He says: “My view is that we’re a public sector organisation and if it’s good enough to do the job then why wouldn’t we buy it?”
One of Leaves’s other challenges is insurance costs which have risen year-on-year over the past four years.
“It’s not because our accident rate is going up, it’s because the actual claims cost is going up,” says Leaves.
“Our accident rate is fairly stable but the claims culture nowadays is such that it pushes the cost up and that’s where we’re finding it difficult. We manage accidents in-house, but there may be a more cost-effective way of doing it.”
The council is also currently working with Hampshire Fire and Rescue and Hampshire Constabulary to share services.
One of the areas being looked at is transport and fleet as all three organisations have fleets of various sizes, back office staff and fleet managers.
“We’re looking at the possibility of partnership working, which may well lead to one fleet department,” says Leaves. “The idea is to create resilience and deliver cost savings.”
With continuing Government cut-backs he thinks that Hampshire County Council’s fleet size is likely to reduce in the future.
“We’ll just have to try and survive it,” he says.
How AlphaCity works
AlphaCity operates on a leasing model.
Customers pay a standard monthly contract hire rate, which varies depending on the model, term and mileage, plus a 20-25% premium for hardware and management services.
The premium includes monthly vehicle checks and cleaning, vehicle branding if required, maintenance and accident management, insurance if required, an online booking tool, membership cards to access the vehicle and a 24/7 customer service team – rather than the company’s fleet manager or reception dealing with driver queries.
The fleet can also offer vehicles for private use and choose to charge employees to book cars for personal use.
The proceeds can be used to offset some of the cost of the scheme.
To avoid benefit-in-kind taxation, companies should set private use at local market rates.
All AlphaCity cars are BMW and Mini models – primarily so that BMW’s factory-fit telematics and communication platform (BMW Connected/Mini Connected) can be used. It also enables keyless entry and keyless stop-start.
Unlike car clubs, which are usually based in cities, companies can choose the area or geo-fence where the vehicle can be on and off hired. For instance, a company could select its office locations.