Accessible Vehicle and Equipment Scheme quarterly meeting group minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 6 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Attendees from the Scottish Government

  • Nikola Plunkett, Unit Head, Disability Benefits Policy
  • Margaret Grigor, Disability Benefits Service Manager, Social Security Scotland 
  • Tasneem Irshad, Disability Benefits Policy Officer, Disability Benefits Policy

Attendees from Motability and Motability Operations

  • Barry Le Grys (Motability)
  • Ian Goswell (Motability Operations)
  • Michelle Vellacot (Motability Operations)


  • David George, Team Leader, Disability Benefits Policy
  • Gordon Dawson, Accessible Vehicle and Equipment Scheme Product Lead, Programme Management and Delivery, Social Security Programme

Items and actions


The Chair welcomed members to the fourth Accessible Vehicle and Equipment (AVE) Scheme quarterly meeting.

Ratification of previous meeting minutes and update on action points

The Chair ratified the minutes of the previous meeting. No further comments on action points.

Awarding grants to clients who are leasing a vehicle or equipment from another accredited provider

The Chair introduced the item and asked Motability to clarify their requirements in awarding grants to clients who wish to lease an AVE scheme vehicle from a different accredited provider. Motability confirmed that its charitable arm is flexible to issue grants for the public benefit but not private benefit. In offering a grant to a client seeking to lease a vehicle from a different accredited provider, the Motability charity would seek to retain oversight to ensure a consistency in standards and the needs of disabled clients are met. Motability charity colleagues stressed that charity rules required them to ensure that the provision of grants did not support provider profits and explained that in the current model this was maintained due to there being no shareholders of Motability Operations, so all monies benefitted disabled people.  

The Motability charity would undertake a process of due diligence with any other accredited provider in relation to awarding grants to other potential provider’s clients. 

Scottish Government officials enquired about the precise nature of the due diligence that would be required between the accredited provider and Motability to enable this process to move forward. Motability felt that their Trustees would be unable to comment at this time until they were aware of the nature of any new providers. All charitable grants are at the discretion of trustees and for the charitable object only.  No grant making can be assumed.   

Motability asked if Scottish Government officials were confident that VAT exemptions would be available for new providers. Scottish Government officials advised that they remain in contact with HMRC on this and other matters to ensure that any tax concessions remain available to other providers. 

Motability felt that it would be beneficial to engage with Scottish Government to discuss terminology that could be used in oversight and due diligence agreements with newly accredited providers. 

Action one: Motability to continue to liaise with Scottish Government officials.

Update on Motability Operations

Motability Operations gave Scottish Government officials an update on the current challenges facing operations – mainly due to supply and demand of vehicles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the EU/UK Low Emissions Vehicle Scheme which has seen the reduction of new cars coming off the production line. The Low Emissions Vehicle Toll Incentive has resulted in manufacturers favouring the production of Battery Electric Vehicles or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (which cost more) over traditional internal combustion vehicles resulting in a shortage of appropriate vehicles for Motability to provide clients with. Motability advised that a price equilibrium between the two types of vehicle isn’t something they are able to offer yet due to production preference as well as external factors (Ukraine, COVID) also impacting upon the supply chain. To mitigate the increased costs faced by Motability Operations, they would be considering a number of options for the Motability Scheme proposition taking into account many factors. 

Motability also emphasised that the market for used vehicles is buoyant but they are aware that clients may want to extend their 3 year leases. As a result, vehicles entering into an extended term would need to be valued to reflect the market value for used vehicles at that time. Reserves are the value of the fleet not cash, and the value can go up and down.

Motability – update on current and future activity

Motability Operations provided an update on current and future activities that are important in the current social and economic climate. Motability Operations are supporting clients by:

  • providing a sum of £250.00 as financial support to clients taking out new vehicles to offset the increases in the cost of advance payments
  • allocating in the region of £300 million to support the lease of electric vehicles
  • extending leases for clients to ensure they stay mobile for longer
  • fitting home electric car chargers for free
  • providing vehicles that do not require advance payment (although production difficulty has seen diversity in these vehicles decrease)

Motability offers means-tested grants which support beneficiaries to obtain the vehicles they need to assist their particular condition. Motability has seen rising numbers in grant applications due to increased cost of living, increased cost of vehicles in addition to processing clients deferred from previous years.

These initiatives have led to an increase in the volume of customer service enquiries being managed by Motability and Motability Operations. This has seen average waiting times in call centres substantially increase. 

Scottish Government officials sought clarification about how Motability Operations were managing the expectations of clients who are coming to the end of their lease and expecting a new vehicle. Motability responded that their vehicle dealer partners are better managing customer queries and supply timelines. Motability Operations is keen that such dealers remain transparent and will challenge them if they are not.

Motability asserted that, although their asset values are seen as high, any changes (such as supply and demand) can have a considerable financial impact which is then cushioned by their reserve funds. Motability’s view was that newly accredited providers may not be able to do this.

Data sharing

Scottish Government officials led a discussion on the performance data that will be required from Motability Operations. Scottish Government officials will review the current contract and ascertain the nature of data required by them. This may require the development of a new business intelligence analytical tool to capture the necessary information.

Knowledge exchange

Scottish Government officials and Motability Operations were keen to continue knowledge exchange as a way to promote good working relationships in addition to pre-empting potential organisational issues. Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment teams are amendable to meeting with Motability at a point when these benefits have been running for a period of time that would enable a meaningful review and exchange of information. 

Motability Operations is taking the lead and will set up future meetings, however in the meantime, information of people transferred to the new devolved benefits will be provided by Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment teams as per Motability Operation’s request.

Action two: Scottish Government officials to provide data on case transfers to Child Disability Payment and Adult Disability Payment when feasible.

Policy update 

Scottish Government officials provided an update on:

  • the successful national launch of Adult Disability Payment on 29 August 2022
  • [redacted]
  • [redacted]

Motability asked about any research that had been undertaken on the AVE Scheme and whether there were any lessons learned from this that Motability could take on board.

Action three: Nikola will seek to discuss any research undertaken with analytical colleagues to understand timetabling for publication and scope of the research.  

Following the meeting between Barry and the Minister for Social Security and Local Government earlier this year, Motability noted that they planned to arrange a follow-up meeting with the Minister. 

Action four: Motability will contact Private Office to arrange a Ministerial meeting at a mutually convenient time.

Any other business and close

The next meeting will be chaired by Margaret Grigor and will be held on 9 December 2022 at: 

St. Andrews House
Regent Road
EH1 3DG 

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