Tackling Grey Fleet Challenges In The Public Sector

Andrew Franklin – Director, Public Sector for Europcar UK, highlights how flexible mobility solutions can tackle the duty of care risks of grey fleet usage in the public sector.

Research by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), in partnership with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), identified that grey fleet vehicle usage is one of the most pressing issues for the public sector. The study revealed that use of grey fleet vehicles – that is employee’s using their own cars - in the public sector accounts for 1.5 billion miles, at a cost of over £750 million per year. And, according to the analysis, the amount of CO2 emitted by grey fleet vehicles in the public sector could fill Wembley stadium 56 times.

A dripping tap

But the big challenge is that public sector organisations are not necessarily fully aware of the creeping incidence of grey fleet usage – it’s like a dripping tap that is never turned off. This leaves them exposed to increased duty of care risk, pressure on environmental improvements, as well as having to manage the financial impact of a fleet that’s less efficient.

The environmental impact of grey fleet vehicles is not the only issue of concern to public sector employers. Crucially, grey fleet usage leaves these organisations exposed to increased duty of care risk, as well as having to manage cost and productivity challenges. If you consider that 1.4 billion miles are being driven by employees in local authorities, the civil service and the NHS, the use of grey fleet vehicles is more than just the occasional journey for the sector.

Unknown risk

The challenge for public sector organisations is that, with few exceptions, grey fleet vehicles tend to be older – typically over 8 years old - and less reliable, leading to the risk of breakdowns, as well as employees potentially driving unroadworthy vehicles. But the impact of the breakdowns to an organisation is significant. There’s lost productivity as employees can’t get to vital appointments, as well as additional transportation costs to get them to their onward destination.

Also grey fleet vehicles don’t provide the public sector employer with a simple means to collect comprehensive data. It’s problematic to monitor servicing and maintenance requirements and to assess driver behaviour. Yet, with more workers using their own vehicles, public sector organisations face some clear duty of care challenges to ensure that each grey fleet vehicle is fit for purpose, has a valid MoT, is taxed, insured for business use and the driver has a valid licence.

The right mobility solution for the job

There are, however, some simple solutions that can help public sector organisations tackle the issue of grey fleet usage without having to commit to significant vehicle acquisition that squeezed budgets simply cannot afford. For example, by using a cost calculator to assess the distance of a journey, employers can identify when it makes sense for an employee to use their own vehicle and when it’s best to use an alternative form of transport. This adds a new dimension to employee travel management whereby the organisation can look at encompassing a variety of transport options, from car rental to car sharing to chauffeur drive which are all provided by Europcar as a global mobility solutions leader. And those options can include electric vehicles (EV), as well as modern hybrid fuel options that are becoming more widely available across the mobility sectors.

Plugged into public sector needs

With a few simple steps, the reduction in risk to employees’ health and safety, together with the cost-savings of alternative mobility solutions to the grey fleet can make a real impact for public sector organisations.

Operating one of the youngest fleets in the car hire industry means Europcar UK delivers the latest safety features for drivers. Combined with the availability from one of the most extensive networks of locations, thereby reducing mileage for delivery and collection, also means we help public sector organisations meet environmental targets. And our services are accessible through OJEU compliant frameworks, providing a comprehensive range of competitively priced mobility solutions across the UK.

For more information and to calculate when car hire is a more cost effective option visit our website.