SFS wins West Country fleet contracts06 October 2021

Simon Martin, SFS; Cllr Netti Pearson, North Devon Council and; Paul Burton, Service Manager, North Devon Council

Following a joint procurement exercise, Somerset West and Taunton Council and North Devon Council have both awarded a seven-year (+7) contract hire agreement for the provision and maintenance of their fleets to Specialist Fleet Services Ltd (SFS). The contracts, which both commenced on 1 October, involve the replacement and management of nearly 200 vehicles.

SFS, which already manages the fleets for Mid-Devon District Council and Exeter City Council in the South West, will run the fleets separately, although there will be some sharing of workshop facilities.

Somerset West and Taunton Council’s fleet comprises approximately 120 vehicles, primarily LCVs, and maintenance will be carried out at a new workshop being established at the council’s depot.

Stuart Noyce, assistant director, commercial services, Somerset West and Taunton Council said:

“Decarbonisation is a major focus for us going forward and they [SFS] will be helping us in the transition to electric vehicles, both in terms of advising regarding suitable vehicle technology and helping us to develop the appropriate charging infrastructure.

“We used to have a number of different maintenance providers, which wasn’t very efficient. Now we have one provider for the vehicle provision and maintenance as well as a fixed price, which is much better for budgeting and provides us with a long-term view regarding our fleet costs.”

At North Devon Council, SFS will be responsible for the management of approximately 70 vehicles, comprising mainly HGVs including refuse and recycling vehicles and kerbside collection vehicles. SFS is also taking over the running of the council’s workshop facility, including the TUPE transfer of three existing members of staff.

Paul Burton, service manager, operational services, North Devon Council, said: “Our existing fleet is old and not as reliable as we would like it to be, which has led to an increase in missed bin collections. The new contract with SFS will replace our old vehicles with a new fleet featuring the latest low emissions technology. As a result, we can provide a more reliable service to our residents and reduce our carbon emissions.

“Increased vehicle availability will create savings as we reduce overtime payments and the reliance on spot hire vehicles, as well as lessen wear and tear on vehicles. We also anticipate using SFS’ expertise regarding the addition of electric refuse vehicles to our fleet once the technology can cater for our kind of terrain and travelling distances.”

Four brand new refuse vehicles have already arrived at North Devon Council ready for the start of the contract.

Transport Engineer

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