only become hard, cashable savings if an organisation is prepared to reduce the number of staff working in an organisation.
educing the number of staff in an organisation can be difficult with e-procurement initiatives because technology such as GPC Visa will reduce the time taken to do frequent, repetitive, administrative tasks by many different staff across the organisation. So whilst using GPC Visa has made staff more efficient, it is difficult to see how this time can be translated into cashable savings because the time savings are spread across so many staff members. We are all well aware of the £28 financial savings attributed to moving spend from traditional paper invoices to GPC Visa but how else does GPC Visa help? Sometimes, the time savings generated through the use of GPC Visa may be significant enough to merit a reduction in staff in a large organisation. This is because the use of GPC Visa is making a significant time saving over the previous process. There is such a high volume of work concentrated in one department that it becomes possible to deliver the same service at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. However, this is simply not an option in many public sector organisations, where the time savings are not concentrated in single departments. In many organisations, the amount of time savings generated can add up to several
full-time posts but these savings are spread across staff within the organisation and cannot reasonably be consolidated. So how can these small, diverse time savings be made into cashable savings without reducing the number of staff who work in an organisation? If an accounts payable function has two permanent administrative staff whose workload is now reduced as a result of the organisation using GPC Visa, it may be possible for these staff to be used in lieu of temporary staff within the organisation. If each of the staff member’s time saved from GPC Visa is equivalent to 25 days of work over a year, then GPC Visa is effectively providing the organisation with 25 days’ worth of ‘free’ temporary staff. This free additional human resource can be deployed elsewhere within the organisation to reduce the usage of other departments temporary staff, or can be used to perform additional duties in their current role, thus delivering a nil-cost increase in productivity. Organisations who want to make savings in this manner must be prepared to take three steps in order to recover the savings: firstly they must be confident how much time staff members will save through the use of GPC; secondly, they must
be prepared to work with department managers to help them redeploy the time savings instead of ordering temporary staff; and thirdly they must be prepared to monitor the spend activity of departments who are ordering temporary administrative staff. This may appear demanding, but is likely that the small example given would generate a £5,000 saving. At a time when many public sector organisations are looking at their use of temporary staff, linking the time savings from a GPC programme might be an excellent way of delivering cashable efficiencies against a significant area of spend. Ian Makgill, Ticon UK Ltd.
Ticon is a public sector procurement consultancy, which specialises in using Visa and GPC in public sector organisations. Ticon works with public sector organisations to implement GPC and to increase the effectiveness of their existing programmes. For more information on Ticon’s skills and services, please visit www.ticon.uk.com
NWCE Case Study
Councils in the North West gain cost-saving confidence from NWCE and Barclaycard Business link up
he North West Centre of Excellence (NWCE) is one of the nine Regional Centres for Excellence (RCEs) that were set up as lead change agencies by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to support local authorities in delivering efficiencies and service improvements. The NWCE, funded by DCLG, covers 47 local authorities in the North West spanning from Cheshire to Cumbria. Following the rollout of the Government Procurement Card (GPC Visa) on a national level by the Office of Government Commerce, the organisation was keen to implement something similar which covered the entire North West region. The aim was to encourage greater efficiencies and cost savings specifically with council purchasing and invoicing. Neil Hind, eProcurement Manager for NWCE was tasked with selecting a GPC Visa supplier,
spent on administration. Delegates were also provided with briefing notes and advice on how to cascade the news of the programme down to each of the council members. Neil Hind explained that the GPC Visa scheme was not obligatory, “We wanted to encourage the councils to implement the card by communicating and demonstrating its benefits. What really brought the card scheme to life however were the numerous examples and case studies Barclaycard Business were able to draw upon from their work with other councils. This really helped our member councils to understand how it would work for them.”
Accessing all areas
The response from NWCE councils to date has been very positive. Many of them are already utilising the Barclaycard Business staff resources to help them write business cases on how they can implement the GPC Visa. Most commonly, the card is used for hotel, travel and day-to-day expenses but the NWCE are keen to encourage councils to look at different areas where the cards could help them buy more efficiently. “Already we have one council investigating GPC Visa use in leisure centres as staff do not have easy access to finance systems and purchases are often made in the evening and at weekends.” Neil also reports that other councils have suggested the cards are introduced into school canteens enabling staff to purchase bulk food with the card. “Barclaycard Business staff working on the ground with the councils has really given our members confidence. Rather than feeling like they are starting from scratch, they are able to tap into the experience and industry knowledge of the Barclaycard Business staff and use it to their advantage, helping them to gain momentum quicker and ensure their businesses cases are viable and directed at the right audiences.” Day-to-day management of the GPC Visa scheme is managed totally by Barclaycard Business, enabling the NWCE to focus on other business areas and projects. Barclaycard Business feedback the progress of the GPC Visa rollout formally on a monthly basis and provide more regular updates on an ad hoc basis. Neil Hind continues, “There is considerable pressure on all councils to reduce costs and increase efficiencies and, therefore, the sizeable savings a Barclaycard Business GPC Visa can offer is very much welcomed by us. To date, the experience has been hassle free and will certainly allow our staff to direct their time and money into other worthwhile areas.”
“We carried out a basic evaluation of a number of suppliers and invited two of them, one of which was Barclaycard Business, to present their offering to eight Local Authorities who were part of the project team. Barclaycard Business won hands down because it demonstrated it had the scale and infrastructure to fully support the NWCE throughout the process.” As part of the package, Barclaycard Business assigned members of their staff to work in the region and help each of the councils implement the GPC Visa. “It was evident through Barclaycard Business’s work with other councils that it offered a dedicated approach to suit the needs of each individual council regardless of its size and profitability. Since we deal with councils both large and small, we wanted peace of mind that all would be treated with equal importance and Barclaycard Business certainly assured us of this.”
Communicating the benefits
In order to communicate the NWCE’s plans for the rollout of the GPC Visa amongst the regions, Barclaycard Business organised a launch event that all council Chief Executives were invited to, with around 60 delegates attending. Barclaycard Business had calculated that by using the GPC Visa in place of paper based purchase orders and invoices, NWCE councils could save an average of £33 per purchase. A presentation was given at the event by Barclaycard Business and VISA Europe explaining how the card scheme could help each council make these cost savings and also save their staff a considerable amount of time
GPC recognition awards
First winners announced at Procurement Solutions
Procurement Solutions in June was an exciting time for Barclaycard Business, not only were we the only bank to be supporting GPC Visa but we launched our GPC recognition awards.
e invited the winners down to London to receive their certificates and we were delighted to welcome David Harrison from Visa and Jim Parkinson from OGCbuying.solutions to present our first ‘Delivering a Difference’ awards. In recognition of the hard work and dedication organisations and individuals play in delivering procurement efficiencies using their GPC Visa programmes, these awards are a small way in which we can thank our customers for their continued support and custom. The awards are supported by both Visa Commercial and OGCbuying.solutions, who recognise the true dedication that goes into running a successful GPC Visa programme. Richard Gould, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, says: “It is great that we’ve been recognised for the hard work we put in to getting the best value for money for the public. We are always working to improve our efficiency savings, and knowing that we are doing well in this area is great news, not just for the service but for the people of South Yorkshire.”
June 2007 winners
Award 1 Innovative Spend David Reynolds Charity Commission for Temporary Staff Award 2
Providing Best Value to Central Government and Devolved Assemblies Lisa Gibson
National Assembly for Wales Award 3
Providing Best Value to the Health Sector C Belcher
Medical Research Council Award 4
Providing Best Value to Local Government George Wallace
London Borough of Tower Hamlets Award 5
Providing Best Value to Emergency Services P Alsop
South Yorkshire Fire & Civil Defence
September 2007 winners
Award 1 MoD Award 2 Providing Best Value to Central Government and Devolved Assemblies Richard Pinder Providing Best Value to the Education Sector Mr D Seymor
Cornwall College Award 3
From left to right Above: Steve Banwell (Barclaycard Business), Richard Gould (South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue), Jim Parkinson (OGCbuying.solutions) and David Harrison (Visa Europe) Below: Steve Banwell (Barclaycard Business), David Reynolds (The Charity Commission) and David Harrison (Visa Europe)
Providing Best Value to the Health Sector Mr KG Davies
Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust Award 4
Providing Best Value to Local Government Mr Peter Cox
Northamptonshire County Council Award 5
Providing Best Value to Emergency Services Mr D Coulls
e-Procurement and GPC Visa
Can e-Procurement and GPC Visa work together?
It is not uncommon for GPC Visa to be seen as a supplementary technology that is used to support a large, centralised e-procurement solution.
PC Visa is even sometimes viewed as the technology that will ‘mop up’ any spend that can’t be driven through the e-procurement solution. However, GPC Visa can be very effectively used as an integral part of any e-procurement solution and in many cases will provide added functionality and benefits. GPC Visa can be integrated within these e-procurement systems to make the process of engaging with suppliers easier. Because GPC Visa can act as a common payment and invoicing mechanism, it is possible to bring any Visa-enabled supplier with an email address into an e-procurement system. Additionally, suppliers who are able to provide Level 3 invoice data through their acquiring systems are able to provide the buyer with line item detail on a transaction, which can be matched with order data generated in the e-procurement system. Even when a supplier provides only Level 1 data, this information can be matched with the order data generated in the e-procurement system to provide high-quality procurement data. By providing such detailed spend data automatically, GPC Visa provides the usual high levels of clarity provided in e-procurement solutions, without causing additional manual intervention at the payment stage.
Many organisations who use GPC also use other e-procurement technologies to help them gain visibility of their spend. Usually these e-procurement systems feature catalogue buying technologies, and whilst these systems can be highly rewarding, the task of making them work properly can be demanding for any organisation. One of the most time-consuming tasks is supplier engagement, which is also critical to the success of implementing a catalogue system. Unless a buying organisation provides a large proportion of a supplier’s business, individual suppliers can be ambivalent about joining an e-procurement system. If the supplier is not dependent on the buying organisation’s business it can be difficult to persuade them to join an e-procurement initiative. The result is that many e-procurement implementations are linked to too few suppliers, hampering their effectiveness and restricting the opportunity for savings.
“It is important to understand that working with GPC Visa doesn’t mean that you have to hand out plastic cards to staff members.”
Suppliers can be given card payment details which they retain and use every time an organisation sends them an
order, a practice known as embedding or lodging a card with a supplier. Alternatively, card details can be stored in an organisation’s e-procurement system and securely sent to suppliers when an order is placed. Procurement managers can then set up their own catalogue of goods or services to be purchased from the supplier on the system, or simply send orders through the organisation’s e-procurement system. Using this method, the supplier might never know that they’ve been adopted to an e-procurement system, since all they’ve had to do is confirm that they accept Visa and confirm the correct email address for receiving orders. It is easy to see that working with GPC Visa doesn’t mean that you have to hand out plastic cards to staff. In reality, organisations who are signing up to the GPC Visa contract are effectively signing up to the Visa payment network. When GPC Visa is viewed in this light, it is clear that it should not be viewed as an alternative to an e-procurement system, but as an enabling technology that can be an integral part of any e-procurement solution. Ian Makgill, Ticon UK Ltd.
Ticon is a public sector procurement consultancy, which specialises in using Visa and GPC in public sector organisations. Ticon works with public sector organisations to implement GPC and to increase the effectiveness of their existing programmes. For more information on Ticon’s skills and services, please visit www.ticon.uk.com
Greater efficiency and savings
How the GPC Visa can be used with pan-government procurement arrangements to drive greater efficiency and savings.
s Government departments await the changes that are hailed to follow the publication of the Government’s Transforming Government Procurement report, the GPC Visa has again been identified as a gem in the crown of public sector procurement. In a letter to all Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives, the GPC Visa has been highlighted by former OGC Chief Executive Peter Fanning, as one of 12 commercial arrangements that all Government departments should be using to accelerate efficiency savings. One component of the GPC Visa’s success is that over recent years it has become accepted by an increasing number of suppliers, from large corporations to Small and Mediums Enterprises (SMEs). GPC Visa really comes into its own when it is used to make payments for goods and services brought through existing pan-government framework agreements. Adding to the significant savings that can be secured by using collaborative procurement arrangements, the GPC Visa allows further efficiencies to be reaped at the payment stage. In line with its vision to help the public sector make savings of £1billion by 2010-11, OGCbuying.solutions, an Executive Agency of the Office of Government Commerce, is championing the use of the GPC Visa across the whole public sector. Establishing and managing a range of procurement arrangements, OGCbuying.solutions’ primary function is to bring together the public sector’s purchasing power in order to deliver savings to its customers. Customers benefit because buying through pre-tendered, EU compliant arrangements allows them to save time and associated procurement costs. They can be confident that they will receive excellent value for money because the prices they pay have been negotiated using the colossal buying power of the public sector. OGCbuying.solutions’ offering is split into two distinct areas; Catalist framework agreements and Managed Services. These encompass a series of product sub-categories as detailed below: Catalist framework agreements: • Information Technology • Consultancy Services • Resourcing Services • Business Solutions • Property Solutions • Payment Cards Managed Services: • Managed Telecommunications Service (Mts) • Government Secure Intranet (GSi) • eProcurement Solutions • Travel Services • Energy
Establishing and managing a range of procurement arrangements, OGCbuying.solutions’ primary function is to bring together the public sector’s purchasing power in order to deliver savings to its customers.
Greater efficiency and savings
The great news for GPC users is that whenever appropriate, customers can opt to pay for goods and services brought through these arrangements using their GPC Visa card. OGCbuying.solutions’ eCatalogue facilitates this by allowing customers to buy whatever it is they need, when they need it, making instant payment with GPC Visa. This route is a clear winner in terms of improving procurement efficiency. What’s more, the GPC Visa is also available in the form of a ‘lodge card’, which allows customers to provide a supplier with a card number, against which all orders, from any number of employees, can be charged. For frequent requirements such as stationery orders, this can significantly reduce paperwork but does not compromise control over spend because, as with all GPC Visa schemes, detailed management information is provided. As an ideal payment means for online procurement systems, the GPC Visa is compatible with OGCbuying.solutions’ eProcurement toolkit – a suite of services that enable the whole procurement process to be conducted online. Made up of eAuctions, eSourcing and Zanzibar (a public sector eMarketplace), the GPC Visa allows customers to heighten the savings potential of these innovative systems that are being adopted across the public sector. The eSourcing component of the toolkit was recently awarded an ‘EU Good Practice label’, based on a recommendation from the European eGovernment Awards consortium. The same tool won the Shared Services Category Award at the Government Computer Innovation Awards earlier in the year. Key advantages of these systems include reduced spend, costs and associated process time, adherence to best practice, a stronger negotiating position and improved supplier relationships. The GPC Visa complements this package of benefits by bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the payment
process – for both customers and suppliers. Travel is the third largest area of spend for the public sector. It is also one of the most susceptible to maverick spend. GPC Visa can help to manage travel buyers, cut down inappropriate spend and provide vital management information that can be analysed and used to develop robust travel policies. Furthermore, organisations can use GPC Visa in conjunction with OGCbuying.solutions’ Travel Services framework agreements, enabling them to make a much greater contribution to reducing the public sector’s annual travel spend which currently mounts to some £2.5 billion a year. The arrangements provide public sector business travellers with access to a comprehensive range of services including rail, air and ferry travel, hotel accommodation, conference facilities booking services and vehicle hire. As efficiency targets raise greater challenges for public sector procurers, organisations need to look for more creative ways to maximise savings. Coupling GPC Visa payments with other best practice procurement techniques is an easy to implement, quick-win solution.
The arrangements provide public sector business travellers with access to a comprehensive range of services including rail, air and ferry travel, hotel accommodation, conference facilities booking services and vehicle hire.
Argos Business Solutions
On the road to ‘ fficiency’.. e .
Meeting a cost reduction target of £21.5 billion in any industry is tough, none more so than in the public sector, where one of the major challenges in efficiency is procurement. Procurement departments regularly struggle to achieve speed and efficiency, with workers having to fully document and audit procurement processes that can often be lengthy, labour intensive, and time-consuming.
owever, in the Government Procurement Card, procurement departments are making large strides to contributing towards a 2008 efficiency target of over £20 billion. Using GPC Visa resulted in a monetary saving of £108 million in 2006, however, could much more be saved if public sector managers proactively eliminated the inefficient non-strategic purchases that are happening every day within their organisations? By raising awareness in the public sector about the many tools and services available from GPC-approved suppliers, organisations could potentially shift invoiced spend onto GPC Visa and get additional savings as well.
Argos Business Solutions, the business-to-business division of the unique catalogue retailer, is an approved supplier with an already pre-tendered framework contact with OGCbuying.solutions. They have put significant resources towards assisting the public sector and provide a unique procurement experience to help make the leap to further efficiencies. Argos has a dedicated team of public sector personnel visiting organisations up and down the country – helping them realise where they can become more efficient with bespoke advice tailored to maximise savings for individual organisations.
Orders using the GPC can be placed centrally or at any Argos store and further benefit from a 5% discount off the latest Argos price.
a leading figure in efficiencies in the public sector
One of the main areas where inefficiencies lie is the purchasing of essential non-strategic items on an everyday basis. This can be a time-consuming process, with the effort required to process purchase orders and physical purchases soon adding up. For example, the processing and transactional costs for buying a £25 kettle can be as much as £94.50, once the raising of a purchase order, collection of item and settling of an invoice is taken into account, adding over £69.50 in unseen administration costs. Yet few public sector organisations seem to take advantage of the consolidation of low value ad hoc purchases that the Government Procurement Card offers. The retail framework agreement that Argos Business Solutions holds with OGCbuying.solutions is helping public sector organisations control, centralise and consolidate spend more efficiently. The agreement means that public sector organisations can order any Argos product without the need for tendering and can also combine spend across departments. With over 17,000 products available to the public sector and over 700 stores nationwide, Argos is an easy source for both regular orders and unplanned purchases – from the latest vacuum cleaners, furniture, home starter kits, games consoles, DVD players,
camcorders, bunk beds, TVs, microwaves, washing machines and everything in between. Public sector professionals also benefit from the multi-channel approach to retail from Argos, maintaining the convenient shopping process government personnel come to expect as consumers, including a well-maintained delivery system that delivers most products in five working days across the country. A range of public sector organisations are already taking advantage of the tools and services offered by Argos in this area, with the company helping the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Prison Service, NHS, police forces, schools and other educational institutions realise how best to make their procurement more efficient. With a progress update on the Gershon report due for Parliament discussion in the near future, the need to maximise efficiencies has never been greater. GPC Visa, along with the tools and services offered by some of its approved suppliers, gives every public sector organisation the opportunity to streamline their buying processes to control and increase their budgetary spend through the retail environment today.
Argos Business Solutions offers the public sector:
• Choice, value and convenience
to the purchaser
If you would like to find out more about Argos Business Solutions, please call 0870 240 2007 or email: Central government enquiries – firstname.lastname@example.org Local government enquiries – email@example.com
• Cheaper procurement costs • Control for budget holders • Convenience for budget spends
How do you use yours...?
With just under a month to go until the end of the year, have you and your organisation done all you can to help meet the government’s efficiency targets for 2007?
ith just under a month to go until the end of the year, have you and your organisation done all you can to help meet the government’s efficiency targets for 2007? One way you can stay as efficient as possible is to constantly review the way you use GPC Visa. Do you, for instance, have an up-to-date picture of which of your suppliers take GPC Visa cards? Do all of your card-holding staff know how to use them? And are you introducing new ways of using GPC Visa wherever possible? It’s also important to consider using OGCbuying.solutions’ range of suppliers, as they have all gone through a rigorous, EU-compliant procurement process. Alternatively, you may have your own list of regular suppliers whom you trust and wish to continue using. Either way, GPC Visa is the most efficient way to pay. GPC Visa can now be used for almost every type of purchase in any government department. From paying for train tickets online to buying computer systems, GPC Visa is fast, flexible and efficient. How do you use yours?
GPC Visa can now be used for almost every type of purchase in any government department. From paying for train tickets online to buying computer systems, GPC Visa is fast, flexible and efficient.
Argos Business Solutions is the business-to-business division of Argos, the UK’s leading General Merchandise Catalogue retailer. They provide solutions that enable effective budgetary control and convenience when purchasing low value non-strategic items, delivered with effective customer service. Orders using GPC Visa can be placed centrally or at any Argos store and further benefit from a 5% discount on the latest Argos prices. Contact information Website: www.argosb2b.co.uk/ogc Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 0870 240 2007
B&Q are a leading supplier of RMI products with over 325 outlets nationwide. They offer a complete range of maintenance and property improvement products, all at everyday low prices. B&Q are leading the way in electronic VAT invoicing data through the VGIS (Visa Global Invoice Specification) solution at their point of sale. From November you will receive level 3 VAT information. Contact information Email: email@example.com Telephone: 07886 021241
Getting suppliers on board
In readiness for 2008, why not look to review your existing suppliers to identify spend that can be migrated from traditional invoices and help deliver additional benefits for your organisation.
Visa Supplier Matching Service
Visa offers the above service which allows our customers to submit their own list of suppliers to be analysed. Visa will identify which suppliers accept payment using Visa and highlight those that don’t. We can then work with you to recruit your suppliers of choice so you can both share the benefits of making and taking GPC Visa payments.
Barclaycard Business realise that some of you may already have your own purchasing policies and we are not encouraging you to step outside of these. We would like to take this opportunity to purely raise awareness of some of the suppliers available under framework contracts. For a full list please visit www.ogcbuyingsolutions.gov.uk
Comet Business Services is one of the largest electrical retailers in the UK. They are the ongoing primary supplier of electrical products to many organisations within the public sector. Local governments, education authorities and housing associations are already benefiting from working with Comet Business Services by using the Comet Business Services Public Sector discount card which gives you up to 10% discount on the retail price when buying on behalf of your government organisation. Contact information Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 0870 129 6091
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Visa Global Invoice Specification
B&Q Brings Business Customers Electronic VAT Invoices
B&Q’s implementation of the Visa Global Invoice Specification (VGIS) – an electronic VAT invoicing solution accredited by HMRC with automated payment provided through Visa Purchasing.
Background on B&Q
B&Q offers up to 40,000 top brand products catering for every product area from replacement light bulbs for the office to supplying materials for a housing regeneration team or hospital maintenance department and all under one roof. With 325 stores nationwide open early ’til late, seven days a week, B&Q boasts a wide range of services for professional builders and maintenance teams, including dedicated trade staff, free quotations and a call and collect service. B&Q is an approved supplier within HM Treasury’s Retail Trade Framework, having gone through a rigorous tendering process with OGC Buying Solutions – an Executive Agency of The Office of Government Commerce. This means that they meet all of the necessary statutory requirements set by OGC Buying Solutions when a Government Procurement Card (GPC Visa) or Visa Purchasing card is used at B&Q. B&Q is leading the way in electronic VAT invoicing data by implementing a VGIS solution at their point of sale. The electronic VAT invoicing data, available exclusively through Visa is aimed at Visa Purchasing card holders across public and private sector organisations as a way to reduce transaction costs. Electronic invoicing with Visa Purchasing means that payment is at the touch of a button, eliminating time consuming and costly paper work. By reducing transaction costs, it is anticipated that sales volumes will be increased throughout B&Q outlets.
By developing VGIS, B&Q is now able to offer VAT-accredited invoicing for Visa Purchasing card users – a facility which is greatly valued by customers to the stores. Comments Mike Cartwright: “We have sensed a real demand from business customers for a way to streamline their back office costs, which is why we embarked on this project. At B&Q we have always worked hard to make our customers’ lives as easy as possible by offering longer opening hours to access up to 40,000 products under one roof. Now, by giving them electronic VAT invoicing data automatically, we are saving them even more time and eliminating the need for manual processing of invoices. As a result they are even more likely to choose B&Q as their preferred supplier, thereby helping to stimulate customer loyalty.”
Why offer enhanced VAT invoicing data?
Corporate customers across the public and private sectors are increasingly looking for greater financial control, in particular, for VAT and internal auditing purposes. Electronic VAT invoicing data is the key. Says Mike Cartwright, Business to Business Manager at B&Q: “We decided to become a ‘VGIS Purchasing card merchant’ when we recently invested in a new EPOS (electronic point of sale) system as part of our chip and PIN acceptance strategy. This meant we could make electronic VAT invoicing data available to Visa Purchasing users which conforms to the VGIS standard format. This allows for very comprehensive information to be included within the invoice. “As a result, instead of receiving a paper invoice, customers can now benefit from HM Revenue & Customs approved VAT evidence information on all B&Q purchases on their Visa Purchasing ‘Evidence for VAT Deductions report’. In addition, by using their Visa Purchasing card at B&Q, customers no longer need to use petty cash, make expense claims or issue a paper purchase order.”
The secret of success
B&Q and Barclaycard Business have worked in partnership to provide all B&Q stores throughout the UK with the ability to flow VGIS data. The partnership approach fostered by both organisations has been central to the successful implementation of this integrated development. Barclaycard Business is committed to supporting merchants with VGIS development and has helped generate an understanding throughout B&Q of the benefits of this VATaccredited functionality. Once the business decision was taken by B&Q to move forward, Barclaycard Business provided an Implementation Manager to the B&Q account to ensure that this process was managed smoothly and any challenges
Visa Global Invoice Specification
encountered were resolved without any undue disruption. Throughout all stages of this project, communication between Barclaycard Business and B&Q has been crucial and has meant that B&Q’s project objectives were always central to both organisations’ thinking. Barclaycard Business has a team of experienced professionals to help with all stages of VGIS development. This resource was fully taken advantage of by B&Q and ensured that the project was delivered successfully. Says Mike Cartwright, Business to Business Manager at B&Q: “The expertise of the individuals on the Barclaycard Business team has proved invaluable in helping us to bring this initiative to fruition.”
B&Q’s VAT-accredited electronic invoicing solution is available to Purchasing card users when they purchase goods inside B&Q stores. However, plans are already in an early stage of development for phase two, which will extend the facility to the e-purchasing environment – purchases made over the Internet and telephone orders.
Business Travel Show
Barclaycard Business will be exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, 5–7 February 2008 at Earls Court, London. With 22% of GPC Visa spend now on travel, why not come along and see us on stand 437 to discuss how GPC Visa could help your travel programmes. It's free to attend – simply register in advance online at www.businesstravelshow.com
New framework agreement announced
Fantastic plastic: real savings from card acceptance
The buying power of the public sector is about to deliver a new route to hard cash savings running into tens of millions of pounds each year.
he recently launched Government Merchant Acquiring framework agreement is set to result in a boom in the use of credit, debit and charge cards for payments between public sector organisations, and also between citizens and businesses and the public sector. Crucially, the predicted growth in the use of cards will also enable the public sector to use its aggregated procurement muscle to negotiate more favourable service charges levied by the banks down to levels enjoyed by retail giants like Tesco and Wal-Mart. The result is a win, win, win situation for the public sector, citizens and all those trading with the public sector.The public sector will make significant cash and efficiency savings by using a faster, more secure electronic system when making and receiving payments. Citizens will have far more choice and convenience in the way they make payments for services, while suppliers can look forward to cash-flow and efficiency benefits of their own by receiving secure, automated payment for goods and services, normally within just four days. The architect of the new Government Merchant Acquiring framework agreement is OGCbuying.solutions’ Head of Payment Cards, Jim Parkinson. £240 billion using cards in 2004 and more than 42 million people are now carrying cards so it has been a major anomaly that, in many cases, the option of using a card to pay for public services has not been available. “Very soon we will see everything from council tax, parking tickets, court fines, student fees, school meals, rent, leisure centre fees, charity donations and more being paid for with cards. The public sector is all about helping more and more ordinary people to access public services in the most convenient way possible and I anticipate these new arrangements will do just that. “We have talked in detail to a wide cross section of the public sector to ensure that we shaped these arrangements in a way that maximises the benefits across the board, for large central government departments and smaller local organisations alike. “The benefits of electronic payment systems and electronic trading are generally quite well understood in the public sector, in terms of much reduced back office administration, far fewer opportunities for theft and the manual errors that require costly, time consuming corrective action and 24/7 accessibility. “Much of the work on existing systems is boring and repetitive and switching to an electronic system enables staff to be used in far more stimulating and productive areas, such as customer services. “The new service will utilise well proven, secure technology with minimal set-up costs. Automated reconciliation promotes transparency and delivers environmental benefits by contributing to the paperless office concept.”
“Much of the work on existing systems is boring and repetitive and switching to an electronic system enables staff to be used in far more stimulating and productive areas, such as customer service roles”
“The potential is enormous. Historically the collection of payments for a wide variety of goods and services within the public sector has been limited to cash, cheque or Direct Debit, with little scope for payments by alternative cheaper and more convenient means, says Jim. “These new arrangements will change that for the good of all concerned. As a country we spent
New framework agreement announced
Card Acceptance – the key features
Merchant Acquiring is also known as Card Acceptance. Organisations using the new OGCbuying.solutions framework agreement will be able to accept payment from all major credit, debit and charge cards across the counter, or remotely by telephone or via the Internet. The framework will be let in accordance with strict EU procurement rules offering services from a variety of UK banks. Users will then conduct a further competition to select a bank whose services most closely meet their requirements. Set-up and transaction charges will be highly competitive and payment transactions will be authorised instantly.
• Step 2 The card transaction will be passed to the Acquirer for processing. The Acquirer will remit the sale proceeds to the Merchant’s bank account, normally within 4 working days. • Step 3 The Acquirer will request payment from the Card Issuer, normally receiving settlement within a few days. • Step 4 The Card Issuer will charge the Cardholder, either by paper statement or to a nominated bank account. • Step 5 The Acquirer will send the Merchant a monthly statement detailing each day’s banking along with the costs incurred. These are normally paid by Direct Debit.
How the transaction takes place
• Step 1 The Merchant (the public sector organisation) accepts payment by card and swipes this through either a terminal rented through their Acquirer (the bank) or, in the cases of large organisations, their own terminal software. The terminal will either dial out for an authorisation that the card is not reported lost or stolen, or work within floor limits agreed with the Acquirer.
“The new service will utilise well proven, secure technology with minimal set-up costs. Automated reconciliation promotes transparency and delivers environmental benefits by contributing to the paperless office concept”
For more information please call OGCbuying.solutions’ customer service desk on 0845 410 2222 or email email@example.com
Maximise the benefits
Barclaycard Business successful in being accredited OGCbuying.solutions supplier status for Acquiring Services
n 1st November we at Barclaycard Business received the confirmation we had been waiting for; we had been successful in securing supplier status as part of the OGCbuying.solutions framework agreement for Government Merchant Acquiring Services. As the UK’s leading issuer of GPC Visa, we have been working successfully with the public sector for many years. And, because of this excellent grounding, we have been able to closely align the acquiring deal based on these core values and maximise the expertise and brand integrity of the Barclays Group. Our pedigree in acquiring spans some 40 years. We look after the processing and payment of over a third of Britain's retailers, our processing platform is one of the most advanced in the world and, in 2005, more than 1.8 billion purchases were made with credit and debit cards through 192,000 Barclaycard Business customer outlets in the UK. So you can be assured you will be dealing with a trusted and experienced partner. Taking card payments enables you to offer your customers choice, convenience and flexibility when doing business with you. It can help improve your cash flow, as payment is made direct into your bank account in 3–4 days* and it could also help reduce late or unpaid bills. With our range of card payment solutions, customers can pay you in person, over the telephone or even via your website. New technology, such as contactless payments, enables customers to pay for low value transactions with cards instead of cash. Car parking meters and vending machines in public places are two examples of where this new technology could make a difference for both you and your customers. Under the new framework agreement, Barclaycard Business will offer a range of preferential rates on these products and services which you will be able to flex depending on the individual needs of your organisation. You may wish to avoid the sometimes complicated detail of acquiring, so we have a single rate offering to cover all card transactions regardless of whether they are credit or debit. Alternatively, if you are one of our larger customers you may require a bespoke pricing arrangement and will receive a dedicated relationship manager. Essentially, the agreed framework is a flexible one where we are able to structure deals according to your organisation’s requirements,
with the aim of making the process of accepting payment for goods and services easier and more cost efficient for you. You already trust Barclaycard Business to provide your GPC Visa, so why not let us look after your acquiring needs? For more information on how we can support your organisation please contact us on 0800 616161 quoting ‘OGC framework agreement’.
• Improves cash flow • Reduces cash handling • Instant authorisation • Convenience for customers • Pre-negotiated contract • Preferential rates • Trusted financial partner
*This timescale may vary; this will be clarified within the terms of your Merchant Agreement.
Open your website to ePDQ
Accepting Card Payments Online with ePDQ
s well as bringing efficiencies to your purchasing activities when you pay by card, accepting payments by card can help streamline many of your payment acceptance and collection processes. As an increasing number of people turn to the Internet as a more convenient way to pay, Barclaycard Business is pleased to introduce ePDQ – your secure way to accept card payments online. ePDQ comes in several different guises, each designed to satisfy different online business needs. The most popular version is our ePDQ “Cardholder Payment Interface” (or CPI). CPI is a worldclass, secure online service for card payment authorisation and
settlement that lets you trade online quickly, easily and safely. It's flexible, reliable and straightforward to integrate with your website. When a customer chooses to make a payment from your website and proceeds to “check out”, they are directed to the ePDQ secure payment environment. Here they can pay quickly and easily by debit or credit card. ePDQ automates and completes the transaction – and your staff can then fulfil the customer's order or issue a payment confirmation advice. ePDQ processes your payment transactions with the bank, handles settlement, and provides you with online management information and regular statements for all your online transactions.
• • •
Easier for customers – allows your customers to make payments online with their credit and debit card so you can collect payment more quickly Gives your customers choice – ePDQ accepts all major credit, debit and charge card types Security – secure payment pages are hosted by Barclaycard Business and co-branded to give your customer extra reassurance that their card details will be safe. This also saves you the responsibility and liability for security issues Works for telephone and mail order payments too – ePDQ includes, as standard, the facility for you to process your mail and telephone payments together with your Internet payments, which means your admin and accounting procedures are simplified
• • •
You choose the level of security – ePDQ’s enhanced fraud control means you can set additional rules to help protect your organisation from fraudulent card transactions Free upgrades – we are committed to keeping ePDQ at the cutting edge of technology, and making sure it is always compliant with the rules of card payment schemes You could be accepting card payments online within a few days – ePDQ is straightforward to integrate with your website and support is available from our dedicated helpline and technical team whenever you need it
Ready to start accepting online payments?
Is your organisation thinking about accepting online payments? Would you like more information about ePDQ? Call us on 0800 616161 quoting “GPC News” or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now there’s no need to wait for your paper statement to arrive each month. With Online Services you can have your account information at your fingertips whenever you want it.
Fast, secure and easy to use
As a card administrator, Online Services can make managing your cards easier. • Easy access – see your credit limits, statements and transactions whenever you want • Secure ID and verification for log in – keeping personal and transactional details safe • Key financial information – if you have fewer than 10 cardholders, the most commonly requested information will be displayed on your welcome page • Easier to manage your cardholders – our selection of reports helps you manage cardholder activity • Search options – making it quick and easy to find the transaction you’re looking for • Access to previous statements and transactions – building to a rolling 13 months of information so if you can’t find your paper statement, you can view it online, removing the need for additional paper copies • Ability to reset passwords – no hassle of contacting us if a cardholder forgets their password
To apply for this free service, simply visit www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/getonline and complete the online form. We’ll then email you a membership number so you can set up your own password, passcode and memorable word for security. It’s as simple as that. You can also view a demonstration of Online Services at www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/ existing_customers/paying_by_cards/online _services/demo.html
Your cardholders can benefit too
Once you’ve registered for Online Services, you can register your cardholders too. This will enable them to view their own transactions and statements online. If you’re the only cardholder in your organisation, you’ll be set up as the card administrator so you can make the most of Online Services.
If you receive an email such as this one, on no account must you click on the link and fill in the details. This is known as a Phishing attack and is a known method to gain your card details. This alert has been highlighted by OGCbuying.solutions and if you receive any such emails please contact us immediately so we can notify them and Visa.
More opportunities to deliver savings
Do you have anyone new in your organisation, someone who has recently changed roles or been promoted and they have not yet applied for their own GPC Visa card?
Visit www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/gpcnews and you will find a link to an additional cardholder application form or, alternatively, please contact us in the normal way.
Cards no longer in use Additional cardholders for additional benefits
Additional cardholders could extend the benefits your organisation already enjoys through its Government Procurement Card account: • Simplified procurement – cards can be used for a wide range of purchases, from office supplies to temporary staff costs • Increased efficiency – thanks to reduced administration and bureaucracy • Control over expenditure – by only allowing cardholders to spend in specific purchasing categories • Less paperwork – which means less impact on the environment as well as less admin With no card or interest charges to pay, adding cardholders won’t cost your organisation at all and it’s easy to do. On the other hand, you may have cards that are no longer required. If you have, just let us know and we can update your account. Again, contact us in the normal way.
Please see the following websites for further details: GPC News – www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/gpcnews OGC – www.ogcbuyingsolutions.gov.uk Visa – www.visaeurope.com
If you require further information on any of the items discussed in this newsletter, please could you email your enquiry in the first instance to email@example.com This will enable us to direct your enquiry to the most relevant team. OR If you have a Relationship Manager, please contact them in the normal way.
This newsletter has been printed on recycled paper. Please consider the environment and note that further versions of this newsletter can be viewed in PDF format on our website: www.barclaycardbusiness.co.uk/gpcnews
This information is available in large print, Braille and audio format by calling 0844 822 2160.
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Barclaycard Business is a trading name of Barclays Bank PLC. Barclays Bank PLC is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered in England. Registered No. 1026167. Registered Office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP.
BCD884216NLTB1 Created 10/07