Council may back out of pool cars contract

A contract for 13 pool cars for Royal Borough staff could be cancelled early as they are not being used enough.

The council agreed a three-year lease for a fleet of petrol-powered Minis in January 2016 at a cost of £60,000 per year.

But each car is only clocking up 6,300 miles a year instead of the anticipated 10,000 miles which has led the council to consider backing out of the contract 12 months early.

The borough’s Highways, Transport and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel met at Maidenhead Town Hall on Tuesday to discuss the issue.   

Ben Smith, the Royal Borough’s highways and countryside manager, said: “The reason why this is relevant now is a number of things have changed and it’s an opportune moment to review the pool car fleet.

“With the changes in adult services with Optalis, Achieving for Children and outsourcing of staff, the demand, nature and size of the council has changed significantly.”

The council has nine cars available for staff at Maidenhead Town Hall, two at Tinkers Lane in Windsor and two at York House.

They hit the headlines in the Advertiser in February last year when it was revealed families of rats had made themselves at home in the vehicles left in the town hall car park over the Christmas period.

Failure to reach the target of 10,000 miles a year for each car is costing the council £16,900 annually.

Cllr Malcolm Beer (Independent, Old Windsor) told the meeting that terminating the contract early, for a charge of £3,744, would make business sense.

He said: “If we are paying the penalty for not maximising the use of the vehicles that will be offset by calling the contract in early.”

He asked whether cabinet could look at reducing the number of pool cars to help meet the mileage requirements.

The panel agreed that cabinet should discuss whether to end the pool car contract at its next meeting on Thursday, April 27.


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