North Yorkshire County Council
A soft launch, with staff allowed to play on the portal for a couple of months but not place orders, helped North Yorkshire County Council iron out any snags and generate interest before its company car salary sacrifice scheme went live on 1 April this year.
The council’s benefits and reward consultant, John Robinson, says: “We wanted something we could manage at arm’s length and which was website-driven based on staff having to register.”
The scheme, run by provider Tusker, covers 27,000 employees and 67 orders have already been placed.
“We had to check possible implications on our pension scheme and how we might need to put money back in,” says Robinson. “Maternity leave was also an issue, so we have put in early termination, redundancy and gap insurance.
“Once you have gone through the process and picked your car, you are shown the amount by gross deduction and net, and how that might compare with a personal contract purchase (PCP) plan. We also have all the legal documentation on the site, as well as 10 pages of FAQs.
“It is about communicating the benefits and pitfalls in equal measure. You need to encourage staff to make sure the deal they are looking at is right for them.”
Something of a pioneer in company car salary sacrifice, business consultancy firm Deloitte launched its scheme in February last year, covering its 12,000 UK staff. It has about 500 cars in the scheme.
“Communication is definitely the key,” says director Mike Moore. “We have found that if we do some promotion in a particular office, we tend to see a spike of orders coming in. So you have to keep on promoting it, otherwise it can flatten out.
“People agree to take the car for two years and it is assumed they are going to stay with us for that period. But we have had about a dozen who have taken cars and then left. Most have asked to take the cars with them, so they either buy them outright or enter into a separate arrangement with the leasing company.
“Beyond that, we have costed early leavers and people who go on maternity leave into the price.”
The scheme offers petrol and diesel cars with CO2 emissions below 120g/km, and Moore estimates staff can save 35-40% on cost. “We primarily see it as a retention and recruitment tool. We do not take the national insurance saving the scheme generates, but put it back in to make it more attractive.”
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