Agenda Item No. 9 











Cabinet had, on 8th September, 2014, received a report which provided an update on the work being undertaken to review the Council’s current transport arrangements.  Cabinet had also been requested to determine the actions and resource profile required for the introduction of a comprehensive transport savings programme.  The report had been referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration as the Lead Committee for the service area with a further resolution that the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) also receive the report for information.


The Chairman subsequently advised Members that any comments / recommendations made would need to be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) in the first instance and that that Committee was due to consider the report at its meeting on 15th October, 2014.  Prior to the meeting a presentation on vehicle telemetry was also to take place which all Members of the Council had been invited to. 


In considering the report it was noted that the requirement to review significant areas of the current spend, including arrangements related to vehicle transport had been highlighted via the Council’s 2012/13 Medium Term Financial Plan.  In December 2013 a diagnostic review of transport arrangements had been commissioned by the Corporate Management Team in order to identify what process improvements and significant cashable savings in respect of transport operations of the Council.  The project had been sponsored by the Director of Visible Services and Housing and project managed by the Senior Business Improvement Partner.  Following a competitive tendering process, Edge Public Solutions had been selected to perform the diagnostic review supported by a member of the Council’s Business Improvement Team.


The resulting document entitled 'Vale of Glamorgan Transport Review’ was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and provided a detailed assessment of the current transport arrangements and scope for improvement across the service areas culminating in a series of recommendations for improvement. 


The Director of Visible Services and Housing advised Members that prior to the transport review being undertaken £690,000 worth of savings had already been highlighted by service managers for the financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16 and that further recommendations provided by Edge identified an estimated £900,000 additional savings.  The review document also provided Members with details of both an assessment of the existing transport related savings plans and a high level road map for savings and processing improvements.  It was noted that in general the review had been complementary of the staff and services provided by the authority and an assessment of the management of individual services relating to transport was found to range from adequate to excellent.  However, concern was expressed in the report regarding the current fragmentation of transport arrangements within the authority. 

A diagnostic review had been conducted between February and April 2014 and interviews and work studies had been held with over 60 staff and suppliers during the course of the review.  The review provided critical guidance relating to the current management and operation of Fleet Management and Garage services, including the requirement of improved management controls relating to the motor vehicle workshop in order to improve productivity and efficiency and to enhance control over parts and stock management. 


Increased use of available technologies in the garage was recommended in order to improve both customer and management information.  The report also highlighted the need for a fully integrated Fleet Management Information Technology System if a co-ordinated approach to Fleet Management was to be achieved. 


A further recommendation to review the current operating process and competences for Fleet Management and Administration was made available within the report in order to ensure that both administrators and managers were able to efficiently prioritise and manage workloads.  An overarching criticism of current transport arrangements referred to the review of the option that service managers acted in isolation regarding transport arrangements with varying degrees of co-ordination and communication between departments when arranging similar transport provision.  The review concluded that no single team or service was able to achieve an holistic view of transport decisions being made across the authority and in order to achieve the holistic approach recommended that a central Integrated Transport Unit (ITU) be set up in order to transform the current management of transport arrangements, positively change their relationship between client and provider and effectively adjust levels of autonomy and control.  However, the Director of Visible Services and Housing advised that the Transport Savings Steering Group although recognising the potential value for a central Integrated Transport Unit, expressed concerns at the cost of setting up such a unit and deemed them to be prohibitive although they recognised the benefits of co-ordinating several aspects of transport management and considered the potential transfer of additional learning needs post 16 and Social Services Transport Management and administration functions to the existing transport function within Development Services.  It was also recognised that further work was required to quantify the adjustments to ensure that such a proposal was viable.  However, the creation of the diagnostic review and the accompanying resource profile had provided the Council with a documented series of objectives regarding information management.  The Council would also require a co-ordinated and timely approach to the implementation of the accepted recommendations if it was to achieve the savings and service improvements identified within the required time periods. 


The Director assured Members that he would continue to bring regular reports to the Scrutiny Committee on Fleet Management for their consideration. 


Although recognising that it was a comprehensive report, in referring to the Tier 3 Driver Staff Travel project Members stated that the Council needed to be mindful of equal opportunities.  In referring to paragraph 24 and the current mileage claim rate, Members also raised concerns as to why the rate had not been introduced over previous years, with the Director advising that the Vale was one of the only Councils who paid at the HMRC rate but discussions were ongoing with the trade unions in respect of this matter. Members also queried the cost to the Vale of monitoring and processing all tax forms (P11D) and the Director being unable to provide the information on the night agreed to contact the relevant Department prior to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) meeting on 15th October, 2014. 


In considering the report Members urged the Director to implement any of the recommendations that could be addressed, as soon as possible.  They also recognised that the issue of staff taking Council transport home had been addressed by the Director recently, but queried whether this had been addressed across all Departments the Director responded by advising that it had.  It was also a firm view of Members that there should be a sound business case if staff were required to take their vehicles home. 


Having fully considered the report it was subsequently


RECOMMENDED - T H A T the above comments of the Scrutiny Committee be relayed to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) in time for its meeting on 15th October, 2014.


Reason for recommendation


In view of the contents of the report and the comments made at the meeting.'