1 December 2021 | Collaboration | Our Work | BY: RedRay
Industry Interview: The ‘enquiring mindset’
With services focused on improving the effectiveness, efficiency and outcomes of businesses and projects, RedRay’s bespoke commercial and project management consultancy service helps local authorities achieve best value and maximum output from their contractors and suppliers.
Shaun Reddin, Managing Director of RedRay explains how their collaborative strategy helps them to deliver tangible results.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing the highways sector?
“The two biggest challenges that spring to mind are people and funding. Finding the right people is becoming increasingly difficult, we see clients struggling to fill vacancies and there is no long-term road map to build a resourceful and sustainable workforce in the public sector particularly due to the short-term method of funding. These issues also apply to the private sector and causes a combined negative impact on the delivery of services in the rail and road sectors.
“We need to find a collaborative way to deal with these issues by utilising technology, harnessing innovation and by introducing innovative long-term recruitment and training plans that deliver a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce for years to come. A similar approach is needed to secure funding for the short, medium, and long term.”
Q. How is RedRay working with councils to help them deliver highways services?
“RedRay aid local authority clients in their management and administration of contracts including engineering and construction, maintenance, and professional services. We provide professional support so that local authorities are achieving best value and maximum output from their contractors and suppliers. We draft and develop business plans, business cases and strategies so the most suitable contract strategy is selected, risks are minimised, opportunities are maximised, and which best suits the council’s objectives.
“We have teams embedded within local authorities delivering savings totalling in excess of £1.5m by creating bespoke solutions (such as training programmes, reporting tools, conducting costs and performance audits) and we deliver tangible results. The way we do this is to embed our people within our clients’ organisation. This enables us to fully understand the way the client works and where value can be added. In this way we aim to develop the client’s skills through knowledge transfer.”
Q. How has your team adapted to the challenges brought about by Covid-19?
“We had to adapt quickly, initially we resorted to our Business Continuity Plan to mobilise all staff working from home, ensuring they had a safe and effective workspace to continue supporting our clients. Whilst the disruption was worrying, we have learned several important lessons, the key lesson is that people can work effectively from home because the technology available made it possible. Technology ensured we could communicate effectively, communication is key to us as a business, software such as MS teams played a huge part in keeping everyone in touch. We also became more productive as our team were not spending anything between 2-3 hours travelling every day.
“We learned the value of having virtual team get togethers to maintain morale and we came up with some innovative ideas to ensure everyone felt involved and could switch off and enjoy themselves for a couple of hours. Another key lesson is we all had to learn to be much more collaborative, this was key for all involved from the client through the whole supply chain, collaboration was key to effectively managing the crisis and continuing to deliver our client’s needs.”
Q. How much importance is put on innovation within your business and in what ways can it enable change?
“I’m a firm believer that change driven by need provides real innovation and collaboration more so than a change for changes sake objective. Most innovations I have witnessed in recent years have been as a direct result of funding, mostly a reduction in funding in certain parts of our sector. However, I do think we could all benefit from an overall innovation programme based on client’s needs set out over a 5–10-year period that brings more effective uniform working solutions and makes greater use of technology to enable efficiency and introduces a Return on Investment that can be measured and compared for the greater good of the whole road’s community.
“We are constantly looking for improvement and we encourage all our staff and clients to challenge everything we do to find a better way, if possible, we call it the ‘enquiring mindset.’ Change needs to create solutions that delivers results!
“We are delighted to have joined LCRIG as it is the first time that the industry has come together under one umbrella to drive innovation and collaboration.”
Q. In what ways do you collaborate with local authorities and the wider supply chain?
“Working on the client side only means we build respectful and meaningful relationships with the wider supply chain as they are an integral part of the services being delivered and we ensure they feel valued, and we are not seen as an obstruction to them.
“One area where we collaborate is delivering joint contract management training to both the client’s and suppliers project teams at the outset of a project. We have seen the benefits of this several times as both parties fully understand their respective risks and responsibilities from day one. We also carry out a lot of contract performance and cost audits for our clients, however this must be a collaboration as both parties have to act to ensure all corrective actions and findings are dealt with collectively for the greater good of the project.”
Q. In terms of funding for roads, what do you think works well and what needs to be improved?
“One of the biggest issues is the short-term nature of funding and, allied with this, the scramble to try and exploit funding opportunities when they come along. There needs to be much better forward planning of budget setting so that authorities in turn can develop properly resourced plans that are delivered efficiently and effectively.”
Q. How important is the role of LCRIG in driving change within the sector?
“Potentially very important if a medium to long term plan can be developed and signed up to by the whole community, LCRIG has the opportunity to deliver award winning change through innovation that benefits everyone, we look forward to being a part of this journey.”
Collaboration | Environment | Our Work | 26 January 2022
There's still time to register for the Local Council Roads Innovation Group's (LCRIG) first #AsktheDfT event of 2022. Members are invited to put their questions about active travel directly to senior personnel from the Department for Transport (DfT) but must submit questions in advance of the session which is taking place on 8 February.
Martin Duffy, Chief Executive of the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG), updates members on the progress of the LCRIG DPS, following consultation meetings with representatives from councils and the supply chain.