MOSL selects CGI for water central market system

28 October 2015

The development of a competitive market within the English suppliers of water and waste water retail services was set out by Water Act 2014. On the back of experience in the development of competitive markets, Market Operator Services Limited has selected CGI and Bridgeall to develop and implement the technical side of the new market. CGI will provide a central market operating system that runs on its secure cloud service, while Bridgeall will develop the sub-system that calculates the primary charges for water and waste water services.

The UK Government established the Water Act 2014 to provide a guiding framework for the development of a market within the suppliers of water and waste water retail services. The act will allow 1.2 million businesses and other non-household customers primarily located in England with a choice of supplier. The competitive market is set to be operational by April 2017 and is being developed by three organisations: Defra, Ofwat and Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL).

MOSL was created to deliver the operational capabilities to support the creation of the market, and is charged with developing and implementing the systems and processes that are to enable customers to switch between suppliers.

UK Government Water Act 2014

The deal between consulting firm CGI and MOSL will see CGI’s central market system deployed by MOSL in its development of a central market operating system (CMOS) to run the competitive market system. The CMOS will provide a platform through which retailers and wholesalers can interact. The CMOS will be hosted and operated on CGI’s secure commercial cloud. The English water market instantiation of the solution will be specifically configured to meet the demands of the Market Architecture Plan (MAP) developed for the scheme.

As part of the contract, CGI partners with technology consultancy provider Bridgeall. Both parties will bring their experience developing the competitive water market that opened in Scotland in 2008 to their new relationship. Bridgeall in particular will leverage its expertise in the development of a sub-system that calculates the primary charges for water and waste water services, passing them on to the relevant wholesalers and retailers.

Stephen Beer and Tara McGeehan

“This is a very exciting time for the water industry,” explains Tara McGeehan, Vice-President, Energy & Utilities for CGI in the UK. “Competition for non-household customers will create new business opportunities for many operators. At the same time, water market competition will help to drive innovation, as well as offer customers improved service at lower cost.” Commenting on the partnership, she adds: “We are delighted to be working with MOSL to deliver its new central market operating system. We have a very tight timescale to design, build and implement the system, but by working in partnership with all the key stakeholders and leveraging our central market systems experience, we will develop a system that will make competition work for the water industry.”

Stephen Beer, Managing Director of Bridgeall, comments: “Bridgeall’s experience in the design, development and operation of central systems in the Scottish water market will be valuable in addressing the challenges faced by MOSL in the UK. We are uniquely positioned to make a very significant contribution to the success of the Core Market Operator System for the English market.”



How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.