Fleet News

Call for Government fleet 'tsar' to reign in Whitehall car costs

A FLEET 'tsar' should be appointed by the Government to take strategic charge of vehicle operations across all 18 Whitehall departments, according to fleet industry experts.

The demand comes after a FNN investigation revealed few departments had exact numbers, details and values of the vehicles operated.

The call would put the Government on a par with some big business and would significantly improve strategic and operational efficiencies, it was claimed this week.

Details of Government-owned vehicles and their net book values at March 31, 2000 operated by all departments and their executive agencies, but excluding non-departmental public bodies, were revealed for the first time in the new National Asset Register, published by the Treasury.

It contains a comprehensive list and valuation of all assets owned by Government departments and executive agencies.

It revealed few departments could provide complete details on their fleets. Among those that could were the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments, which includes the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise, and the Department of Social Security, both of which published a description of their fleet policy along with the type of vehicles operated, size of fleet and its net book value.

By contrast some departments were unable to say how many vehicles they operated but were able to attach a value to their fleet operation, and vice-versa.

The Home Office lists a fleet of 225 vehicles but has no value for them; while the Driving Standards Agency is credited with operating an unknown number of vehicles, but they are given a net book value of £966,000.

ACFO chairman Tony Leigh said: 'There should be an overall fleet controller within the Government who is responsible for setting strategy, best practice and reporting on key operational decisions. The Government should be able to report on all its vehicles, what they cost and how much they are worth. That is what happens in many major UK companies.'

Stan Ayling, head of transport, travel and the environment at the Inland Revenue, said: 'Logically, Government outsiders would say that there should be a fleet supremo. But it would be very difficult because all departments are individually funded and are very protective of their patches.'

  • Read the full investigation in this week's Fleet News - out today. For a subscription to Fleet News, click here.

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