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What options are available?
Before procuring a new vehicle, or even a fleet of vehicles, there are some considerations.
- What type of vehicle do you need (capacity, preference for a make and model)?
- What are the requirements of the vehicle (distances likely to cover, frequency of travel)?
- Will the vehicle require any adaptations, for instance for disabled access?
- Does the vehicle need to be brand new?
- Are you able to buy a vehicle outright or would you look to lease? If you are considering a lease you need to ensure it is compliant with the Contract Regulations for Schools (further details below).
- Is there an option to buy a vehicle in collaboration with another school?
- Consider the "on-costs" like tax, insurance, fuel efficiency and maintenance.
- Check the most up to regulations in respect of transporting children (appropriate seat belts installed, what is the safety rating of the vehicle) links to the right.
Having established the above you can now start to source your required vehicle, ensuring that you get best value in the process.
If you are looking to buy a new vehicle then we recommend that you approach the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO).
ESPO have contract arrangements in place with most major providers and are able to source the vehicles you would like directly. The cumulative consortium buying power that ESPO have allows them to negotiate significant discounts whether you are looking to get an entire fleet or an individual vehicle.
Indeed the discounts that ESPO are able to get are such that we would suggest that you contact them even if you are of the opinion that you are not able to afford a new vehicle. If, after they have sourced some quotes, you still feel that you are not in a position to buy new then you are, of course, entitled to look in the second hand market.
If you decide to go down a leasing route then ESPO are able to provide Regulation compliant lease solutions too.
Essentially ESPO are able to offer a bespoke and dedicated vehicle sourcing service, they pride themselves on being able to identify the vehicle that you need at a price that will, hopefully, exceed your expectations. If you have any questions at all please contact one of the ESPO buyers on the right hand side.
If you have approached ESPO and you are not in a position to buy or lease a new vehicle through them, then you could start to look in the second hand market.
Please be aware that buying vehicle is one of only very few purchases that can be made with out the need to go through the usual quotation/tendering rules. The justification for this is that it is not reasonable to achieve three different quotations for a single vehicle. There does, however, remain a responsibility to establish value for money.
Obviously there are more potential pitfalls in buying a second hand car but a thorough preparation could safeguard you from any potential problems.
Having identified the type of vehicle you are looking to purchase you should establish the value, or "book price". There are a number of means to do this, there is a link to the right for one website you can use but a cursory internet search will throw up a number of different options.
Now you know what you would expect to pay for the vehicle you can go about sourcing one. There are links to the right for the large second hand car providers - Autotrader and Exchange and Mart, but you can also check local newspapers/publications, local dealers etc.
Upon identifying a specific, suitable vehicle that you are interested in you should have it checked by an independent mechanic (unless you are suitably qualified yourself) this process should identify any potential problems empowering you to make a decision as to whether to proceed with the purchase, or potentially negotiate a reduced rate on the basis of the findings. Again there is a link to the right for the AA inspection service, but a large number of organisation or independent mechanics will offer this service so call around for the best deal.
Should you opt to lease a vehicle, second hand or new, you must ensure that you enter into a Regulation compliant lease agreement. The link to the right explains about the different types of lease agreements. If you have any questions in relation to leasing then please contact us here at PASS for guidance.
Having followed these steps you should have minimised any potential risks and find yourself with the vehicle you want at a price you are happy to have paid
As always, if you have any questions relating to this, or any other procurement or contract management issues, then please do not hesitate to contact PASS.
ROSPA School Minibus guide
NCAP saftey rating homepage
ESPO Dealing Direct
Exchange and Mart
AA vehicle inspection
Contract Regulations for Schools
ESPO, Barnsdale Way, Grove Park, Enderby, Leicester, LE19 1ES
Tel - 0116 294 4068
Tel - 0116 265 7853
Tel - 0116 265 7936
Tel - 0116 265 7854
Purchasing Advisory Service for Schools (PASS)
RES 1501, Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP
Gary James - Schools Purchasing Advisor
Tel: 01223 715347
E-mail: gary.james @cambridgeshire.gov.uk