Private use of government vehicles

| 29/04/2016

What is the government policy on using vehicles belonging to government and its statutory authorities for personal errands and to pick up directors’ children from school using staff as drivers?

Auntie’s answer: While you asked two questions, they are really just different parts of the same issue, which is the use of government vehicles for non-work-related reasons.

I checked with the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services, which manages the government’s fleet. The answer that came back was unequivocal: “The private use of government vehicles to and from work is prohibited, unless approved by their head of department in exceptional circumstances. Government vehicles are not allowed to be used for private purpose.”

Anticipating other questions that might then crop up from our alert readers, I enquired about the law and any penalties in this regard. While personal use of public vehicles is not legislated, there is a policy in place prohibiting it. And, yes, those who are caught violating this policy are subject to escalating punishment.

Here’s how it was explained: “Infractions are dealt with by the head of department. He/she can issue formal warnings and if it continues then they may take disciplinary actions for minor misconduct. There are no penalties mandated by law regarding civil servants using government vehicles for private use. However, if caught using a vehicle without permission at all, then section 90 of the Traffic Law 2011 (unlawful use of vehicle) can be enforced and the matter handed over to the police for investigation.”

It would appear that serious consequences could well ensue if you take this infraction to its most egregious level, though it might take a while to get that far.

Improper use of a government vehicle may not be covered under the Public Service Management Law, but it does outline rules of conduct for civil servants.

There are actually three escalating levels of misconduct that are defined – minor, serious and gross. The fate of the employee who commits the infraction will depend on the magnitude of the violation and the opinion of the employee’s boss but in the worst-case scenario, he or she can be fired. And, clearly, a police investigation might not bode well for someone’s job security.

I cannot help but throw in my two cents here and say that for those civil servants blithely stopping at the market to pick up a few things or making school runs in their government-branded cars, this might be a good time to put the brakes on that practice, as it were.


Category: Ask Auntie

Comments (28)

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  1. People For A Dump Free G.T. says:

    Should we talk about the illegal dumping of Government vehicles as well, like those NRA ones across from PPM Headquarters with the logos spray painted over?

  2. Anonymous says:

    The misuse of government cars is widespread. Why do ministers too feel its ok to take staff away from government to run errants and in government cars to boot. Its dishonest and should be considered misconduct in a public office. Its robbing

  3. Anonymous says:

    They don’t even get punished for use of Government credit cards for personal use much less the vehicles.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr DG, do you care to comment on what appears to be widely known about the abuse of Government and statutory authority vehicles? Perhaps a little enforcement maybe?

  5. Anonymous says:

    It will only STOP when a family member of a civil servant is seriously injured or killed (God forbid) in a government vehicle and the driver of such vehicle is at fault or if the government vehicle seriously injuries or kills another civilian while being driven for personal use.

    The civil servant ASS will then be GRASS and they will have to walk the blank all alone.

    Don’t expect no backing from your HOD or the ministry when/if this should happen and neither the public.


    • Anonymous says:

      There have been many civil servants and/or family members injured in non-work related accidents involving gov’t property. Another one just this weekend collided head-on with a Civic at 5am on Sunday. Driver of Civic in serious condition. Cops spectacularly crash their cars ALL THE TIME – often single car accidents in the middle of the afternoon. There are many that crash drunk and flee the scene – including XXXXX and standing MLAs. We seem to have a very short memory for this stuff, particularly in that there is rarely any appropriate consequence.

  6. Anonymous says:

    just another of the long lists of policies and laws which are not enforced

  7. X civil Servent says:

    I see MRCU, DOEH, HMCI PLN travelling with school children.
    I see people driving all sorts of stuff home at night.
    I need me one of them jobs. I can save lots of money

  8. anonymous says:

    A formal warning instead of immediate reimbursement of the cost associated with the use of a vehicle? This is just another gasboy scheme. People, take pictures, better videos and publish on YouTube. Then something might change.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Once again the policy is in place but sadly no enforcement.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CIG needs to address the speeding also! Water, PWD and NRA, all Guilty!

  11. Anonymous says:

    sorry that falls under “other duties”

  12. Anonymous says:

    Each morning I see MRCU, DOEH,HMCI and I’m sure a planning vehicle dropping off kids @prep,catholic&cifec. I’m sure there are some doing it at John grey.

    • Anonymous says:

      There has been a very dirty and decaying CIG vehicle abandoned at Trumman Bodden Sports Complex parking lot by JGHS for at least 7 years. Might still be there. CIG obviously doesn’t know the size or whereabouts of its fleet at all. No effort to recover that one in all those years – not even as a public courtesy!

    • Anonymous says:

      then your comments are not all government agencies but some. and we need to realize thats it the head of that department that is responsible and concerns by the public should be sent against that department and let the head explain.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Question: “…for personal errands and to pick up >>directors’<>head of department<<."

    Do as I say, not as I do. (Been going on for years)

  14. SKEPTICAL says:

    If it was a case of “unlawful use of a vehicle” what would be the position regarding insurance in the event of an accident, particularly one resulting in personal injury.

  15. Anonymous says:

    But what if it is the Head of Department whose child is being picked up in a government vehicle driven by a member of staff? Presumably they will ok that. Sit outside the schools on Walkers Road and see how many government vehicles drive into the schools.

  16. Jah Dread is back says:

    Hmm well your response speaks to departments and Headsof departments Auntie, but you know it does not speak of Z Government Minister(s) they too should not abuse the system. Are there any farmers in the House.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is another practice within the public service which is so prevalent that it is probably taken for granted that it is permitted. While there are policies in place there is little enforcement.

    I know one particular public organization which had no eyes on this practice while under a particular management. When that management changed there was a crack-down on the practice and additionally, log books were placed in the organization’s vehicles so as to verify official usage. This was only one inappropriate practice which was corrected under this management. That management was changed shortly after by the incoming Board and thereafter the practice of un-monitored vehicle use resumed and flourished!

    In Cayman’s public service of today doing the right thing makes one the outsider. It speaks directly to the inherent “corruption” to which the Compass referred some time ago. Of course that pissed-off the Premier and many other Caymanians but in contexts like this it is blatantly true!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Except the Compass said YOU were corrupt as well. (Everyone was, except assumedly the Compass editorial stance.)

      Note: The above is not a defiance of improper use of Gov. vehicles, or anything else. tis pointing out that the Compass editorial was still insultingly wrong to you, I and everyone else doing the right thing.

  18. Anonymous says:

    There is widespread misuse of government vehicles for orivate use. Also some “untouchables” while receiving an allowamce for using their own cars are also block booking government cars. You can put your name down to book a car but this person has priority for no better reason than he is “connected”.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is this April first again? The private use of government vehicles is unending in Grand Cayman and even worse in Cayman Brac where someone runs his private business from a government truck.

  20. Ohminnybusman says:

    If government stopped allowing hundreds of civil servants to use government vehicles outside work hours and purposes, the country might have the money to fund a decent public transport system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Photograph the vehicle and passengers. Send it to cans to publish, then follow up with the department to see what was done.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I too was wondering what was the policy for the use of government vehicles for private use. The Fire Service vehicles is considered an “East End” public transport, or especially the private “Family” vehicle of the Female Officer. I have actually seen her husband driving this government vehicle and he is not even a Civil Servant. However, this will not come as a surprise to the Chief Fire Officer or the Ministry of Home Affairs, as I have personally ask the same question to them, or course without an explanation back.
    So don’t hold your breath or see any action soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take a picture or bid o and email it to the individuals boss. Failing any repercussions, send it higher and again if fails, send to the anti- corruption and all the news outlets.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Discipline a Civil Servant for personal use of a Government vehicle? Yeah, sure! That’ll happen when a certain very hot place freezes over solid! It’ll happen just as often as does prosecution of someone for abuse of an animal!