The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 23 August 2010

South Ayrshire Council and Kerr & Smith up for award

South Ayrshire Council has made the shortlist for the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Service Awards 2010 in the Public/Private Partnership category.

The Council has taken an innovative partnership approach to fleet management by forging a partnership with local company Kerr & Smith.

[Pictured: One of South Ayrshire Council’s vehicles being fully checked and serviced prior to going back out on the road in South Ayrshire.]

The partnership was entered into following an internal review of the Council’s procurement and maintenance of vehicles in 2007. With nearly 1,000 vehicles used by services such as grounds maintenance, roads, schools and home care, the Council’s needs are diverse, and the review showed that the best way forward was a hybrid approach of contract hire and lease arrangements with outsourced maintenance.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of the Council (pictured above) said: “I am delighted that we have been shortlisted for the APSE Service Awards 2010, and congratulate everyone involved in making it such a success.

“We needed a new modern approach to our fleet management. The Council facilities we had were originally designed to cope with 30 bin lorries, while our throughput had grown to around 400 vehicles. The partnership with Kerr & Smith was the ideal solution.

“The partnership has led to improved service delivery, better performance, cost efficiencies and it is more environmentally friendly.

“As part of our partnership arrangement Kerr & Smith has leased a workshop from the Council, which it uses in addition to its own extensive facilities. As a result, the council now benefits from additional rental income from the company.

”The partnership is working well and is a good example of what can be achieved when you dare to be different and implement a new system.”

The new arrangement proved particularly beneficial during the winter. The Council and Kerr & Smith worked round the clock to ensure essential vehicles were maintained and out on the streets in minimal turnaround times, helping maintain public safety in some of the most challenging weather conditions faced in years.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Council and Kerr & Smith employees working in partnership to keep Council vehicles well maintained enabling employees to deliver services across South Ayrshire.]

Paul Kerr Service Director at Kerr & Smith said: “We are delighted to be part of an innovative partnership between private and public sector bodies which has brought improved services within the region. It is a testament to our working relationship that during one of the worst winters in 20 years we worked together to ensure their was no break in services.”

In the first 12 months of the partnership, achievements included a younger fleet, reduced carbon footprint, reduced costs, reduced risk, improved safety, more flexible service, increased availability of service, access to modern equipment and practices, and job enrichment for staff.

Councillor Peter Convery, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder (pictured above) said: “Modern, efficient, low emission vehicles are helping us to protect the environment and reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.

“I know first hand how well the partnership is working, having spent time with employees who were gritting our roads during the winter, and saw how well the vehicles were being maintained. Residents of South Ayrshire are benefiting from the flexibility that this partnership is giving us with our vehicles.

“The partnership is a worthy finalist for this award, and I hope it goes on to take the top spot.”

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority front line services, hosting a network for front line service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

The APSE’S Annual Dinner will take place at the National Seminar and Exhibition in Derry in September 2010, when award presentations will be made.

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