Hartlepool council saves £900,000 on management of vehicle fleet in last five years

Councillors have praised the council’s management of its vehicles after saving an estimated £900,000 over the last five years.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:45 am
Hartlepool council saves £900,000 on management of vehicle fleet in last five years

Hartlepool Borough Council bosses updated councillors on funding and maintenance for council vehicles, such as street cleaners, welfare buses, cherry pickers and vans.

Officers told the Neighbourhood Services Committee savings totalling £900,000 have been made in the past five years by management of vehicles.

For 2019/20 the vehicle replacement budget for the council is just over £2,760,000, with £2,558,000 earmarked for 2020/21 and £2,146,000 for 2022/23.

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Councillors praised the team for the management of the vehicles, although noted it is time for some of them to be replaced.

Coun Sue Little said: “People think we replace our vehicles every year, we don’t, some of these vehicles could be 10, 12, 15 years old.”

Coun Dave Hunter said: “The fleet is looking very tired indeed, a lot of these vehicles have been ran to the end of their lives.”

Coun Marjorie James said: “Quite a lot of our vehicles we may have had them for five or 10 years.

“If its coming towards the end of its life it would be costing us more in repairs, in some ways to have a vehicle that you don’t have to repair for maybe three years would actually be a saving.”

Councillors noted many of the vehicles such as the waste fleet and buses are inspected every six weeks to ensure they are up to standards.

Tony Hanson, assistant director for environment and neighbourhood services, noted how the council has benefited financially from good management of vehicles.

He said: “Previous years the council has benefited from one off savings by deferring vehicle replacement as a result of keeping vehicles longer, and carrying out repairs and maintenance in house.

“These savings have been reflected in the overall out-turn for the council’s budget and the one offset savings achieved over the last few years, from 14/15 through to 19/20, which has generated somewhere in the region of £900,000 savings.”

In 2014/15 £250,000 was saved against the budget for vehicle replacements and repairs, with £150,000 saved in 2016/17, £234,000 in 2017/18, £50,000 in 2018/19 and currently £200,000 is forecast to be saved in 2019/20.

Denise McGuckin, director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said just because vehicles are listed for replacement does not mean they will do, and will be used for longer if possible.

She said: “It is a balance because it can end up costing more in maintenance than the saving you get buying new.

“This doesn’t mean to say they will get replaced, we scrutinise, we challenge we make sure the managers jump through every hoop.

“It’s just to give members that reassurance that we are doing that, but there is a finite balance.”