Public sector fleets are putting a £1.3 billion fuel cards and services contract out to tender as part of a major review aimed at driving efficiency savings.
The contract will cover two areas focused on providing fuel card solutions, and also fuel management and associated services.
It will include advice and recommendations for improvement, cost control or reduction, analysis of usage patterns and “innovative approaches to fuel cost management associated with fuel card or equivalent usage”.
The huge contract, which will go live in August 2009, is being managed on behalf of a wide range of public sector fleets through OGCbuying.solutions, an executive agency of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the Treasury.
The agency provides a professional procurement service to the public sector to deliver improved value for money in their commercial activities.
It sources products through a rigorous procurement process to avoid the need for individual competitive tendering.
By combining the collective buying power of the public sector with highly skilled procurement expertise, it aims to provide a fast, efficient and convenient service together with substantial efficiency savings.
Its services provide access to more than 500,000 products and services, each sourced through an EU-compliant procurement process that all public sector fleets must follow.
The current fuel cards framework agreement offers a number of programmes with BP, Esso and Arval.
According to the latest figures, the annual fuel spend through the contract for 2007/2008 was £280,676,095, up from £224,057,300 the previous year.
The number of cards in circulation had grown from 165,695 to 187,326 over the same period.
The contract is initially for a two-year period, with an option to extend for a further two years in one-year increments.
The £1.3billion is the estimated amount of fuel purchased at fuel retailers using the fuel card for payment over a four-year period.
Among the largest fleets buying through the current framework are central civil government, local government, health and police and ambulance services.
Meryl Gilbert, business development director fuel at Arval, commented: “Fuel cards allow organisations to control and reduce their fuel expenditure.
“Data from a fuel card shows what, where, when and how much fuel is being purchased each time the card is used providing an accurate record of the mileage completed by drivers and their behaviour.
“It is also one of the easiest ways to manage the reduction of CO2 emissions.
"This gives managers greater control over fuel expenditure, enabling them to make informed decisions and reduce costs.”