Grant Palmer

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Grant Palmer's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Grant Palmer is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.grantpalmer.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | GRANT PALMER
Managing Director GrantPalmer
and his wife, Emma
One of our environmentally-
friendly buses out on route
Managing Director Grant Palmer says that his firm
is Bedfordshire’s bus company. Its priority, he tells
TheParliamentary Review
, is getting people to where
they want or need to be. Family values have been integral to
the company’s operation for more than 20 years – indeed, just
last year in 2019, the company celebrated its 20th anniversary
of providing commercial bus services to the Bedfordshire area
andbeyond.
We are a family owned and run business, providing a network of local bus and
contract bus services right across Bedfordshire.
I set the business up myself in 1999 after leaving Arriva, where I had been working
in bus engineering and maintenance. With a £15,000 bank loan secured against
my family home, I bought two used double deck buses and started providing
contract school bus services for a local council. My father had run his own bus
company some years prior, and it was my memory and experience of this that
drove me to start a business of my own. Once I was set up, I worked hard to take
the small steps necessary to move the business forward.
Since my business partner, David Shelley, joined in 2015, there have been
significant changes and we now see ourselves as a very progressive, customer and
quality-focused business, with a track record to prove it. We are not resting on our
laurels, and there are still many exciting opportunities out there for us.
FACTS ABOUT
GRANT PALMER
»Managing Director:
GrantPalmer
»Shareholders: Grant Palmer
and David Shelley
»Founded in 1999
»Located in Flitwick,
Bedfordshire
»Services: Commercial bus
service
»No. of employees: 75
»No. of buses: 35
»Turnover: £4.3 million
Grant Palmer
31GRANT PALMER |
AUTOMOTIVE
Family values
We are a family business, centred on
family values. This means the senior
managers like to know everybody
in the business, and ensure they
always have time for a friendly “good
morning” and “how are you” for
our staff. We work hard to treat
everybody as part of the family, with
shift patterns ensuring a healthy work-
life balance, and a focus on individual
health needs too.
This approach also extends to our
customers. We listen carefully to the
feedback we receive, and regularly
make changes as a result of this. We
encourage our staff to recognise the
individual needs and personalities of
our customers, empowering them with
flexibility when they need it.
This focus means it is common to see
our managers out and about, driving
or talking to customers, sometimes
even dropping off valuable lost
property at a customer’s home to
save them a trip, or rushing out to
deal with delays or disruption to a
passenger’sjourney.
Just the ticket
Our annual passenger numbers have
been rising for a number of years now,
with double-digit annual percentage
growth on a number of routes, in
particular those serving new housing
areas springing up across the South
Midlands. This growth is attributable
to a combination of value for money,
reliability, and stability. We pride
ourselves on offering a stable and well-
connected network and we endeavour
to keep our services as consistent as
possible, avoiding unnecessary change.
Keeping the business at a manageable
size has also proved essential, allowing
us to remain in touch with everything
that goes on within it, ranging from
our revenue to our staff, our costs to
our customers. This means we can
focus on attention to detail, including
in often neglected areas such as bus
cleaning and staff training.
Investing in our network
Two brand-new Enviro200 single
deck buses were delivered in 2016,
kick-starting a programme of annual Old and new: our 1965
London Routemaster
next to one of our
modern buses
Annual
passenger
numbers have
been rising for
a number of
years now,
with double-
digit annual
percentage
growth on a
number of
routes
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | GRANT PALMER
Managing Director GrantPalmer
and his wife, Emma
One of our environmentally-
friendly buses out on route
Managing Director Grant Palmer says that his firm
is Bedfordshire’s bus company. Its priority, he tells
TheParliamentary Review
, is getting people to where
they want or need to be. Family values have been integral to
the company’s operation for more than 20 years – indeed, just
last year in 2019, the company celebrated its 20th anniversary
of providing commercial bus services to the Bedfordshire area
andbeyond.
We are a family owned and run business, providing a network of local bus and
contract bus services right across Bedfordshire.
I set the business up myself in 1999 after leaving Arriva, where I had been working
in bus engineering and maintenance. With a £15,000 bank loan secured against
my family home, I bought two used double deck buses and started providing
contract school bus services for a local council. My father had run his own bus
company some years prior, and it was my memory and experience of this that
drove me to start a business of my own. Once I was set up, I worked hard to take
the small steps necessary to move the business forward.
Since my business partner, David Shelley, joined in 2015, there have been
significant changes and we now see ourselves as a very progressive, customer and
quality-focused business, with a track record to prove it. We are not resting on our
laurels, and there are still many exciting opportunities out there for us.
FACTS ABOUT
GRANT PALMER
»Managing Director:
GrantPalmer
»Shareholders: Grant Palmer
and David Shelley
»Founded in 1999
»Located in Flitwick,
Bedfordshire
»Services: Commercial bus
service
»No. of employees: 75
»No. of buses: 35
»Turnover: £4.3 million
Grant Palmer
31GRANT PALMER |
AUTOMOTIVE
Family values
We are a family business, centred on
family values. This means the senior
managers like to know everybody
in the business, and ensure they
always have time for a friendly “good
morning” and “how are you” for
our staff. We work hard to treat
everybody as part of the family, with
shift patterns ensuring a healthy work-
life balance, and a focus on individual
health needs too.
This approach also extends to our
customers. We listen carefully to the
feedback we receive, and regularly
make changes as a result of this. We
encourage our staff to recognise the
individual needs and personalities of
our customers, empowering them with
flexibility when they need it.
This focus means it is common to see
our managers out and about, driving
or talking to customers, sometimes
even dropping off valuable lost
property at a customer’s home to
save them a trip, or rushing out to
deal with delays or disruption to a
passenger’sjourney.
Just the ticket
Our annual passenger numbers have
been rising for a number of years now,
with double-digit annual percentage
growth on a number of routes, in
particular those serving new housing
areas springing up across the South
Midlands. This growth is attributable
to a combination of value for money,
reliability, and stability. We pride
ourselves on offering a stable and well-
connected network and we endeavour
to keep our services as consistent as
possible, avoiding unnecessary change.
Keeping the business at a manageable
size has also proved essential, allowing
us to remain in touch with everything
that goes on within it, ranging from
our revenue to our staff, our costs to
our customers. This means we can
focus on attention to detail, including
in often neglected areas such as bus
cleaning and staff training.
Investing in our network
Two brand-new Enviro200 single
deck buses were delivered in 2016,
kick-starting a programme of annual Old and new: our 1965
London Routemaster
next to one of our
modern buses
Annual
passenger
numbers have
been rising for
a number of
years now,
with double-
digit annual
percentage
growth on a
number of
routes
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | GRANT PALMER
fleet improvement. These British-built
buses have been followed with two
more each year in 2017 and 2018.
This year we will receive our first of
the latest Euro 6 MMC model, and
an investment of £140,000. These
new buses have all served to increase
capacity and improve reliability,
and helped cope with the increased
demand for transport, which saw a
20 per cent rise in passengers over
the years prior. The number of buses
owned by Grant Palmer Ltd has now
expanded to 35, with 60 drivers
supported by six engineers.
Investment has not just been in
buses, with a dashcam system called
Lytx introduced to improve safety,
multicamera CCTV installed on all
buses to protect our staff, customers
and vehicles, investment in computer-
assisted scheduling, and also in
marketing, branding and customer
information. It can be very easy to
forget the basics, and we work very
hard not to.
Political headwinds
We are very optimistic about the
future, and the opportunities that will
present themselves, despite structural
concerns in the bus industry. The last
few years have seen many smaller
businesses cease trading for one
reason or another, but we are in a
good place, financially strong and with
excellent people.
The situation in local government
has been challenging, with pressure
exerted on budgets and public policy.
Our approach, however, has been
positive, working closely with our local
authority partners to support them
as we can, and making the best of
the funding and opportunities that
are available, not least from new
housing development. This partnership
approach has meant we have been
able to deliver a stable network and
still achieve passenger growth during a
difficult decade for local government.
Bright future
Once the current national political
challenges are out of the way, there is
a great opportunity for government to
get a grip on transport policy.
Buses have the ability to play
a very important part in that,
improving connectivity, helping with
social inclusion, and supporting
development. We are very proud that
for the communities of Bedfordshire,
we are playing such an important role
in this already.
We are very
proud that
forthe
communities
of Bedfordshire
we are playing
such an
important
role
Our brand-new 2019
model vehicles from
Alexander Dennis

www.grantpalmer.com

This article was sponsored by Grant Palmer. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development