Meet the team – Sarah Whitehall

Name: Sarah Whitehall.

Job Title: Fleet controller, service support team.

Explain your role in 10 words: Administrator for the maintenance team and invoice processing and ‘anything in between’.

What’s the best aspect of your job? It keeps me busy and there is never a dull moment.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Simon Bray’s jokes (the same ones for 15 years).

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Almost four years.

What was your first paid job? A Saturday job in a dry cleaners.

What’s your favourite car? Audi TT.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? Take my daughter to America to swim with sharks (she’s shark mad!).

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? Anything to do with working with animals.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Tom Hardy, David Attenborough, or Joanna Lumley.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Doing anything with friends and family.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? The usual; house, holiday, cars, treating my family and friends and giving to charity.

Not a lot of people know that… I cry at most Disney films.

Stop press… Stop press… Stop press: Visit Fleet Service GB stand at Fleet Live

Fleet Service GB is exhibiting at Fleet Live taking place on October 8 and 9 at the NEC, Birmingham.

The company will be at stand H16 in the show’s Commercial Fleet Zone where Geoffrey Bray (executive chairman), Marcus Bray (head of sales) and the team will be on hand to talk to customers and prospects.

To register to attend the event, organised by trade publication Fleet News, go to: https://www.fleet-live.co.uk/online-registration.

UK small businesses charge towards van fleet electrification

A quarter (24%) of UK small businesses expect van fleets to be fully electric within a decade with business efficiency the key driver, according to a survey by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

Nissan, which includes the fully electric e-NV200 (pictured) within its van range, said a third of fleet operators in a survey of more than 500 claimed business efficiency was their main motivation when adopting new technologies, followed by cost saving (17%).

Nissan said that sales of the e-NV200 had increased by 200% in 2019 as small business leaders looked to increase fleet efficiency and reduce costs, amid changing emissions legislation and April’s introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone in London. Furthermore, the manufacturer claimed that running costs for the-NV200 were from 2p per mile.

Paolo D’Ettore, director LCV Business Unit Nissan Europe, said “The success of e-NV200 truly demonstrates that we have the right product at the right time. The acceleration of fleet electrification – especially in city centres – is a challenge for our customers, so we recognise the need to work with them and provide the optimal ecosystem to support a smooth transition to electric vehicles.

“Thanks to its intelligent design and zero-emissions powertrain, the Nissan e-NV200 is the perfect tool to help businesses maximise their operational success and contribute to a more sustainable future.”

With particularly high demand from last-mile delivery businesses the 40kW e-NV200 has posted record sales across Europe, with more than 10,000 orders since its introduction in February 2018. The e-NV200 was the best-selling zero-emissions LCV in 10 markets across Europe last year – including the UK.

Meanwhile, Renault, which includes zero emission versions of the Kangoo and Master in its light commercial vehicle line-up, said that 100% of its vans would be electrified by 2022. The French marque is the European leader of electric van sales with a 46.2% market share.

Ashwani Gupta, senior vice president of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi LCV business, said: “These results show that the electrification of fleets is increasingly on the minds of our customers – not just for the financial efficiencies that electric vehicles can deliver, but because environmental sustainability is clearly crucial to the future of their businesses. I’m impressed at how optimistic these fleet managers are about the speed in which their vehicles will be fully electrified.”

Tyre selection and driving style ever-more critical to maximise plug-in vehicle fleet performance

Tyre selection – allied to driving style – will be even more critical to maximise performance and longevity, and minimise fleet costs, when fitted to the new breed of electric vehicles, according to Kwik Fit, a Fleet Service GB supplier.

The number of plug-in cars on the UK’s roads is increasing month-on-month – and is expected to accelerate rapidly in the wake of advantageous company car benefit-in-kind tax changes from April 6, 2020.

That’s because benefit-in-kind tax on 100% electric cars tumbles from 16% of the P11D value in the current tax year (2019/20) to 0%, 1% and 2% respectively in the following three financial years, 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23.

What’s more, with plug-in hybrid electric cars with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 50g/km or below also attracting a significantly lower company car benefit-in-kind tax charge than internal combustion engine-only equivalent models, the Government is driving fleets and employees firmly along the electric road in pursuit of its clean air objectives.

Now Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest automotive maintenance and repair company and the leading fast-fit supplier of tyres in the country, says tyre replacement decisions and driving style will be key to limiting tyre consumption during an electric model’s fleet life.

Primarily this is because the weight of electric batteries means that plug-in vehicles are up to 30% heavier than equivalent internal combustion engine models, putting more strain on the tyres and taking longer to stop.

Andy Fern, fleet sales director, Kwik Fit, said: “Tyres will become an even more important feature of a plug-in vehicle than they are in respect to petrol and diesel models.

“Electric vehicle demand is at embryonic levels, but it is clear that company car benefit-in-kind tax changes will fuel a huge surge in fleet take-up. The infancy of the sector means that it is too early to determine exactly how real world tyre wear will compare to internal combustion engine models, but it is business-critical that fleet operators monitor how tyre life is impacted by the unique characteristics of plug-in vehicles.”

To maximise electric vehicle performance, premium brand tyre manufacturers are developing dedicated tyres and that choice will increase as the market expands. First generation electric vehicles have been invariably equipped with ‘narrow tyres’, to reduce rolling resistance and help increase range between charges. On the downside, a reduced contact patch with the road increases the demand on tyres and can potentially increase wear rates.

Tyre labelling introduced in November 2012 classifies performance in respect of fuel efficiency (rolling resistance), wet grip and noise levels and tyre manufacturers are focused on ensuring the right balance between those factors.

Mr Fern said: “Rolling resistance is of critical importance for an electric vehicle to achieve a stated range. Therefore, premium branded tyres are likely to be even more essential than on petrol and diesel models.

“Similarly, without the noise from an internal combustion engine, the road noise created by tyres will become more significant, and as a result many drivers and fleet managers will want tyres with low noise characteristics for their full-electric vehicles.”

However, to maximise tyre life and ensure maximum performance and longevity, it is important for drivers to adopt a smooth style of driving and to regularly undertake tyre safety checks.

Harsh acceleration and cornering in an electric vehicle, coupled with its additional weight, will have a major impact on tyre wear and tear, so smooth driving will improve tyre life and maintain performance.

What’s more, as with any vehicle, ensuring that the correct tyre pressure for the vehicle is maintained will also maximise tyre life.

Mr Fern concluded: “Drivers of plug-in vehicles typically adopt a smoother driving style with an increased focus on efficiency to preserve battery range. Battery technology is continually improving in terms of providing drivers with additional mileage between charging, but range remains a critical factor in the shift to electric.

“Tyre longevity is influenced by numerous factors – tyre selection, in-life maintenance and driver behaviour – and those characteristics have a greater dominance in respect of electric vehicles, predominantly due to their added weight.

“As always, premium brand tyres will deliver maximum longevity when compared with cheaper tyres, while rolling resistance assumes a greater importance if zero-emission range is to be maximised.”

Electric vehicle tyre wear – one reason for possible lower rates versus internal combustion engine models:

  • Driving style – a tendency to drive more carefully with an increased focus on vehicle efficiency (battery range protection).

Electric vehicle tyre wear – one reason for possible increased rates versus internal combustion engine models:

  • Weight – electric vehicles can be up to 30% heavier than a conventional internal combustion engine derivative.

Law must be updated to provide increased access to in-vehicle data recorders, say safety experts

Road crash investigation experts have called for the law to be changed to provide increased access to information contained within in-vehicle event data recorders (EDRs).

The technology is fitted to most new vehicles and is typically used to record information about road traffic collisions. EDR data helps provide accurate and reliable information of the actions taken by drivers in the pre-collision phase.

However, in the UK and the European Union, the accessibility of EDR data is restricted due to a lack of up-to-date legislation, according to TRL, the global centre for innovation in transport

Currently, motor manufacturers are not required to provide authorities, road safety researchers or vehicle owners with EDR data. But, TRL says legislation governing the accessibility of vehicle EDR evidence must be changed to improve safety, reduce costs, speed up legal proceedings and save lives. It wants EDR collision data to be made available to the police, insurers, the courts and road safety researchers.

Fleet Service GB already provides customers using its Achieve Driver Management, which pro-actively measures a driver’s performance, with a wide range of data designed to improve occupational road safety and simultaneously reduce employers’ risk exposure. Any move to make EDR data more accessible would further aid that programme with information potentially fed into the solution.

What’s more, TRL argues, that EDR data will become even more important in a connected and automated future as systems grow increasingly complex. Indeed, TRL is the lead participant in the Government-backed Greenwich-based driverless vehicle project.

As driverless vehicles advance from semi to fully automated over the next decade or so, it will be vital to understand the data of in-vehicle safety systems and what the vehicle or a safety driver was doing prior to a collision, according to TRL.

Essentially, EDRs, which were introduced in the 1970s, are the equivalent of a black box that records a range of data from safety systems fitted to a vehicle in the seconds before, during and after a collision. That information can include indicated vehicle speed, engine revs, engine throttle performance and accelerator and brake pedal use.

The retrieved data can prove helpful, according to TRL, in being able to verify or dismiss driver accounts, as well as confirming the operating conditions of a vehicle immediately prior to a collision.

Dean Beaumont, accident reconstruction consultant for TRL’s expert witness team, explained: “Physical evidence and CCTV footage is vital in the reconstruction of road traffic collisions. However, EDRs provide important information about the movements of a vehicle before, during and after a collision event that, in many cases, could not be obtained from any other source.

“When analysed by a suitably qualified expert, EDR data allows for a detailed and more accurate investigation into road traffic collisions, specifically in regard to causation and liability. The advantage of EDRs are that they are already installed in the car; it is simply a case of being able to access the data.

“In the UK and European Union, manufacturers are slowly allowing access to this data, but this only applies to a very small number of vehicles. Sharing of EDR data should not be placed above lives in serious and fatal collisions. For example, the United States is far ahead of other regions when it comes to EDRs, as the data is regulated and access is also governed by legislation.”

He continued: “Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and UK and European Union legislation must not fall behind. Regulating the access of EDR data in the automotive industry will help advance collision reconstruction and the industry’s understanding of vehicle design and safety to that of the aviation industry. The United States model of EDR data regulation is already showing how useful this information can be.”

The TRL expert witness team offer a wide range of services within incident investigation; ranging from an initial desktop review on liability to in-depth collision reconstruction of single or multi-vehicle incidents, as well as numerous specialist services, including CCTV analysis, laser scanning, vehicle telematics and diagnostics and seat belt and helmet analysis.

Public and private sector clients include solicitors, police and government bodies in both criminal and civil proceedings.

Fleets braced for car and van price rises as motor industry rages against ‘no deal’ Brexit

The motor industry has warned of the “catastrophic consequences” of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal on October 31 with fleets – and consumers – told to expect major new car, commercial vehicle and component price rises.

What’s more the imposition of World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariffs and the end of barrier-free trade would almost certainly mean the collapse of the motor industry’s ‘just-in-time’ business model resulting in delays in the import of vehicles and components, all adding to fleet operating costs.

Meanwhile, there have also been warnings that with the supply of plug-in vehicles in the European Union market already under pressure – the UK is currently the third largest market in the European Union for electric vehicles – a ‘no deal’ Brexit could further hamper UK supply.

A total of 23 organisations from across the European motor industry – including the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – have joined forces to stress the severe impact a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

With less than one month to go before the UK is due to leave the European Union, the organisations warned:

  • ‘No deal’ would trigger a seismic shift in trading conditions, with billions of Euros of tariffs threatening to impact consumer choice and affordability on both sides of the Channel
  • The end of barrier-free trade could bring harmful disruption to the industry’s ‘just-in-time’ operating model, with the cost of just one minute of production stoppage in the UK alone amounting to €54,700 (£50,000)
  • WTO tariffs on cars and vans could add €5.7 billion (£5 billion) to the collective European Union-UK automotive trade bill, raising prices for customers if manufacturers cannot absorb the additional cost.

Automotive manufacturer leaders said that such disruption and cost “must be avoided, and that all effort should be made to deliver an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the European Union”.

The imposition of trade tariffs would trigger price increases – unless brands and their retail networks could absorb the additional costs which some have already warned they cannot – with the possibility of:

  • The list price of cars rising by 10%
  • Commercial vehicle prices rising by up to 22% (an average 13.5% for light vans)
  • The cost of vehicle components by up to 4.5%.

It has been suggested that new car prices could rise by an average of £1,500-£1,800 and £70 could be added to the cost of a typical vehicle service.

What’s more, some motor manufacturers have previously warned that the burden of price rises could mean that available model choice was reduced.

Meanwhile, fleets can expect the in-life cost of vehicle operations to also rise as a result of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. Experts have suggested that service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs could rise by 10%, while such an increase – along with the rise in the price of components – would also trigger a surge in insurance premiums.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “European automotive is deeply integrated and the benefits of free and frictionless trade have helped our sector become one of Europe’s most valuable assets, delivering billions to economies and supporting millions of livelihoods across the European Union.

“A ‘no deal’ Brexit would have an immediate and devastating impact on the industry, undermining competitiveness and causing irreversible and severe damage. UK and European Union negotiators have a responsibility to work together to agree a deal or risk destroying this vital pillar of our economies.”

Sigrid de Vries, secretary general, of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), said: “The European automotive industry is operating highly integrated global supply chains. A single vehicle consists of around 30,000 parts many of which cross borders multiple times. Frictionless and tariff-free trade, as well as regulatory certainty, is vital. Brexit has a negative effect on all these aspects. Brexit, specifically a ‘no deal’ Brexit, will be seriously damaging to the supplier’s industry in Europe and the UK and must be avoided.”

Separately, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) said in a ‘no deal’ Brexit briefing note that the Government needed “to use existing regulatory and policy tools to ensure sufficient incentives for carmakers to sell ultra-low emission vehicles in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’.

With motor manufacturers bound by fleet emission targets which if breached result in huge fines, the BVRLA said: “It is not clear in a ‘no deal’ that UK sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would count towards a manufacturer’s European Union carbon emissions targets, creating a disincentive to sell ultra-low emission vehicles into the UK market. This will impact our ability to achieve net zero emissions targets.”

Future Labour Government to lead electric car revolution: Fleets urged to go 100% plug-in by 2025

A future Labour Government would lead an ‘electric car revolution’ with car fleets urged to ‘go 100% electric’ by 2025 and a raft of financial measures revealed to speed up adoption of plug-in vehicles by businesses and consumers.

The far-reaching plan would also include the phasing out of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 – the current Conservative Government has said 10 years later in 2040.

What’s more, Labour’s shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey has pledged to make the entire Government car fleet – 70,0000 vehicles – electric by 2025. The Conservative-led Government has said that it would aim for 25% of the fleet to be electric by 2022.

Calling Labour’s measures “part of the Green Industrial Revolution” that the Party planned to lead, Ms Long Bailey said: “For those [companies] that transition their entire fleet to electric vehicles by 2025 we will install charging stations in workplaces and depots. In this way Labour will ensure the right conditions are in place for an electric vehicle revolution on our roads.”

The charge towards electric cars and vans was revealed by Ms Long Bailey in a string of related announcements at this week’s Labour Party Conference in Brighton. They included:

  • Providing ‘certainty’ on company car benefit-in-kind tax by maintaining the existing schedule for pure electric vehicles at 2% beyond 2022/23
  • Waiving for two years the £320 Vehicle Excise Duty surcharge on electric vehicles with a list price above £40,000 purchased for fleet use
  • A vehicle scrappage scheme to take 400,000 of the ‘dirtiest cars’ over 10 years old off the roads thereby saving buyers £2,000 per vehicle. The scheme would initially be available for one year
  • £2.5 million to fund interest-free loans of up to £33,000 to support low to middle income households, those living in rural areas and independent contractors and SMEs purchase new electric cars. The Government would cover the £1,500 cost of interest on a loan, with individuals saving up to £5,000 over time. A total of 500,000 interest free loans would be issued every year, for five years. The maximum loan size of £33,000 in year one would reduce as electric vehicle costs fell and would be issued by car manufacturers and dealers, but guaranteed by the Government
  • Investing £3.6 billion in building charging networks, more than 72,000 charging banks, in towns and along motorways
  • Investing £300 million to support the creation of ‘community car clubs’ owned by the community, thus emulating private companies like Zipcar, so making access to 30,000 electric vehicles “as easy as ordering a pizza” with models rented via an app
  • Making £3 billion available to invest in new electric car models and technology, to enable vehicle manufacturers to bring new electric car models into production
  • Investing more than £2 billion towards the construction of three battery ‘gigafactories’ (plants) in South Wales, Stoke and Swindon – potentially on the current Honda site – to manufacture the batteries needed for electric cars.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association welcomed Labour’s package of measures to drive fleet demand for electric vehicles.

Chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “It is reassuring to see fleets being acknowledged in this announcement as it indicates a degree of understanding and appreciation of the key role that fleets play in delivering the UK’s zero emission goals.”

However, he added: “We welcome the proposed removal of the £320 surcharge for electric vehicles, which was one of our recent pre-Budget 2019 calls to the Chancellor, but this on its own will not be enough for fleets to meet this 2025 target.

“We need to remove some of the uncertainties that are currently stifling progress. The fleet sector needs some long-term clarity on future company car tax rates for electric vehicles. We would also like to see continued support for the Plug-in Car Grant to at least 2025.”

Labour said that the rapid roll out of charging stations would eliminate concerns over driving range and lack of electric car charging infrastructure by providing enough electric charge points for 21.5 million electric cars – 65% of the UK’s fleet – by 2030. That, it claimed, would double the number of electric cars that the Conservative Government was planning for by 2030.

The networks, said Ms Long Bailey, would  be made up of ‘en-route’ ultra-fast charge stations along motorways, and a mixture of ‘about town’ rapid and ultra-fast charge stations in more urban environments.

On the expansion of the UK’s electric vehicle charging networks, Ms Long Bailey said: “The Tories have sat on their hands as air pollution poisons our children and the climate emergency intensifies. Their inaction on electric charging infrastructure has held back the transition to cleaner vehicles and put our industry behind the curve.

“Labour is ready to jumpstart an electric car revolution. We will roll out electric vehicle charging infrastructure to every city, town and village, and along our motorways. Under Labour, nobody buying an electric car needs to worry about running out of fuel.”

Electricity, she said, would be generated from renewable sources and distributed by Labour’s publicly owned grid and newly-created National and Regional Energy Agencies. Those bodies would also oversee the roll out of the electric vehicle charging networks and create up to 3,000 new jobs for electricians and network engineers.

Ms Long Bailey also highlighted the importance of “accelerating the shift away from cars driven by fossil fuels” to electric cars powered by wind and solar as becoming more urgent to tackle what she called “the climate emergency”.

She said: “On day one of a Labour government, we will begin a broad consultation with industry and trade unions exploring the transition from internal combustible engine to zero emission vehicles at the earliest possible opportunity. It is our objective to secure through these discussions a rapid but just transition that ensures the necessary infrastructure and support for skilled manufacturing jobs is in place with a firm ambition to phase out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030.”

Claiming that the current Government “lacked ambition” on electrification, Ms Long Bailey said: “We need to accelerate the shift away from fossil-powered cars if we’re to tackle the climate emergency. If we want our automotive sector to flourish, we need a Government which is not afraid to intervene. Labour’s electric car revolution support package will accelerate the electrification process.”

Additionally, a further £500 million would be available by a Labour Government for research and development to encourage the UK to become a world leader in electric, connected and autonomous car technology.

Visit us at Fleet Live this October!

Fleet Service GB will be exhibiting at Fleet Live, in Birmingham at the NEC.

Join Marcus, Geoffrey and members of our team on October 8th and 9th, at stand H16 in the Commercial Fleet Zone.

We will be showcasing our family of Achieve driver and vehicle management services, so come along, discuss your fleet needs and discover what Fleet Service GB has to offer you.

Fleet Live is a free event, just register your attendance here.

We look forward to seeing you!

Meet the team – Steve Williams

Name: Steve Williams.

Job Title: Head of IT and development.

Explain your role in 10 words: Leading the development of Fleet Service GB’s in house IT systems.

What’s the best aspect of your job? Working with the business and its customers to deliver new IT solutions.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Receiving a bug report for a change that has just gone live.

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? 5 years.

What was your first paid job? Working in the local newsagent.

What’s your favourite car? Nissan GTR.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? Have an area of the Fleet Service GB system that is considered truly finished with no nice-to-haves left to implement.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? Working for SpaceX.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Elon Musk.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Spending time with my wife and my daughter, probably at the zoo.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? Aside from the usual house, car, holiday mix I’d throw a massive party for all my friends and family.

Not a lot of people know that… I used to write novels as a hobby.

Employee communication allied to the use of technology is at the heart of driver management best practice, says Fleet Service GB

Poor employee communication equals poor policy equals poor outcomes is the verdict of Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) executive chairman Geoffrey Bray (pictured).

It’s a view shared by the Chartered Institute of Personal and Development (CIPD), which says in a paper published earlier this year: “Employee communication is an essential part of business.

“Effective internal communication is important for developing trust within an organisation and is shown to have significant impact on employee engagement, organisational culture and, ultimately, productivity.”

Yet CIPD research suggests that many employees feel they receive limited or very little information.

Managing the vehicle, driver and journey is the raison d’etre of Fleet Service GB through its suite of industry-leading Achieve-branded solutions: Maintenance Management, Crash Management, Driver Management, Management Services, Fleet Manager and Fleet Service Partnership.

Achieve Driver Management is at the core of the technology-based menu of programmes as it pro-actively measures individual driver performance awarding points based on a raft of measures including motoring offences and number and type of crashes.

Simultaneously, drivers can improve their record through a range of best practice parameters including completing online ‘how to’ e-learning programmes

The Achieve Driver Management dashboard identifies which employees have authority to drive, driver-influenced vehicle costs – including maintenance bills and tyre usage – and a company’s best and worst drivers using a number of key intelligent parameters including: points.

Meanwhile, the closely-related driver app embraces a wide range of features including notifications, prompts, reminders and alerts; the ability to arrange bookings for servicing, maintenance and repairs, including tyres; a facility to report an incident or breakdown; a facility to upload images, capturing incident and/or vehicle condition; and the ability to update vehicle mileage in real-time.

The driver app provides employees with the facility to communicate with Fleet Service GB by phone, email and text.

Mr Bray said: “Driver influenced costs are the single biggest drain on fleet budgets. Effective communication underpinned by technology has a critical role to play in reducing those costs with drivers a key part of the solution.

“Additionally, disciplined driver performance is crucial to managing work-related road risk and ensuring compliance. The uniqueness of Achieve is that it continuously records and measures both individual driver compliance and performance via a points process to compile a real-time driver history taking into account all key data to produce a ‘drive safe, stay safe’ employee mentality.”

He continued: “Driver engagement, in my experience, is one of the biggest issues faced by companies. Too often there is an assumption that all an organisation has to do is issue a company car or van handbook and drivers’ will read it and know exactly what they should be doing.

“That is simply not the case. Over a 50-year career in fleet I’ve seen, and continue to see, how vehicle-related problems have occurred simply because fleet decision-makers have failed to communicate properly with drivers. That then has a direct impact on business efficiency and fleet costs.

“In today’s hi-tech age there is no excuse not to have an interactive driver communications strategy that will enhance the efficiency of the fleet. I’m aware, for example of one major fleet that records its own one minute videos on key fleet issues and sends them to all drivers.

“Additionally, drivers are a fleet manager’s eyes and ears on the road. In terms of the choice of vehicles and their features, the way a vehicle performs in-life and interaction with frontline suppliers such as fleet management companies and garages, drivers’ views should be actively obtained and taken into consideration when reviewing and potential changing policies.

“Too often fleet decision-makers sit in their own bubble and fail to embrace drivers’ views. Fleet decision-makers that fail to involve drivers in the decision-making process cannot possibly know what the day-to-day operational impact of any decisions may be.

“In a large organisation it may not be possible to engage individually with every single driver. However, drivers’ representative groups can be formed and all employees should feel that they can at least communicate by telephone or email with the fleet manager and their views will at the very least be listened to.

“For example, the driver handbook may recommend that vehicle tyres are checked monthly. But having conveyed that policy, how does a fleet manager know that checks are being undertaken as required? There may be a requirement, for example, to circulate video reminders or introduce a third party to undertake checks. Simply to communicate a policy once via handbook and expect it to be religiously carried out is a far too simplistic approach.”

The CIPD says: “Effective communication is a vital part of developing transparency in organisations. Clear and consistent internal messaging is also needed as the nature of organisations and their workforces continues to change, driven by factors including technology.

“Good employee communication will help people to understand their organisation’s purpose and strategy, identify with the organisation’s values, and develop a sense of belonging by understanding how their role contributes to the wider purpose. Workers are more likely to contribute more and feel committed if there’s a culture of open communication.”

Importantly, adds the CIPD: “Rather than being a ‘top down’ exercise, there needs to be two-way and multi-directional dialogue, so that people have meaningful opportunities to feed their views upwards and discuss them with colleagues. This is central to developing more effective and agile organisations, through innovation and responding to operational issues.”

The CIPD’s ‘Employee Communication’ factsheet can be viewed at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/communication/factsheet#15763