Published: 13th July 2023
Public sector bodies aren’t only responsible for the wellbeing of their people but also the community they serve. Whether in the health, school, or housing sector, UK public bodies are under immense financial pressure. Sodexo Engage is the only supplier that covers all three critical frameworks under the Crown Commercial Services – vouchers, prepaid cards, and benefits and services. Read on to discover a cost-effective means to stretching your employees’ wages further whilst providing essential support.
Crown Commercial Services
The CCS framework provides public sector members with a more streamlined and regulated service. Additionally, the preferential rates result in savings to the public purse.
Sodexo Engage has been a consistent partner, offering the public sector an easier way to source across the three frameworks: Prepaid Cards (RM6248), Closed Looped Voucher Schemes (RM6248) and the new Employee Benefits & Services (RM6273) framework.
We’re grateful for everything our UK public sector bodies do for us and understand their current plight. Through our presence on the CCS framework, we aim to do what we can to support local authorities and central government organisations with effective and sustainable solutions during times of crisis and beyond.
The Current Climate
The public sector often makes the headlines, and the current cost-of-living crisis is no exception. Employees are using their voices, taking action, and calling out the disparity between the rise in inflation and their salaries.
At Sodexo Engage, we work with employers in the public and private sectors. The increasing cost of doing business is impacting both. Still, unlike a limited business where the CEO only has to balance budgets for one business, public sector pay is determined by the Government, and it’s balancing the books for the entire UK economy.
As recent headlines show, allocating a budget to increase wages is proving to be problematic.
Stretching Public Sector Salaries
We won’t weigh into the debate about pay raises because that’s not our place. However, what we have been doing for over 60 years, is helping employers provide an alternative – employee benefits that allow employees to make savings on their everyday living.
When it isn’t possible to increase salaries, stretching them further is a viable, cost-effective, and welcome alternative.
A Trusted Partner
We’re proud to support local authorities across the UK, from the Scottish Highlands to the Suffolk coast.
In March, we published an article highlighting results from a 2022 client survey. Here are some of the standout stats:
95% of our clients said their account manager is always warm, friendly and goes above and beyond
90% of our clients told us that the communication from their account manager is amazing – “they are always there for us.”
Partnering with a supplier through the CCS framework saves local authorities money by giving access to preferential rates, but that doesn’t mean we scrimp on quality. It’s the quality of our service and support that our CCS framework clients value – perhaps even more than the savings.
Sometimes, the simple things make the most significant impact - like having a phone service.
We know. It sounds obvious, but not all providers offer a phone service to respond to your enquiries. We may be a digital organisation, but we’re unwilling to sacrifice the importance of person-to-person support. That’s why our customer service team are based in the UK and embedded within our core business, positioning them to offer the best level of support.
Data gathered from our CCS framework clients over the last 12 months showed we answered 91% of our calls within 30 seconds, with an overall answer rate of 99%!
Giving You Control
Each of our three services is different. Whether you’re offering a prepaid card to tenants to help them purchase goods, vouchers for free school meals, or employee benefits to support your people – you’ll have access to a detailed reporting system.
Voucher Scheme (RM6248)
With Voucher Select – our CCS framework voucher portal - you have two ways to purchase: Self-Fulfilled, or Sodexo Fulfilled.
What’s the difference?
Northern Education Trust (NET) use the Voucher Select Self-Fulfilled option to order, track and distribute vouchers for free school meals. During the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the Trust continued to provide free school meal vouchers to eligible families, which they could redeem at a choice of supermarkets.
Regardless of which fulfilment option a client chooses, they’ll get the same level of access to the order management platform. This gives them the following user features:
Peace of mind: Voucher Select meets the required Cyber Essentials Plus criteria. Additionally, since clients upload the data themselves, there’s no need to transfer it to a third party, alleviating the risk of data manipulation and human error.
Quick and easy: There are just five steps to place an order.
Handle Multiple Voucher Call-Offs: You can manage all orders at the same time.
With the Self-Fulfilled solution, NET can:
Access their entire order history
Cancel or resend vouchers
Set up password protection on self-fulfilled orders.
Since we like to give you more, here’s what you can add to the list above when you choose the Sodexo-Fulfilled solution:
Cancel, resend or reissue vouchers
See updated delivery statuses
See updated voucher redemption statuses
Send now or schedule for later
Add a message to end-user emails
Experience a more sophisticated Buyer Dashboard, providing KPI analytics
Enjoy a more seamless and user-friendly buying experience
Unify the distribution process via a digital solution.
We may have saved the best till the last… At Sodexo Engage, we’ll only send you a bill for the redeemed vouchers, ensuring you keep a tight rein on your budget and avoid unnecessary steps to claw back unredeemed vouchers.
Employee Benefits and Services
Giving your employees more for less – that’s what you can expect from our Employee Benefits Platform.
Here’s the thing about employee benefits…
We surveyed 2,000 employees and 500 HR professionals and found that only 11% of employees made full use of the benefits available. The shocking contrast to this statistic is that 61% said they want their workplace to help them more with the cost-of-living crisis, and 76% said that an organisation’s benefits package is important when considering accepting a job offer.
This tells us that employee benefits are wanted and needed.
So, what’s causing the disconnect?
We found three main issues:
The employee benefits offered don’t align with the employees' needs and interests
Communication about the available benefits is lacking
Employees don’t know who to speak to about accessing the benefits
Employee benefits are an investment in your people that, when done right, yield a return through increasing employee wellbeing. What happens when you support employees' financial, physical, and mental wellbeing? You increase engagement, motivation and productivity, reduce absenteeism, retain loyal employees, and attract the best talent.
When budgets are tight, which we know they are in the public sector, you need to ensure that you’re not only offering the right solutions, but you’re with the right partner. Unused benefits are a wasted business expense.
Our Employee Benefits Platform (RM6273)
Giving employees more of what they love and need through sustainable and impactful employee benefits that make a difference.
Our Employee Benefits Platform is an all-in-one platform accessible online or with our app. It’s easy to use, but we’re still here to support you, and your dedicated account manager will help you launch your employee benefits platform to achieve the best uptake and be by your side for your entire journey with us.
Better still, if your employees opt-in to receive communications from us, our dedicated team of consumer marketers will ensure they never miss the best deals, giving them more opportunities to stretch their salaries.
What is it that employees are accessing?
Our Online Employee Benefits Platform includes:
Reward and recognition schemes, such as long service or recognition for an outstanding achievement
*Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme
*Green car sacrifice scheme
Financial wellbeing scheme (debt consolidation and employee loans)
Technology, smartphone salary sacrifice scheme.
Once you sign up for our Employee Benefits Platform, your employees will receive login details, giving them access to all the opportunities above, with no fee for their usage. Employees only pay when they spend, and when they spend, they can also save!
We love a versatile solution, and that’s precisely what our prepaid card is. Use it to deliver cash rewards and bonuses, hardship payments, disbursements, and consumer incentives.
Powered by Visa, you can use our prepaid card anywhere on the Visa network and help you provide funds for critical essentials such as:
Food through our partnership with all grocery retailers
Wider essentials such as bedding and clothing as part of hardship funds.
If you want to ensure the card and funds are used for a specific purpose, such as helping tenants purchase white goods, you can limit which category of retailer the card can be used with.
It’s your initiative, so what you say goes.
As with any of our schemes on the CCS framework, you’ll receive preferential rates, and your dedicated account manager will provide full training and support and provide MI data so you can see how the cards are being used.
The ball is in your court. Tell us exactly how you want to support your people – whoever they may be – and we’ll bring your vision to life with a bespoke solution.
A Partnership That Gives You More
There’s a reason we’re the only supplier to provide services across these three critical Crown Commercial Services frameworks – we’ve proven our worth. We’ve adapted to meet the changing technological and market needs and are committed to providing the best possible service.
We want you to succeed, and we want to ensure your money is well spent. We help make this happen by offering end-to-end support, ensuring your budget is used on what is most important - the recipient.
Download the prospectuses and arrange a call here.
There’s much to consider, and we know you’ll have questions. The crucial thing to remember is the flexibility of the solutions outlined in this article. We’re here to help your plans succeed, opening up a world of opportunities for your organisation, no matter your ambitions.
Notes:*Scheme is eligible for tax and NIC savings for employer and employee.