The Committee considered a report by the Chief Executive (circulated previously) regarding the procurement of vehicles.
The Chief Executive highlighted the following:
· The Council was the Waste Collection authority and as such needed to maintain a fleet of vehicles in order to collect waste and recycling and deliver it to the appropriate body. Traditionally, North Devon Council has purchased the vehicles that it needs but had recently been exploring other options.
· The Council operated a fleet of 89 vehicles and a workshop to maintain the vehicles.
· There was a rolling capital programme to replace vehicles.
· A number of councils have now moved to a model whereby vehicles were leased rather than purchased. Councils have approached this differently depending on circumstances but a project has been ongoing to explore this option to see if it would be better financially and operationally for the Council.
· Suppliers have been asked to tender for the contract to supply the Council with vehicles for the next 7 years with the option of also taking over management of the workshop and providing a full vehicle maintenance service to the Council. If that option was adopted, a number of staff would transfer to the new supplier but on the same terms and conditions as existing.
· The exercise had been conducted in conjunction with Somerset West and Taunton Council which would also be approaching this in the same way.
· The deadline for the final submission of tenders was 15 March and it was envisaged that an award will be made in early April. At this stage it was difficult to know what the financial implications would be for the Council as the deadline had not passed and the tenders had not been evaluated. There was a need to assess associated costs compared to the current method of operation.
· As part of the tender process, if a decision was taken to lease vehicles the contractor would be requested to provide spare vehicles which would provide more flexibility for the Council.
· The procurement timetable didn’t allow for a report to be brought back to the Committee.
In response to questions, the Chief Executive advised the following:
· As part of the procurement timetable, the deadline for tenders was 15 March 2021 and the preferred bidder would be notified of the outcome on 26 March 2021. There was not a long period between these dates to evaluate the tenders. The timescales were extremely tight and therefore if a special meeting of the Committee were convened between these dates, there could potentially be a delay in notifying the preferred bidder. There would be no opportunity to convene a meeting of the Policy Development Committee.
· The contractor would be given flexibility to purchase electric vehicles and there would be associated costs.
· The costs requested as part of the tender process were based on the current vehicle fleet and contractors were aware that there was a need to look at other appropriate vehicle types.
· In terms of maintenance of vehicles there were a number of options which included retaining the maintenance in-house and contract back to the contractor or for the workshop to be provided by the contractor and for staff to be TUPE over to the contractor.
· The contractor would be required to provide replacement vehicles for any vehicles that broke down.
· He suggested that the recommendation be amended to also include consultation with the Group Leaders and Lead Member for Commercialisation and Resources. If Group Leaders were then not in agreement, a special meeting of the Committee could be convened. Key information could be provided to Group Leaders.
RESOLVED that the approach of leasing vehicles be agreed and that the Chief Executive be delegated power in consultation with the Lead Member, Group Leaders and the Lead Member for Commercialisation and Resources to appoint a supplier of vehicles and maintenance services, if deemed appropriate, following the completion of the procurement exercise, subject to compliance with the Council’s Contract Procedure rules and that a special meeting of the Committee be convened if required.