Agenda Item No.11(b)
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING: 28 SEPTEMBER 2015
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 7 SEPTEMBER 2015
C2894 CORPORATE POOL CAR SCHEME PROGRESS REPORT (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Cabinet was updated on the staff pool car pilot and authority was sought to introduce an authority wide pool car scheme.
Prior to April 2015, the vast majority of Council staff were not provided with access to a Council vehicle, which contributed to an annual "grey fleet" mileage claim of over 1.2 million miles per year. Staff mileage claims amounted to £776,593 in the financial year 2013/14, spread between 1124 claimants, with an average claim amount of £690.92. A key recommendation of the Council's Transport Savings Programme (approved by Cabinet in January 2015 Minute No. C2623 referred) required the setup of a corporate pool car scheme in order to reduce the cost of "grey-fleet" mileage.
In February 2015, following the decisions of Cabinet, the Council's Corporate Management team endorsed the establishment of a pilot driver registration and pool car scheme, to commence April 2015, including approval of a Draft Policy attached at Appendix A to the report. Administration support for the scheme was provided by the Business Support team in Visible Services, including the costing of one current full time administrator into the projected savings. Registration onto the scheme also provided employees with the opportunity to make online bookings for the corporate pool car scheme.
In order to support the pilot, a fleet of 40 small passenger vehicles were procured via a short term hire arrangement and situated at 4 key sites (Civic Offices, Alps Depot, Dock Office, Court Road Depot). The Council scheme was projected to save approximately £80,000-£100,000 per annum, although those projections relied upon the purchase, as opposed to hire, of cost efficient pool vehicles.
The initial 3 month pilot for the Driver Registration and Pool Car scheme had concluded. Approximately 884 users had registered for the Driver Scheme, enabling checks of insurance and licence requirements for "grey fleet" drivers to be carried out with increased accuracy and efficiency and in accordance with VOSA guidelines.
There was an average monthly saving of £11,854, and, whilst the reduction in the mileage rate paid via claims from £0.65 to £0.525 could be attributed to £7,453 of the average monthly saving, an average monthly saving of £4,401 could be directly attributable to the use of pool cars as indicated in the savings column shown shaded in Appendix B attached to the report. Savings were limited by the current spot hire arrangement for the pool car fleet. The potential to purchase vehicles outright via either a recognised procurement framework or via e-auction, in order to support the scheme in the long term, would enable an estimated additional £6,000 per month to be saved.
Consideration had been given to the most cost effective way of procuring appropriate vehicles. Due to the value of the purchase the procurement exercise would be subject to OJEU thresholds. To expedite the process consideration was given to using an established framework agreement rather than running a full tender process internally. Crown Commercial Services (CCS), an executive agency of UK government, had an established framework for this category of fleet which exploited economies of scale by combining the purchasing power of the UK public sector.
As such it was proposed that the use of a reverse electronic auction was the most cost effective way of procuring the required vehicles. CCS auctions were set at 6 monthly intervals with the next available auction scheduled for 22 October, 2015. Should this date not be met the next auction was not until February 2016. As the current vehicles were costing £17,500 per month in total to operate, it was proposed that Cabinet exercise the use of urgency procedures in order to realise the maximum savings via an earlier procurement process.
Several barriers remained before full take-up of the scheme could be achieved. During the pilot scheme, exemptions were provided without significant challenge to the chief officers requesting or supporting the exemption on behalf of their staff. In addition, the lack of vehicles available at high mileage user bases such as Barry Hospital had limited the potential uptake of the scheme to certain user groups. All exemption requests plus all instances where a booking request was refused due to unavailability of a vehicle were recorded by the Business Support team (a summary was provided at Appendix D attached to the report). In addition, a recent sample audit of mileage claims had determined that certain mileage claims were being submitted and approved without being accompanied by an authorising exemption code, as required by the pool car policy.
Based on the feedback received via a Staffnet survey, staff reaction to the implementation of the scheme had been largely favourable. However, several learnings had been taken from the pilot implementation and such learnings had either been designed into the existing pilot Scheme or would be incorporated into the permanent version of the scheme.
Expansion of the scheme over the next 6 months would require the further integration of departments and locations currently exempt from the Scheme. The Business Support team were working with department heads to determine the best approach to achieve this integration.
Changes to the scheme were also required to address the issue that a large percentage of the vehicles remained under utilised during evenings/nights/weekends and bank holidays. Potential consideration would be given to the expansion of the Scheme to include private hire of vehicles to Council staff, organised groups or members of the public, similar to the development of a car club and mini-bus hire schemes by Edinburgh University and Monmouth County Council respectively. Any such proposals would be put forward at a later date for consideration by Cabinet.
At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services gave thanks to officers for working on progressing this successful scheme.
Also, the Director for Environment and Housing Services commented that the Council needed to be proud of this scheme which in its infancy was not without its challenges. Currently, the scheme was used by 50% of staff who drive to undertake Council business and the target was to reach 75% take up.
One of the main reasons that staff who drive to undertake Council business were not using the scheme was due to access to vehicle bases and he ensured that this would be addressed by extending coverage of the scheme.
The Director concluded that other Councils were interested in coming to the Vale after hearing about the success of the scheme to see it in operation.
This was a matter for Executive decision
(2) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Environment and Housing Services to procure, via reverse electronic auction, 40 small, fuel efficient vehicles in order to realise the full savings required from the scheme, with the option of purchasing up to a further 10 vehicles to meet future requirements of the scheme. The vehicles required are to be funded from the current Vehicle Replacement Budget for 2015/16.
(3) T H A T in terms of resolution 2 above, the use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised.
Reasons for decisions
(2) To provide the necessary authority to procure via reverse electronic auction a fleet of vehicles capable of maximising the savings required from the scheme, replacing the current passenger vehicle hire agreement.
(3) To ensure that the next Electronic auction deadline for submission of specification of 16 September, 2015 was met in order that the maximum vehicle procurement savings can be realised.