S & G Response

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by S & G Response'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 S & G Response 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


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Managing Director
Team fundraising in support
of mental health awareness
Managing Director Andy Whatmough says that S&G
Response – which celebrated its tenth anniversary last
year – is “a true automotive solutions provider”. In
2018 alone, the firm processed more than 120,000 claims, and
turned over £36 million. Andy says now that S&G has become
established, the aim is simple: becoming a market leader in
technology-enabled solutions to the automotive industry.
In August 2009, S&G Response was little more than an idea on a blank piece of
paper, motivated by our ambition and vision for the future. Ten years later, our
business is fully established, providing industry-leading automotive solutions to
various stakeholders in the motor market including insurers, brokers, self-insured
fleets, vehicle manufacturers and intermediaries.
Phase one: blank sheet of paper
After the decision to leave our predecessor, which was sold in 2008, Nick Stone,
Nik Griffiths and I decided to found S&G Response. As such, we found ourselves
with the legacy of a sale and purchase agreement with the associated restrictive
covenants. We established ourselves two weeks before the collapse of Lehman
Brothers, an event that triggered the global financial crisis and subsequent
reduction in available credit, which was less than ideal.
Nik, Nick and I felt that the fastest way to get our engine revving was to service a
niche part of the market for a limited number of people, and as such we focused
on providing vehicles for people who were involved in motor incidents that they
were not responsible for. We found this model to be profitable, but it was also
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2009
»Located in Wilmslow, Cheshire
»Services: Fully outsourced
claims processing on behalf of
stakeholders in the UK motor
claims market
»No. of employees: 104
S & G Response
highly cash-intensive, resulting in
a negative cashflow position after
growth through 2009 to 2013.
Phase two: investing in IT and
software development
Our next major decision was to
broaden our focus to the reduction and
mitigation of insurance claim costs. This
focus was delivered through expansion
of the vehicle repair network, which
demanded the enhancement and
development of our call centre facilities.
After this evolution within the business,
we began to engage in providing cost
mitigation solutions for those involved
in motor incidents; we were effectively
replicating all the services one would
expect to find in a modern insurance
company by the year 2015.
The advantage of beginning with a
blank sheet of paper meant that we
were in a prime position to use and
invest in cutting-edge technology and
software, in contrast with insurance
companies who have a tendency to
be constrained by a historical legacy.
Our reason for operating the way we
do is to provide services faster, more
efficiently, on a larger scale and more
nimbly than our customers could do
independently. We currently work with
nine different insurance companies,
three vehicle manufacturers and eight
self-insured fleets, and we handle in
excess of 10,000 claims a month with
some accounts set for rapid growth in
the next 12 months.
The second phase in our development
has seen a substantial investment in IT,
with the department representing over
15 per cent of our overall headcount.
We believe that ongoing investment
in the latest technology and bespoke
software development allows us
to provide the most cost-effective
solutions possible. Investment in this
key area allows us to drive efficiencies
and ensure we are one of the most
productive companies in our niche.
Our core values
At S&G Response our values are
essential. Our values are embedded
into how we approach our work, from
the board to the newest member of
the team. Our values were created
by our employees, as they are
fundamental to our business and are
the best indicator of what we stand
for. They are:
»Commitment – we are committed to
each other, our customers, and the
service we provide
»Accountability – all about taking
ownership for what we do and how
we do it
»Integrity – doing the right thing,
right, for the right reasons
»Teamwork – working together to
achieve our goals
»Innovative simplicity – generating
great ideas, simply
Phase three: investing in our
Today we have evolved to a phase that
allows us to provide solutions to the
challenges our clients may face, and
to demonstrate the value of what we S&G has an active
apprenticeship training
scheme; the class of
2018 receive theirawards
Our reason for
operating the
way we do is
to provide
services faster,
efficiently, on
a larger scale
and more
nimbly than
our customers
could do
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
have achieved over the past decade.
This includes a development of our
relationships with our customers
and an increase in the number of
Thanks to the fact we operate in an
unconventional way, we are able to be
far more reactive to issues that present
themselves and proactive regarding
external factors. We remain one of
the only privately owned businesses in
the industry, which has the advantage
of allowing decisions to be made
effectively and swiftly.
Our third phase allows us to invest
far more in people, both in terms
of general wellbeing and technical
training. S&G Response has recently
been ranked 68 among the 75 Best
Companies to work for in the North
West by The Sunday Times, and we
plan to reach the national leaderboard
in the near future.
Evolutionary flux
We find that the UK motor market is
always in a state of evolutionary flux,
but it is subject to basic economic
pressures which mean there will always
be an increase in claims costs. Costs
will always increase for any number of
reasons, ranging from the impact of
new technology in vehicles to the skills
shortage in the repair market.
We also face more basic challenges,
such as the need for development
capital and cash for a business such
as this. In recent years, we have
remodelled to allow for a defined
payment period, which means we are
paid on accelerated terms. This further
allows us to invest in the business and
our people, from offering opportunities
of education through qualifications to
providing a range of benefits including
free breakfasts, enhanced holidays and
pension package.
A future to live up to our past
We endeavour to create a future for
the business that can be as bright, if
not brighter, than our past. The point
of discussion around the board table
at present is the demographic of our
board – three members are under the
age of 40, which we feel provides us
with the required energy to perform as
leaders in industry.
This is coupled with the years of
industry and technical knowledge
our more experienced team members
bring to the table, ensuring we
operate within a “best of both worlds”
environment. Looking to the future,
we hope to diversify horizontally, while
remaining true to our core policies.
Our future, we are confident, will live
up to our past.
We endeavour
to create a
future for the
business that
can be as
bright, if not
brighter, than
our past
Andy Whatmough, Nick
Stone, Dan Chesney and
Paul Wilkinson present
a cheque to Manchester
charity Street Support
after raising funds on
their behalf


This article was sponsored by S & G Response. 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