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  • LAPV magazine – who help local authority fleets run their vehicles more efficiently – contacted us about our recent Road Safety Pays Dividends guide.

    Read the full article here.

  • New FIAG guide helps companies roll out a post Covid-19 fleet strategy amid safety and compliance concerns

    The Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) is so concerned at the impact Covid-19 is having on the safety and compliance of vehicle fleets it has released a series of recommendations on how companies should face up to a post pandemic future.

    ‘Road Safety Pays Dividends’ is a free-to-download 14-page guide aimed at addressing the numerous challenges that have been thrown at fleets since the first lockdown involving both the driver and their vehicle.

    These challenges include:

    • Home working drivers not using vehicles from one month to the next and hence the risk of many vehicles becoming unroadworthy
    • Restricted servicing and MOT facilities being open for business during 2020 and fewer drivers having their vehicles checked and being fit for purpose
    • The increasing number of fleet professionals being furloughed, made redundant or taking early retirement leaving vehicle fleet management in the hands of generalists

    FIAG is committed to sharing best practice across the fleet industry and chairman Ian Housley feels the time has come for fleets to agree on a post Covid vehicle fleet plan and get it implemented as soon as ‘humanly possible’.

    He said: “It is vital to begin the recovery from this unprecedented experience by ensuring best practice processes are implemented that cover drivers, vehicles and journeys.

    “Companies need to recognise that drivers of company vehicles need to be an inclusive component of a pandemic recovery plan.

    “As well as protecting the considerable investment made in vehicle fleets by employers it will help improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs and make driving safer,” he added.

    FIAG’s highly experienced fleet team hopes the guide will give companies confidence to use the Covid-19 pandemic as a one-off opportunity for employers and employees to produce a plan where agreed objectives are set.

    The guide goes as far as embracing the green revolution, including the adoption of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles in the future. It also reminds everyone of a company’s health and safety responsibilities which may have been compromised by the people and structural changes recently made in many organisations due to Covid. 

    As the traditional fleet manager is now almost non-existent within many organisations, many companies have lost the in-house knowledge and skills necessary to develop and deliver a post COVID-19 cost effective fleet operation. 

    “The squeeze on fleet managers is getting worse as more than ever vehicle fleets are being managed by someone as part of a much wider remit and often without any true fleet management experience,” reminded Housley.

    FIAG member Graham Bellman recently retired as fleet director of Travis Perkins and urges fleet operators to sign up to the ‘Road Safety Pays Dividends’ philosophy.

    He said: “Act on the guide’s recommendations and it will not only ensure you comply with current legislation, but as we proved the savings achieved within the fleet operation were around 15% based on driver management, improved systems and reporting and proactive driver engagement.”

    Paul Ayris is fleet manager at LiveWest which is the largest provider of affordable homes in the south west of England running 350 vans and has worked with founding FIAG member Geoffery Bray from Fleet Service GB for the past couple of years.

    “Covid-19 has been a wake-up call for many organisations. The FIAG guide is filled with a common sense, non-nonsense approach but making it happen is I am afraid down to individuals or teams who genuinely want to drive change.

    “As a housing association LiveWest applies a value for money approach to all areas and the expenditure and investment in positive fleet management ensures the solution delivers the best and most cost-effective option which forms the basis of FIAG’s advice.

    “Our fleet results speak for themselves, a year on our investment is yielding positive outcomes and removing cost, reducing road traffic collisions and delivering an operational and cost-efficient fleet,” he said.

    For a free copy of the FIAG guide download it here: www.fiag.co.uk/road-safety-pays-dividends/

  • COMPANY CAR DRIVERS POTENTIALLY FACE BACK TAX DEMAND CAUSED BY NEW OpRA RULES, FIAG WORKSHOP TOLD

    • Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches
    • Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance
    • Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

    Company car-driving employees have been warned that they could be subjected to demands for back tax from HM Revenue and Customs following this year’s introduction of complex Optional Remuneration Arrangements (OpRA) rules.

    The Fleet Industry Advisory Group’s (FIAG) autumn workshop, ‘Fleet Policy – Challenges and Influences’ heard Activa Contracts’ sales and marketing director Lisa Temperton highlight that understanding and correctly interpreting OpRA regulations was one of the “major challenges” currently facing businesses.

    Essentially the new rules were introduced by government to mean employees opting for a salary sacrifice arrangement or taking a company car in lieu of a cash alternative paid tax on the higher of the existing company car benefit value and the salary sacrificed or cash allowance given up. However, car arrangements in place before April 6, 2017 are protected until April 2021 and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) – currently those with CO2 emissions of 75g/km or less – are exempt from the regulation.

    OpRA rules were rapidly introduced on April 6, following confirmation in last year’s autumn Budget and subsequent Finance Bill, but the impact of the changes are still coming to light. For example, it was recently revealed that the new OpRA rules should only take into account the amount of salary sacrificed for the car itself thereby excluding vehicle maintenance, insurance, new tyres and roadside breakdown and recovery for example. That means that the finance rental for a car and all other costs should be separated out making so-called “proportionality” now an issue for employers in respect of OpRA.

    Ms Temperton told delegates at the workshop, which was sponsored by driver risk management specialist Automotional and held at the company’s Training Centre located within the Formula E Paddock at Donington Park Race Circuit, that when P46 (Car) forms were sent to HMRC by employers at the end of the 2017/18 tax year they could be incorrect.

    “Some employees will have underpaid tax and that will cause pain as HMRC looks to recoup the tax they believe due,” said Ms Temperton, who highlighted that underpayment was likely to be caused because company payroll departments were not yet set up to handle the impact of OpRA rules on tax.

    Ms Temperton took delegates on a whistle-stop tour through “50 years of political meddling with the company car” and concluded that other “current challenges” facing fleet decision-makers included:

    • The introduction of the new vehicle emissions and MPG test procedure, known as the Worldwide harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP)
    • “Anti-diesel” vehicle legislation including the introduction of Clean Air Zones in towns and cities nationwide
    • The impact of the new lease accounting standard, known as IFRS 16, effective from January 1, 2019, which in the fleet operating and vehicle leasing sector is mainly focused on its requirement for assets financed via operating lease – contract hire – to be brought on-balance sheet
    • Increasing demand for personal contract hire affinity schemes
    • Getting to grips with a raft of issues surrounding ‘connected cars’ and autonomous vehicles
    • The fall-out from negotiations relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union.

    However, Ms Temperton concluded: “Reports of the death of the company car are greatly exaggerated. The more it changes, the more it stays the same.”

    That presentation introduced a roundtable debate among delegates on the future of the company car and fleet decision-makers agreed that there was perhaps “more uncertainty” than in living memory.

    Some delegates concluded that growing company car benefit-in-kind tax complexity added to demands by employees “not to be dictated to in terms of vehicle choice” could prompt a move away from ‘perk’ company cars.

    However, amid such a scenario some delegates warned that could trigger the increased use of privately-owned cars – the so-called ‘grey fleet’ – being driven on business journeys, which, in many cases, was already proving to be a corporate challenge in terms of managing vehicle documentation and driver licence validation to ensure duty of care compliance. An alternative, to growing ‘grey fleet’ use, it was suggested, was a greater use of hire cars and even pool vehicles.

    Meanwhile, other workshop delegates suggested that company cars continued to deliver “value for money” to employees and there would be no shrinkage in demand.

    Delegates also suggested that job-need cars remained business-critical and, against a background of year-on-year increases in company car benefit-in-kind tax, required “more government support”.

    Courts “get tough” on companies and individuals guilty of health and safety breaches

    Company directors and senior managers inside businesses with fleet responsibility are increasingly likely to be prosecuted with organisations potentially facing fines running into millions of pounds in the event of fatal and non-fatal crashes.

    FIAG workshop delegates heard specialist health and safety lawyer Michael Appleby, partner at London-based Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP, highlight the impact that the 2016 sentencing guidelines for health and safety and corporate manslaughter offences were having on organisations, directors and senior managers.

    The guidelines were introduced by the Sentencing Council last year and provide for a sliding scale of financial penalties linked to the turnover of a business and level of culpability.

    For health and safety offences the scale of penalties is: large organisation with £50 million-plus turnover £3,000-£10 million; medium size organisations with £10-£50 million turnover £1,000-£4 million; small organisations with £2-10 million turnover £100-£1.6 million; micro companies with not more than £2 million turnover £50-£450,000. Convicted individuals face a maximum sentence of up to two years jail and an unlimited fine.

    For companies convicted of corporate manslaughter the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine although the guidelines state a range of £180,000-£20 million depending on the size of the company.

    Mr Appleby revealed that in 2015 just three companies were hit with fines of more than £1 million for breaching health and safety regulations, but that had risen to 19 in 2016 following introduction of the guidelines with two-thirds of cases being non-fatal. Historically, he highlighted, that fines above £1 million were reserved for companies prosecuted following fatalities.

    He also highlighted a dramatic increase in the number of directors and senior managers being prosecuted – up from 15 in 2015 to 46 last year. What’s more, following introduction of the new guidelines, those found guilty were now likely to receive, as a minimum, a suspended prison sentence with directors also disqualified from holding office.

    Mr Appleby told delegates: “There is an increasing interest by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in all area of occupational health including work-related road safety. Businesses should focus on reducing potential areas of harm across the workplace, which includes managing vehicle and driver safety. Inside many organisations there is scant attention being paid to fleet safety, which is a huge area of concern. Policies and procedures must be in place to reduce the risk of exposure to prosecution of directors and senior managers as well as organisations if a crash results in a fatality.”

    Employers urged to relieve driver stress to improve road safety performance

    Employees suffering from stress were 50% more likely to drive dangerously and thus be involved in crashes, according to John Sunderland Wright, training director at Performance on Demand.

    Drivers’ health and well-being was critical to their behaviour on the road, Mr Sunderland Wright told FIAG workshop delegates highlighting that the heart and brain were the two key areas of the body “massively effected” by stress.

    “Stress can inhibit personal performance,” said Mr Sunderland Wright. “High levels of stress causes the brain to do far too much and that causes problems, which for drivers manifests itself in road crashes.”

    Employee surveys frequently highlighted that stress and tiredness were issues for them but, said Mr Sunderland Wright, sleeping for eight to nine hours per night was a solution. He also advised that continually hydrating the body with water was vital as dehydration reduced concentration and reaction levels by 20%.

    With driver stress being a significant contributory factor to road crashes, Mr Appleby reminded delegates that it was a major focus for the HSE in improving work-related road safety.

    He told delegates: “Are drivers so stressed that they cannot do their job properly? Employers must look at their work-related road safety policies and ensure that employees that drive on businesses have the opportunity to have their views on such issues heard.”

    The FIAG workshop debate on the health and well-being of drivers concluded that it was “a hot topic” and it was important that “a massive knowledge gap” across employers was filled.

    Delegates suggested that many employers were “reactive” and not “proactive” in managing employees and only reacted with new policies and procedures following an “incident”.

    As a result, Geoffrey Bray, chairman of FIAG, which was launched four years ago to enable fleet decision-makers to share fleet industry best practice and knowledge, said: “It is vital that employees that drive on business are given advice and information on how to relieve stress and be less tired. Information should not just be written into a company car policy, but there should be conversations and drivers should be empowered to speak up. Drivers are part of the solution and not simply the problem.”

    Businesses “nowhere near” maximising the potential of telematics technology

    Nine in ten businesses that fit telematics to vehicles were “nowhere near” maximising the potential of the technology to obtain a full return on investment, Phil Powell, sales director at Matrix Telematics told the FIAG workshop.

    However, companies that used telematics derived data to effectively manage driver behaviour and vehicle performance reaped significant financial benefits notably in terms of reduced fuel bills, lower maintenance costs due to employees’ adopting a smoother driving style, fewer road traffic crashes and reduced insurance premiums, he explained.

    Highlighting that in-vehicle technology and ‘big data’ was the future, Mr Powell said: “Employers must harvest data from vehicles and use the information gathered to analyse both driver and vehicle performance.”

    During a roundtable discussion, FIAG delegates agreed that telematic systems provided a wealth of data, but flagged up concerns that with the 25 May, 2018 introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) information collected must be used responsibly with drivers informed the use to which it was being put.

    Delegates also agreed that fleet decision-makers could be swamped with the volume of data emerging from telematics system. As a result, it was critical to both centralise and compartmentalise information and focus on highlighted “errors and weaknesses” measured against established key performance indicators so drivers and vehicles were “managed by exception”.

  • FINAL CALL FOR FLEET DECISION-MAKERS TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE AT FIAG’S 2017 AUTUMN WORKSHOP

    The final fleet decision-maker places are available to attend the autumn 2017 workshop hosted by the Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG), which, during round table discussions, will investigate the future composition and fuel of choice of Britain’s company car fleets as well as how to more effectively manage drivers and journeys.

    The debate at the event on Thursday, October 19, 2017 sponsored by driver risk management specialist Automotional is being held at the company’s Training Centre located within the Formula E Paddock at Donington Park Race Circuit close to the M1 in Derbyshire, will focus on:

    • How fleet managers can future proof their vehicle company choice lists with pressure from government to operate plug-in vehicles; diesel, the long-established fleet fuel of choice being ‘demonised’ in the national media amid air quality concerns; and the 2019 introduction of London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone and the potential launch of Clean Air Zones across towns and cities nationwide.
    • Tactics that fleets can introduce to stamp out driver abuse of vehicles – thereby better manage service, maintenance and repair costs – and ensure work-related road safety compliance.
    • Improving journey management with government figures revealing traffic volume on the increase, new research suggesting ‘nightmare’ commutes could soon be the norm around the country with average driving speeds falling; and trials of lorry platoons set to start.

    Round table debates among seminar delegates discussing each topic will be preceded by short presentations from industry experts:

    • Geoffrey Bray, FIAG founding chairman and executive chairman of Fleet Service Great Britain, will focus on the future composition of company car choice lists.
    • John Sunderland Wright, training director, Performance on Demand, will highlight how employers can better manage drivers and improve their performance by boosting their well-being and alleviating driver fatigue and stress thus making them ‘part of the solution’ to improved vehicle management.
    • Phil Powell, sales director, Matrix Telematics, will discuss, with telematics and ‘connected’ cars now prevalent, how vehicle and driver-related data is critical to improving overall business performance and how employers can meet the data protection requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect from May 25, 2018.

    Annual FIAG membership costs £100 per person, which includes attendance at the organisation’s workshops. Members are encouraged to introduce FIAG to fellow fleet decision-makers with guests able to attend workshops at a cost of £25 per person per event.

    Mr Bray said: “Whether a full-time professional fleet manager or a finance, HR or procurement expert with part-time fleet responsibility, the issues raised and topics to be discussed at the workshop are of vital importance to them and their employers.

    “The fleet management world is rapidly changing and those in charge of vehicles and drivers need to react, review all current policies and implement change where deemed necessary. To retain the status quo will not be an option in most fleets.

    “The speakers and round table debates will be thought provoking and will generate new ideas and opportunities that attending fleet decision-makers can learn from and adapt to meet the requirements of their own vehicle operations.”

    FIAG was launched more than three years ago by industry veteran Mr Bray and a team of highly experienced professional fleet managers who collectively have around 200 years’ experience in running vehicle operations.

    Utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience of its founding members – as well as other fleet decision-makers when they join FIAG – the organisation provides fleet advice, consultancy and support through the mentoring of newcomers to the role of fleet manager and less experienced employees with car, van and HGV responsibility.

    The half-day workshop starts at 9.30am and will be followed by a buffet lunch.

    Further information on the autumn workshop including registration is available at: http://www.fiag.co.uk/fiag-workshop-19th-october-2017-book-now/.

  • Geoffrey Bray, chairman of the Fleet Industry Advisory Group, explains that company car selection is critical in the public sector focus on cost management.

    Read the whole article here.

  • Year in review: What the industry thinks

    History may tell us that 2015 was the year in which there was a realisation among fleet decision-makers and some businesses that total cost transparency was critical.

    Read the full article here.

  • Taken from an article in Fleet News, December 10th, 2015

    Value for money is key when choosing, managing, reviewing and changing a supplier

    By Sarah Tooze

    Companies must “think beyond price” when choosing their fleet supplier. Instead, they should appreciate value for money and long-term relationships.

    That was the advice from experienced fleet managers and industry suppliers at the Fleet Industry Advisory Group’s IF/AG) workshop on ‘the role of the supplier in supporting the fleet manager’, which was sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and held at the company’s training centre in Egham, Surrey.

    FIAG founder and chairman Geoffrey Bray warned dele­ gates that “you get what you pay for”.

    “There is no single magic formula to securing the right suppliers, but relationships are key, as is trust,” he said.

    The workshop was based on roundtable discussions, with delegates looking at the role of suppliers in three areas: choosing suppliers, managing suppliers and renewing or changing suppliers. Here, we cover the key points from each.

    CHOOSING THE SUPPLIER

    Fleet managers must work with a number of internal stakeholders in order to choose the right supplier. Peter Weston. Formerly in charge of the Home Retail Group fleet and founding member of FIAG, emphasised the importance of the purchasing department.

    “You need to work in partnership with your procurement team to make sure you get everything you want.” he said.

    The make up of the fleet will also determine which stakeholders play the biggest role. Context will influence decision­making, according to Bray.

    “If it is perk vehicles. you will need HR involved.” he said. “If it is a job-need fleet, it may be different.

    Once the right people are involved in the tender, be clear about what you want to achieve. Tenders that are too general are a waste of time for the both the fleet manager and the supplier. Know what you want to keep in-house and what you want to outsource and what the priorities are, which will generally be led by the broader business objectives.

    “Many businesses frequently do not know what they want and there is often a conflict between saving money and not wanting to upset employees with changes”,·said Weston.

    “The cheapest supplier is almost certainly the one an organisation does not want.”

    He added: “If businesses are not clear during the tender process then suppliers will also be unclear on what is required and may build in potential costs.

    “As a result, those suppliers may be discounted at the first hurdle of the decision-making process because they were too   expensive when, in reality, they could have provided a good service.” He suggested that “scoring systems are good” but companies “need to find the right weighting”.

    “If you’re not clear during the tender process, suppliers will also be unclear on what’s required and may add costs”

    Peter Weston, FIAG

    To some extent, the criteria will be influenced by the type of company, according to Ian Housley, health, safety, environment and quality director at The Clancy Group and FIAG founding member. “It depends how they use the fleet – whether they make money out of the fleet,” he said.

    For example, many major organisations have an in-house division which is responsible for the purchasing of all vehicle assets. It then hires them out at a commercial rate based on whole life costs across an organisations operations thus functioning as a profit centre in its own right”.·

    The importance of finding an ethical supplier with good business practices and a sound reputation was also high­ lighted at the event. For some, the person representing the company during the tender plays a key role. ·If you like the person, you will do business with them,”· Housley suggested. As one delegate pointed out, “people buy from people”.

    However, fleet managers need to bear in mind that their key account manager at a supplier could change during the course of the contract, so it is important to look at the culture of the business as a whole, not Just individuals.

    “Business cultures are critical when selecting suppliers and expecting it to be the start of a long-term business partnership,” said Housley.”Fleets and their suppliers must have a cultural fit and be able to have open and honest discussions. Communication between the two parties is critical.”

    Fleet managers should also look to the future during their discussions with shortlisted suppliers: find out what is happening in the market place and what new products they might be introducing.

    MANAGING THE SUPPLIER

    Service level agreements and key performance indicators are an important part of managing the relationship with the supplier.

    “Measurements should be established at the outset of the selection process and not half-way through,” Housley said. “But service level agreements and KPls need to be specific to the supplier-fleet relationship.”

    The amount of ‘noise’ from drivers is a good indication of how well the relationship is going. along with how quickly complaints are resolved. Delegates suggested that having a fleet manager – or at least someone with fleet knowledge and expertise – within the organisation is important to keep the supplier in check.

    Companies should make sure they understand any fees being charged by the supplier. However, doubts were raised about whether fleet managers ever get “true transparency” from their suppliers over cost.

    “Leasing companies don’t always want to show all the rebates and margins they make,” one delegate suggested.

    However, there was an understanding that suppliers “are in business to make a profit” and, as long as the supplier was providing what the fleet manager wanted at the price it needed to beat, then that was acceptable – though the issue of transparency remained a concern.

    It is good practice to re-evaluate every supplier regularly, according to Weston. “It helps to make sure you’ve got the right price and the right relationship,” he said.

    He also pointed out that “a tender you put together a few years ago might not match your requirements now”.

    When re-evaluating your suppliers, start with how they are performing against the KPls set and do a cost comparison – but don’t forget your drivers.

    Eric Bristow, business analyst – service division at Hobart, saw them as crucial. “It’s important to take drivers·opinions into account,” he said. “Listen to them and accept their comments if a company is not performing.

    “The suppliers we use survey drivers and publish the results monthly. That would form part of our analysis if we needed to change.”

    A decision to change will need to be justified to the board, so fleet managers need to be clear that the change was made for the right reason.

    One delegate warned that changing suppliers could mean you were “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. Fleet managers also have to bear in mind the cost to change and should agree an exit strategy early on.

    Sometimes the cost of changing can outweigh the saving. For example, if you are switching to a new van manufacturer you may have to redesign your racking.

    Delegates advised trying to rectify the situation with a supplier, rather than changing, and only change if issues cannot be rectified.

    Housley added: “When entering a new relationship. it is important to look long term – 10-15 years –and to allow time for that relationship to develop into a true partnership. Fleet­ supplier partnerships are all about learning from when something goes wrong and understanding that both parties must work together for the collective good.”

     

  • Will tax kill the company car – what’s in store for 2016?

    Date:               Wednesday 3rd February 2016

    Venue:            Northampton Saints Rugby Football Club Ltd, Franklin’s Gardens, Weedon Road, Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN5 5BG

    9.30
    Arrival & registration
    Light refreshments will be served

    10.00
    Welcome & Introductions
    Geoffrey Bray
    FIAG update – all activities

    10.05
    Vehicle Emissions and Taxation – the Future
    David Rawlings
    An analysis of the challenges facing fleet decision makers

    10.30
    Roundtable discussion
    Creating the policy’
    Each table to debate and discuss questions relating to policy

    11.15
    Table champion presentations
    Table champion to present findings to the group

    11.30
    Coffee

    11.45
    Roundtable discussion
    ‘Managing the cost’
    Each table to debate and discuss questions relating to managing the cost

    12.30
    Table champion presentations
    Table champion to present findings to the group

    12.45
    Lunch

    1.30
    Roundtable discussion
    ‘Considering the alternatives’
    Each table to debate and discuss questions relating to considering the alternatives

    2.15
    Table champion presentations
    Table champion to present findings to the group

    2.30
    Open debate
    To further discuss key points raised

    3.00
    Summary & close
    Geoffrey Bray
    Acknowledgements

     

    Please note: The above times shown in the agenda are indicative only. The meeting objective is to ensure that the key questions are properly debated and, more importantly, summary conclusions understood.

    As a result, the chairman will amend the times accordingly as the workshop progresses.

  • FIAG helps Hope for Tomorrow deliver next-gen mobile chemotherapy units

    UK cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow is thanking the Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG) for helping it to get the first of its next generation mobile chemotherapy units.

    Read the full article on Transport Engineer

  • Question 3

    Is disposal of vehicles at auction the most cost effective route?

    Please reply in the comments box below.