The Met has a 3,600-strong fleet, for which Lex will provide damage repair and maintenance. Lex Vehicle Leasing will deliver short and medium-term rental vehicles.
The new contract marks the end of the seven-year deal between the Met and fleet management firm Venson. That deal kick-started a debate over the wisdom of outsourcing emergency services fleet management, thanks to some high-profile problems with the serviceability of the fleet in 2000. Lex has created a new emergency services division to manage the Met, and hopes to add to the division over time.
As well as dedicated emergency services facilities and staff, Lex will also install a bespoke fleet management system to try and increase vehicle availability.
The contract begins in April 2006, but Met and Lex staff have already formed an implementation team to ensure a smooth handover.
Stuart Middleton, the Met’s director of transport services, said: ‘We welcome Lex Transfleet as an important future supplier to help the police keep London safe.
‘We congratulate the company on winning what has been a hard fought and close procurement competition, and we look forward to building a strong partnership with Lex, that is committed to continuous service improvement.’
Venson caused controversy in 2001 when chairman Grant Scriven claimed there was an inability to bring about change and innovation in the public sector, and only the private sector could build suitable facilities.
The National Association of Police Fleet Managers rejected the claims, and individual police fleet managers said in-house departments were a by-word for best value and cost-effectiveness.
The loss of the Met contract means Nottinghamshire Constabulary is the only police force on Venson’s books.
Scriven said: ‘We’re naturally disappointed but we respect their decision. We continue to be in discussion with a number of police forces and we’re still the only people who can demonstrate that we’ve delivered in this sector, and we’re still very much committed to it.’