Shane Staley, fleet and depot officer at Amber Valley Borough Council, talks to Sue Hurst about his fleet management role and why he backs fully the organisation’s new apprentice scheme.
Amber Valley is a borough council in Derbyshire that operates a relatively small fleet which has to cover a large area operationally. Shane Staley has now completed 15 years at the local authority, starting as a fleet apprentice then progressing to fleet officer and on to his current role of fleet and depot officer.
Being given the opportunity to enter the council at apprentice level gave Shane career direction and opened up the world of fleet management to him – a role that he didn’t even know existed when he was choosing his career path at school.
Today, Shane manages all the fleet operations and makes sure that the depot is well-run and compliant. Part of his role is to procure any additional or replacement vehicles or plant including managing of service contracts. There are also many other challenges he tackles on a day-to-day basis including vehicle safety checks, budgetary constraints and regulatory compliance.
Indeed, he has just replaced Amber Valley’s fleet of 26 commercial vehicles, and managed to achieve annual savings of around £15,000 – by purchasing the vehicles outright, rather than using the previous contract hire arrangements.
The Council had to consider all purchasing options with the aim of reducing revenue budget while maintaining a high-quality fit-for-purpose fleet. The vehicles were purchased by advertising on OJEU and the tender was evaluated internally.
The new LCVs are all FIAT products – the smaller vans being FIAT Doblo for warden services and FIAT Ducato for parks services to include towing of mowers. Specialist conversions were considered with the acquisition of KFS Plant and Go ‘Beavertail’ vans to allow mowers to be carried on them without the use of trailers, other specialist vehicles on the fleet include bespoke cage vehicles for street cleansing litter picking.
The vehicles are expected to last for at least five years with very low mileage, averaging about 8,000 miles per annum.
The arrival of the new vehicles also sees the introduction of a smart high profile livery, to ensure local residents are able to clearly see the work of the Council within the community.
The vehicles have been selected for a combination of their practicality, cost, environmental impact and improved fuel efficiency, which will help the Council to achieve its vision of Making a Difference for Amber Valley, while also helping to reduce fuel costs in future years.
The fleet department has also taken delivery of two new street sweepers, a 15 tonne Scarab Mistral on a DAF chassis and also a 4.2 tonne Scarab Minor, which are also more fuel efficient, lower polluting, quieter and have the added benefit of increased performance.
Together the sweepers, which work in tandem, will collect approximately 200 tonnes of litter and debris from the streets of Amber Valley each month.
Looking to the future, Shane hopes to renew or replace the fleet’s vehicle tracking system as they are approaching the end of a five year contract.
Shane is also looking to introduce a pool car fleet to the council to reduce current grey fleet mileage. The department is currently trialling a number of vehicles hybrid and pure electric models. They will start with two or three vehicles with a view to increasing the fleet to approximately 20 vehicles in the future.
Running a small council fleet means that it is much more cost-effective to contract out servicing and maintenance for plant, LCVs and HGVs – this has been the favoured option for the Council in the last 10 years.
It also suits them better to purchase fuel via fuel cards rather than have bulk fuel stored on-site. This means that they the council can benefit from using the cheapest fuel available from supermarkets for example.
However, it is not just fleet management that Shane is interested in because recently he has successfully recruited and mentored 11 apprentices in a new apprentice scheme introduced at the Council.
The apprentice scheme is a challenge that has been a very rewarding and satisfying for Shane. Having been an apprentice himself he is the perfect ‘champion’ to help the new recruits achieve their potential.
Every day is different for the fleet department and Shane finds it rewarding to be able to fix the problems - whether it is from a fleet management or apprentice perspective. Even though there is pressure to make savings with already limited resources at his disposal – especially to go green when no money is available to invest in technology – this just means as fleet manager he has to be more ‘creative’.
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