As the DVSA’s new Account Manager for Earned Recognition (ER), it’s Phil Breen’s role to liaise with operators, providing them with advice, guidance and support through the process of joining the ER scheme. CVW spoke to Phil about the latest updates regarding ER.
Q. What is the level of interest from operators? What’s the typical timescale from application to approval?
Phil Breen (PB): We’ve got lots of interest currently; we’re getting calls most weeks from operators who want a bit more information or help with their application. We now have 230 Operator Licences on the scheme, covering 7% of the national fleet – that’s over 18,377 lorries and over 14,000 PSVs. The exciting bit is that we’ve got some really big household names going through the process at the moment, so this is set to rise.
We’ve also got operators applying with all sizes of fleet, which is important to us, as the scheme is designed for all operators, from the national chains right through to the one-man-bands. It usually takes between a week and a month and a half to join the scheme, depending on aspects such as audit times, fleet size and information/data systems in place.
Q. Does your ER team have some tips on how to smooth out the application process? What have they found to be the most challenging aspects for operators, particularly in relation to upgrading IT systems to meet ER requirements?
PB: We’ve found that having an ER audit carried out just before the application form is submitted has sped up the processing time for Operators. Additionally, communication between an Operator and their I.T supplier is important for a smooth application, as well as reading all the instructions and the requirements from the ER website.
We’re currently reviewing the application process to make the experience easier for companies to apply. This includes making the forms more user-friendly and the key points of information clearer in order to avoid any confusion regarding our requirements. Early engagement with myself or my team Also helps to ensure that all requirements are understood at the outset. We are very happy to come along to talk you through this as soon as you first start thinking about it, to set you off on the right path.
Q. What has operator feedback been like after they have signed up to the ER scheme?
PB: We’ve got lots of examples of operators on the scheme that have found benefits outside of the ones we list. We’ve been hearing that their businesses have benefitted in lots of ways as a result of the extra information that they have at their fingertips. Dave Edwards at BT Fleet Solutions has been a big cheerleader for us; he’s said that he would 100% recommend the scheme. Lesley O’Brien at Freightlink Europe has found that the company has benefitted a lot from doing the audit and being super-compliant.
In terms of other news, we’re working on new modules currently, which will become more important in gaining specific contracts. We can’t give too much away, but it’s certainly exciting times here. We’ll let the industry know as soon we can.
There will be more announcements soon, but the fact that we’re now managing a big chunk of the national fleet means we can use more of our resources on the seriously and serially non-compliant. That’s the whole point of ER, if we don’t have to check on operators that have proven and continue to prove that they’re compliant, we can concentrate on the dangerous operators and take them out of the market, making our roads safer and levelling the playing field for good operators.