PFIs featured heavily in the general election build-up as the Labour Party campaigned to introduce private sector finance and management skills into the public sector. Other public sector fleets will be closely monitoring Nottinghamshire Police's strategy.
At last year's Association of Police Fleet Managers' annual conference, in-house staff were warned that they had to balance safety with cutting costs to avoid losing their jobs. Venson claims it will create 20 new jobs in Nottingham, including skilled technicians, administrators and customer service staff. The automotive services company already has the contract to repair and maintain the Metropolitan Police fleet, an arrangement that ran into serious trouble last year after complaints about maintenance standards and safety.
At the time, Police Minister Charles Clarke revealed that 864 of the Met's 3,991 vehicles were off the road for maintenance every day. A spokesman for the Met, however, said that the contract was now proceeding smoothly with new quality audits in place. With Nottinghamshire Police, Venson will invest £4.5 million in vehicle acquisition and in a purpose-built infrastructure housing a technical facility and command and control centre. It has also assigned £3.5 million for procuring new vehicles, and will work with the police to identify the right choice of vehicle.