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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Tender writers should get real

I work for a major leasing company and tried to tender for a London borough recently. We had to withdraw from the process as there were clauses that made it impossible for us to bid.

One such clause required a Deed of Guarantee from our parent company – which we could not do.

We are a massive organisation in our own right, and currently supply a 40,000-vehicle NHS contract. Why would they need such a guarantee for only 100 vehicles?

As anyone in public sector tendering knows, when you get a tender document to fill in you usually have to comply with all requirements or else your bid is disqualified.

There is no point in arguing about it – either comply or you are rejected.

We could not give a deed as requested so decided not to even bother to tender.

I recognise the need for tenderers to check the financial standing of a bidder, but this clause seemed to me to be excessively cautious, or unnecessary.

Could it be that such a requirement breaches the 2006 Procurement Act by “adding unnecessary obstacles to a free and competitive procurement process?”.

It is becoming common to receive tender documents that appear to have been dredged from some generic document which includes clauses that are irrelevant to the product being tendered for.

We had a tender recently which expected us to deliver the goods and then give them 14 days to assess their suitability and reserve the right to send them back if deemed not fit.

You cannot do that with a registered car.

Clearly, this clause was not needed, or suitable, to a lease car contract and should never have been included.

In this case we managed to argue around it, although the law says we should have been disqualified and the tenderer was in breach for allowing a variance.

We, as a company, are in a serious dilemma as a result of tenders being written with such ridiculous clauses.

I believe that unless tender writers get real, more and more companies will just not bother to tender in future.

Name withheld
By email

Biofuel use demands careful thought

The trend of using biofuels, especially biodiesel, has to be researched carefully.

Britain cannot sustain the demands that we require and so we look at purchasing from abroad.

The cost of this is devastating as the jungles in countries like Sumatra and Borneo are being cut down to grow palm trees to produce biodiesel. So here we are saying that biodiesel is cleaner, but we are destroying the rain forests to compensate.

The destruction of the world’s lungs (rain forests) continues at a rate of 1,000 hectares a week in some places and in the near future we will reach a point of no return.

Think carefully.


Swapping points can mean time in prison

As a solicitor specialising in road traffic offences I read with some concern – but no surprise – your article “Drivers illegally swapping points” (Fleet News, June 7).

This suggested that half a million motorists in the UK illegally swap penalty points with friends or family to avoid being banned.

In my practice, I speak to hundreds of motorists every year and am astounded at the high percentage of them who seem to think that swapping points is a reasonable way of avoiding a points ban.

What your article does not say is that if caught swapping points, the motorist and the person they swapped the points with are guilty of perverting the course of justice.

This is an offence so serious that it can only be dealt with in the Crown Court and normally results in a prison sentence of at least six months even for someone who has never been to court before.

The advice I give to clients who raise this possibility is – don’t even think about it.

Richard Brown & Co, Solicitors

Still confusion over no-smoking laws

Some of our company cars could be classed as having sole drivers for business use.

However, when serviced, they are often picked up and dropped off by an employee of the servicing garage.

I have spoken to a young man at Smokefree England and asked him if these vehicles would have to display the no-smoking signage.

He said they would but I got the impression even he was not really certain.

With just a few weeks to go until the smoking ban is introduced, can anybody offer a more concrete view?

Facilities manager, Construction Industry Solutions

Save lives, not time

Over the weekend I spent time driving my wife’s Rover 25 and, as in previous periods, I have noticed how poor the lack of courtesy shown to this vehicle is even when travelling at the legal speed limit.

At 30mph or 40mph, vehicles of all types, especially white van men and delivery vans, tailgate my car.

On motorway and dual carriageways while travelling at 70mph, I notice that as I approach sliproads feeding on to the road on which I am travelling I am forced to brake to allow speeding vehicles to overtake at 80mph or more.

The drivers of the offending vehicles seem to be oblivious to the fact that if I had not done so, an accident would surely have occurred.

How are drivers like this allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle? I drive in the same way while driving my own larger car, and find the attitude of other drivers less aggressive but still less than acceptable.

The time drivers save by rushing to the next delivery or appointment can almost be measured in seconds, but the risk to everyone concerned by speeding and discourtesy can be the difference between life and death.

Fleet administrator, Wilson Electrical Distributors

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