CASE STUDY: Capita
Capita is using its experience and expertise to help local authorities across the UK, from Renfrewshire to Blackburn, reach their sustainability targets.
In August 2021, the Scottish Government set clear guidelines for assessing the air quality in all teaching areas. East Renfrewshire Council worked with Capita to identify schools which required initial interventions to be made. Capita then delivered a pilot and scaled fast to implement sensors in every teaching space in the area, gathering the data in a digital dashboard.
If air quality monitoring had needed to be done manually, doing this in every teaching area in East Renfrewshire would have required teaching and property staff spending valuable time and resource gathering all the data for individual rooms, on an ongoing and regular basis. Instead, the installation of a remote monitoring system allows the staff to carry out their normal teaching and property duties while the data is collated automatically.
The project is helping East Renfrewshire Council be a leading local authority where technology helps create a better quality of life for all. Its approach was to think big, start small and scale fast. It was very capable of the first two points – but knew it would need a partner for the third.
The Council collaborated with Capita to create a pilot case study using Capita Innovation funding to deliver the first stage of this project in very quick timescales. Once the benefits became clear, it scaled fast. Sensors were deployed in every high school, primary school and pre-5 classroom in East Renfrewshire in short order.
These sensors take real-time readings not only of CO2, but environmental factors like temperature and humidity. The data is then collected in digital dashboards which can be tracked by individual schools and Council-wide, so necessary remediations can be spotted in real time and acted on.
In a space of three months, the deployment of intelligent sensors across East Renfrewshire schools – and the wider area – had started to enable a host of benefits to the Council and citizens. The Council was able to put its limited resources to better use. And data was providing real insight on trends and intelligence to inform better decision-making – even helping the Council deliver on its Climate Change agenda.
The programme then progressed with a greater understanding of priority locations for remediation and the characteristics or key indicators of causal effects – including the impact of layout or location, weather and even light strength.
Innovation and digital transformation is now creating a safer learning environment for pupils and staff across East Renfrewshire.
Blackburn with Darwin
Capita also helped Blackburn with Darwen Council to secure funding and various planning / listed buildings consents for a programme that will significantly reduce the carbon footprint and fuel bills of 23 council buildings, through the installation of sustainable power, heating, and management technologies.
Capita was originally appointed by the Council to provide technical oversight of its Public Sector Decarbonisation Funding (PSDS) bid administer by Salix, which provides grants for public bodies to fund heat decarbonisation and other energy efficiency measures.
As a result, the Council secured £2.25 million, which is expected to help the authority reduce emissions by 290 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Capita was appointed to implement the schemes, including providing town planning, building regulations, building surveying, technical design services and project management to ensure all projects are completed within the agreed time scales.
The funding supports 23 separate schemes including the installation of solar PV Arrays , LED lighting, air source heat pumps, upgrading and replacement of building management systems, and fabric alterations in several public buildings, including leisure centres, Grade II Listed Town Hall and Wharf buildings, commercial office spaces and early learning day centres.
There has been a number of challenges with planning that required special considerations. Two of the schemes have required interventions to Grade II listed building and have required sympathetic design input and liaising with the local authority Conservation Officers to obtain the required consents for the works.
These projects will reduce emissions from the Council’s estate by around 5 per cent and reduce energy bills by over £400,000 a year. All of the buildings are continuing to be occupied during the works, which has been well planned to minimise any disruption to the end users.
Now that the funding and application processes are completed, Capita is helping to make sure the winning schemes are within the agreed time scales and within the allotted budget.