Further written evidence submitted by
the Department for Work and Pensions |
What procedures specifically initiated in the
department have been most successful in improving sustainable
development? Why have these worked well? Which procedures have
not worked and why?
- The Department recognised the need for a dedicated
Sustainability and Climate Change (SCC) Team. The team is responsible
for all aspects of sustainability (policy, strategy, communications,
monitoring, reporting and operations). This includes managing
the Department's carbon budget and the key environmental outcomes
of its estates partner Telereal Trillium. The ethos is mainstreaming,
the team influencing existing policy and process rather
than re-inventing it.
- Sustainability is handled corporately, integrating
activity across corporate groups, businesses, agencies and arms-length
bodies. Intranet information is available, ranging from how staff
can help reduce carbon emissions at work and at home to considering
sustainability in policy making. Content is reviewed regularly,
engaging staff by being topical and seasonal.
- Sustainability is integrated within the Department's
Change Lifecycle process from initiation through to completion,
and the SCC Team have access to project documents as they develop.
A checklist has been developed to enable Ministers' private office
staff to check that submissions have considered all aspects of
- The contract with the estates service partner
incentivises energy and water reductions by sharing monetary savings
between the Department and estates service partner encouraging
joint working. It also allows estates service partner to develop
business cases for "over and above" spend-to-save measures
(for example, measures that would not be covered under the contract.
They agree them with the Department, fund them and then recover
their investment from accrued savings. This means that the risk
remains with estates service partner, that no departmental funding
is required, but that the Department receives a half share of
all savings following investment recovery, demonstrating value
for money and incentivising improvements that would otherwise
be unlikely to occur.
- Verification of the data on operational performance
is primarily undertaken in-house. However, the majority of this
data is sourced from suppliers so its assessment in house provides
a level of independent assurance. In addition, we have engaged
independent auditors on several occasions to assess energy and
water returns. The Department would wish to see this process continue,
whereby departments "self-assure" data prior based on
significance, but see later regarding overall independent assurance.
- The Department recognises that procurement is
a key enabler to delivering social, economic and environmental
benefits and improvements. The Department's Sustainable Procurement
(SP) Strategy sets out its vision, objectives and high level targets,
highlighting stakeholders and governance processes.
- A mandatory SP Risk Assessment Methodology (SPRAM)
tool has been designed for commercial staff to identify any potential
social, economic and environmental risks associated with new procurements
and existing contracts. It identifies potential impacts, scores
them and provides guidance on potential mitigations. The concept
being that the best time to incorporate sustainability is at contract
specification stage. It also encourages customer discussions on
demand management to reduce procurement volumes. The tool is regularly
cited as best practice across government. Each category team then
builds their own strategy detailing how they will consider sustainability
in their individual category.
- The Department's Sustainable Procurement Team
Implementation Group (SPIG) is attended by SP champions from all
category areas, commercial teams and Non Departmental Public Bodies.
The group discuss and make decisions relating to new and emerging
SP policy, share best practice and raise any issues or barriers
to delivering SP. A different supplier is invited to each meeting
and awareness and training slots are offered.
- The Department makes full use of the SP Task
Force's Flexible Framework and is exceeding the current recommended
levels (see "Key Achievements").
- The Department and its principal suppliers have
signed up to the Supplier Charter - a set of principles outlining
how the Department and its suppliers will work together to achieve
strategic objectives. The Charter has been rolled out to the critical
59 suppliers, but specifically targeting those with the most significant
impacts - e.g. IT, travel and estates.
- As part of the Department's Policy Through Procurement
initiative, performance conditions are used in all new contracts.
These ensure that suppliers are operating to at least a minimum
standard within six months of contract date, with continuing improvement
thereafter. Three SP schedules cover environment, diversity and
equality, and apprenticeships and skills, demonstrating the balance
necessary to achieve broad sustainability (the Department is seen
as a leader on the social aspects).
- The terms of the DWP estates contract create
the incentive for the Department and its estate provider to work
together to increase energy and water reduction. Measures to reduce
water and energy consumption, in addition to those included in
the under the contract, can be funded by the Department and the
investment recovered from accrued savings shared between the Department
and the estates provider. Examples are:
DWP has reduced energy use and carbon emissions by
23% over the last three years. Energy use and carbon emissions
decreased by 11% in 2007-08; 3% in 2008-09; and 9% in 2009-10.
The decrease in 2009-10 took place against the background
of an increased demand for DWP services, as a consequence of the
economic downturn, which included longer opening hours in Jobcentres,
and an increase in the number of staff and IT equipment.
As a result the Department's reductions over the
last three years, per annum, it now saves approximately £8 million
and 70,000 tonnes CO2 through a combination of technical
and "housekeeping" measures such as:
- A joint campaign with the DWP estate partner
to implement no-cost and low-cost measures, challenge behaviours
and encourage buy-in;
- the use of smart meters on largest 600 sites
(accounting for 90% of the Department's total electricity usage),
adding gas and water readings where possible, enabling "next-day"
rectification of issues and demonstrating campaign results;
- 41,000 national "spend-to-save" measures
have been introduced. These are initiatives that require short
term investment with long term savings. For example, fridge controllers,
infrared sensors on water boilers and waterless urinals. Future
plans include automatic lighting controls which will be placed
in both external and internal areas and a combined heat and power
plant for our largest building. More information on these measures
can be found in the DWP Carbon Reduction Delivery Plan.
- an intranet based "Energy Pack" - which
contains good practice guidance and reports to inform and encourage
DWP staff to be more aware of sustainability issues.
- Following a comprehensive Travel Review in 2007,
road mileage has reduced by 20% in the last three years. Most
notably, grey fleet usage reduced by 40% (staff's own vehicles
used for Departmental business). CO2 from road travel
fell by 35% (8,000 tonnes) over the same period. This has been
achieved by setting limits on daily and annual mileage and through
campaigns to encourage alternatives to travel (e.g. video conferencing)
and the use of more sustainable forms of travel.
Water consumption has reduced by over a third (400,000m3)
in the last four years, through a programme of improved data
collection, leak detection, installation of waterless urinals
and campaigns with staff.
The terms of the DWP estates contract create the
incentive for the Department and its estate provider to work together
to increase energy and water reduction. Measures to reduce water
and energy consumption, in addition to those included in the under
the contract, can be funded by the Department and the investment
recovered from accrued savings shared between the Department and
the estates provider.
The amount of waste generated in the Department has
fallen by 44% in the last five years, and it consistently recycles
62-66% of waste produced each year. In addition to recycling facilities
being provided for staff in all office locations, the Department
actively encourages more innovative approaches. One popular scheme
was the introduction of the intranet-based "swap shop"
where staff nationally advertise and swap surplus or wanted items
of office equipment and stationery, thereby reducing waste and
procurement costs. In the last three months alone, over 1,000
items have been "swapped", preventing their entering
the waste stream and negating the need for procurement. The value
of these items is very conservatively estimated at £23,000.
To what extent are civil servants in your department
made accountable for working more "sustainably"?
- DWP's Planning, Performance and Risk Committee
(a sub-committee to the Department's Executive Team) takes overall
ownership of sustainability. In addition to this group, a Sustainable
Development Delivery Group comprising representatives from key
corporate and business areas is responsible for sharing best practice
and ensuring integration of activity in their respective areas.
The Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) targets
are disaggregated to businesses and local Energy Champions take
practical responsibility for reducing energy and carbon across
key DWP sites.
- It is also worth noting that the Department's
Permanent Secretary also has sustainability set within his Key
Work Objectives. Sustainability has also now been included in
the staff competency framework to ensure that everyone understands
that they have a key role, which is backed up by comprehensive
intranet guidance and information..
What would help the Department for Work and Pensions
engage more effectively with the bodies set up by Government to
deliver sustainable development targets?
- The Department is working closely with other
departments to encourage the introduction of further mandatory
measures to ensure consistent appraisal of key sustainability
impacts such as carbon, climate change adaptation and social aspects
that need consideration within policy development across government.
- The process to assure this consistency is remains
unclear and, whilst recent improvements such as the sustainability
Specific Impact Test have assisted, governance and policing of
appraisals needs to be clarified and tightened to ensure that
policy and strategy proposals receive robust analysis. The Department
for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has indicated
that the value of the natural environment will also need to be
evaluated, and that this work in is hand.
- The pan-government governance process for sustainability
requires streamlining to ensure integration and consistency. Currently,
sustainability policy, operations and procurement, and climate
change adaptation are governed through separate programmes chaired
and led by different departments (DEFRA, Cabinet Office and Department
for Energy and Climate Change). There is no overall strategy which
integrates these activities; prioritising them as one single programme
and therefore aligning expectations on departments and avoiding
duplication and gaps. Ideally, a single overseeing Board should
govern the individual strategies and the overall programme, chaired
by a single department who would take the overall lead on the
programme. This would also streamline reporting structures and
minimise duplication, enabling departments to focus on outcomes.
- Work is ongoing across government to identify
what can be achieved on social sustainability. This work needs
to have a clearer focus and more robust objectives to ensure that
social and environmental factors receive equal weighting in the
development of policy and strategy across Whitehall
How has the SDC contributed towards improving
the sustainability of your Department? How much money has Department
for Work and Pensions saved, over what period, by implementing
measures recommended by the SDC?
- DWP appreciated the SDC's assistance on the wider
aspects of sustainability, particularly in supporting the principle
of cross-departmental impact analysis and mitigation. The Department
piloted the SDC's Departmental Sustainability Assessment (DSA)
during 2009. The DSA gave an independent assessment of the extent
to which sustainability was embedded in the Department and what
more can be done to facilitate integration. The SDC report is
due to be published in early 2011. There would have been value
in the SDC continuing this work in other key departments.
- The SDC was also invaluable in providing independent
opinion on departmental SD in Government (SDiG) returns. These
explain each department's position in relation to SOGE targets
and are available online.
However, there were protracted delays between the data collection
and reporting and the SDC assessment which lead to feedback being
received from SDC up to two years after it had ceased to be relevant
or helpful. Any future independent assurance mechanism needs to
be undertaken quickly to have value.
- It is very difficult to attribute savings as
solely accruing from SDC recommendations, as savings are made
from a combination of the different initiatives in place at any
To what extent does the SDC's Sustainable Development
in Government (SDiG) reporting process provide an effective means
of monitoring the Department's performance?
- The principle of reporting through the SDIG process
is more than adequate to monitor departmental performance. However,
the scope of questioning needs to remain static wherever possible
to give an accurate year-on-year picture of progress, with departments
being given adequate lead in periods for the gathering of new
data. The size and scale of departments also needs to receive
greater consideration, as each department has its own difficulties
in delivering against targets, increasing with that department's
scale of operation.
- Performance against the
last published Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate
targets is available online.
How does the Department verify the data it submits
on Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) targets?
How might the submission and verification procedure be improved
under the new SDiG process?
- The Department verifies internally the returns
from its estates and business travel suppliers on energy, waste,
water, travel etc. Energy has in the past been subjected to an
external scrutiny (by Parsons Brinckerhof) to assess system compliance
and data accuracy and completeness. In addition, the Department's
internal assurance team, Risk and Assurance Division, have undertaken
audits of sustainability and operational data/information.
- Currently, SDiG provides a high degree of assurance
by identifying performance outside of expectations but there is
no third party verification of departmental returns. It is essential
that independent audits, perhaps by the National Audit Office,
take place on sustainability reports to ensure and demonstrate
consistency and robustness of data. There is the opportunity for
this to be built into the new SDIG process. However, care will
need to be taken to ensure that the added to the length of the
reporting process and any attendant increase in costs demonstrates
value for money. This could be undertaken through "system
audit" of the processes involved in departments and the sampling
of actual data, thereby assessing the robustness of the process
whilst being relatively light touch. This could allow the assurance
to be undertaken quickly (i.e. ongoing assurance of data throughout
the reporting year) to maximise its value.
- As part of any reporting process it is important
to recognise past improvements, as these will always affect an
organisation's ability to deliver further savings. Currently,
there is insufficient recognition of current position when developing
future targets, which could be addressed by comparing performance
to best practice benchmarks as well as ongoing targets.
15 October 2010
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