Trackers installed in council fleet

A COUNCIL claims it can shave around £300,000 off its annual fuel bill by installing tracking devices in its 600-vehicle fleet.

The East Riding Council won’t say how much they are costing to install and unions, say while there may be benefits, they are sceptical such large savings can be made.

One council worker said they were even being installed on grass-cutting machines, adding: “They haven’t informed any staff and the few people I have spoken to are extremely annoyed. People are wondering whether they can stop and have a sandwich - I wouldn’t even stop and post a letter, even if I was going past a postbox.”

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Dave Monaghan, regional officer for Unite, said concerns remained despite consultation: “Although there can be good health and safety and security reasons, there is the concern of a Big Brother element, of someone snooping wherever you are. I’m told the rationale is to try and encourage more economic motoring - maybe people not rushing about so much or with so many revs on the engine. The concern we have got is if someone doesn’t go from 40mph to 30mph and brake in time because the technology is so precise, is the hand of Big Brother going to come down and issue disciplinary sanctions? The assurances we have been given is no that will not happen.”

Dave Waudby, head of infrastructure and facilities, said as well as reducing fuel costs by around 10 per cent, it would improve service delivery at a time when councils were facing cuts, adding: “Monitoring vehicles using tracking systems is not uncommon with councils across the UK using such systems as well as large commercial operators, such as haulage firms, prominent supermarket chains, utility companies and the Royal Mail. The council has consulted with both staff and unions throughout the implementation of the tracking system, including demonstrations, and has had a positive reaction from operational staff and unions.”