Council staff using vehicles for personal use could cost authority ‘in excess of £100,000’

Woodhill House, Aberdeenshire Council headquarters.

Concerns have been raised that council staff using vehicles for personal use could cost the local authority “in excess of £100,000”.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s audit committee are set to hear that there may be tax and insurance implications following the discovery.

The council keeps a regularly-updated database of its 782 vehicles, including fuel card data, which is used to monitor use.

However, a recent audit by the local authority showed a sample of drivers in one service area were using their council-owned vehicles more for personal use than business.

A report prepared by chief internal auditor David Hughes said if this was replicated throughout the council it could cost Aberdeenshire Council more than £100,000.

He said: “From a small sample of drivers in one service which records individual trips in detail, Internal Audit identified three whose commuting mileage in council-provided vans was at least equivalent to the number of business miles travelled – indicating that the vehicles may be used as much or more for personal than for business benefit – though services indicated that there were business reasons for employees taking vehicles home.

“If similar patterns of use are replicated across the council, commuting could cost the council in excess of £100,000.

“Dependent on actual use and corporate policy there could be tax and insurance implications in addition to the direct cost.”

The local authority is currently looking to implement a new telematics system which could allow it to track the vehicles’ location using GPS and record mileage.

Aberdeenshire Council is in the process of tendering for the system for all of its council-owned cars. The report continued: “Installation of telematics will assist in determining the extent.”

The meeting is set to take place at Woodhill House in Aberdeen on Thursday.