New mandatory public procurement guidelines issued by the UK government require central government departments and their related organisations to purchase vehicles with a minimum of a valid five star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The welcome move is the first European national government-wide procurement policy that ETSC is aware of that requires the five star rating. A 2017 ETSC report on work-related road safety highlighted the examples of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and the Swedish Transport Administration who both set the five-star standard for procurement for their own fleets, but not other government vehicles.
The UK policy also requires the ruling out of other safer options before considering vehicle purchases, asking managers to consider the following questions:
- are regular journeys required at all?
- can journeys be replaced by phone, teleconference, video conference facilities?
- is a vehicle required for the function specified?
- walking, cycling and public transport are much more sustainable than individual vehicles. Can the journeys be replaced by any of these?
- is the need for a vehicle still valid or is it just a legacy arrangement? What are the specific job requirements to justify vehicle purchase/lease? (Business mileage, carrying goods, out of hours, operational need)
- can journeys be better planned to improve existing vehicle utilisation and avoid further vehicle acquisition?
- if a vehicle is required, is it justified to purchase/lease one? Can car clubs or daily rental provide a more flexible and cost effective solution?