Fleet News

Met police settles maintenance contract dispute

THE Metropolitan Police has resolved the dispute with the Venson Group over its outsourced vehicle servicing and maintenance contract, which saw a quarter of the force's vehicles off the road every day needing repairs. Problems surfaced with the seven-year £53 million contract in March when the police launched an inquiry into the quality of maintenance of its 3,500-vehicle fleet after officers raised safety concerns.

The decision led to questions about the value of outsourcing the maintenance of police fleets and criticism in the House of Commons after it was revealed that during April, 864 of the force's 3,991 vehicles were off the road for maintenance each day. A further 1,000 vehicles were subject to a 'cautionary recall'.

Grant Scriven, Venson's chairman and chief executive, announced the company now had the Met's 'full support' and a series of measures had been put in place to ensure the requirements were fully met: 'I am delighted that after 10 weeks of uncertainty we can now move forward with renewed confidence and a total commitment on all sides.'

The changes to the contract include stopping the company sub-contracting some of its work to independent workshops, the use of a 14-point safety inspection plan whenever a vehicle comes in for work and the establishment of a safety committee, including police drivers, to meet every three months and make recommendations direct to Venson. The company will also be given control of three or four Met police workshops, which previously had no role in the contract.

Met Police Commander Graham James said: 'Both parties are now confident the fleet is safe and a high standard of work will continue in the future. We have now established an improved working relationship with Venson.'

The Met has also made it a disciplinary offence for an officer not to check a vehicle for safety defects before and after a shift.

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