Meet the team – Vicky Strange

Name: Vicky Strange.

Job Title: Implementation lead, customer services.

Explain your role in 10 words: Implementing new customers and dealing with all customer service queries.

What’s the best aspect of your job?There’s a few… creating a good partnership with our clients and understanding their needs and expectations; working with a fantastic team of people who are all committed to the same goal; making service personal.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Probably the morning drive to work… we have roadworks at the minute (although currently home working due to the coronavirus pandemic).

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Since April 2016.

What was your first paid job? Chambermaid.

What’s your favourite car? MGB GT.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? Write children’s books.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? I like making all sorts of things so probably running my own boutique or haberdashery shop.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Actors Tom Hardy or Chris Hemsworth.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Lazing in the sun with my friends, enjoying a gin and tonic and a good book.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? House, car, holiday and share the rest with family and friends.

Not a lot of people know that… I met Noel Edmonds when Crinkley Bottom – a fictional village which was the location for TV programme Noel’s House Party – was filmed where I used to work many years ago at Lucknam Park.

The company car of the future: A hub for yoga, sleeping and relaxing

Is this what the company car of 2050 could like? The futuristic model is a fully electric, colour-changing vehicle with space for passengers to make the most of the time they spend in the autonomous car – by relaxing, doing yoga and even sleeping during the commute.

Featuring ‘digital paint’, the car allows passengers to change the colour and style of the vehicle from the tap of an app, depending on their mood, with advances in technology meaning such a feature could be widely available as early as 2040.

Designed to be a home away from home, passengers can relax and unwind on the built-in mattress in the centre of the spacious cabin

The glimpse into the future is courtesy of Auto Trader, which claims to be the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars. It compiled the concept design based on the expertise of futurologist Tom Cheesewright, market trends, the rate of technological development and research into consumer demand.

The 2050 driverless car is in the shape of a smooth pod and has features that include a built-in library and large in-built TV screen. The vehicle welcomes passengers with a friendly AI (artificial intelligence) that helps them set their preferred driving speed and style, whether out for a leisurely Sunday drive or dashing home for dinner.

The car is fitted with windows that extend right over the roof in one large bubble, offering more head room to allow passengers to freely move around during transit.

It also features 360 degree panoramic views for those wanting to sit back, relax and enjoy an autonomous ride, plus black-out functionality on the windows, which can be activated with a quick tap.

Auto Trader’s Rory Reid said: “The Government’s recent announcement on bringing forward the ban on sales of petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars to 2035 is already influencing what Brits are looking for. Overnight we saw a 165% increase in searches for electric vehicles on Auto Trader.

“So it’s no surprise that the 2050 car will be fully electric, but it’s fascinating to think what these advancements, including driverless tech, could mean for the actual design of cars and how they could be used.

Futurologist, Mr Cheesewright said: “Tomorrow’s car takes you from A to B with minimum fuss and in maximum style. Future technologies will give designers free reign to create more space and comfort, so that we can get on with our lives, while an AI takes care of the driving. While our cars won’t be flying any time soon, we can all benefit from cleaner, quieter, safer roads. In just 20 years, the age of the combustion engine will be well and truly over.”

Pump prices plummet as oil falls to 18-year-low and could plunge further

The cost of unleaded petrol has dropped to almost £1 a litre at supermarket forecourts with a litre of diesel at around 110p following unprecedented falls in pump prices – and further cuts could follow.

Fleet fuel bills will naturally tumble as a result – although vehicles should now only be driven on essential journeys under the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic lockdown implemented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Fuel station forecourts are among the ‘essential businesses’ the Government is allowing to stay open.

However, the RAC has warned of “a darker side” to the fuel price cuts. RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “Smaller independent forecourts who will already have been struggling due to a loss of trade recently will be extremely hard-pushed to reduce their prices at the present time with fewer people driving. It’s crucial they stay in business as they provide such an important service to drivers in parts of the country where the supermarkets have no footprint.”

Amid far-reaching concerns over the spread of coronavirus, Mr Williams advised drivers filling up with fuel to “take sensible precautions”. He said: “Follow the social distancing guidelines and use disposable gloves when handling pumps or indeed electric car charge point nozzles.”

A series of moves have triggered the fall in fuel prices. In early March, oil prices tumbled after a failure by Saudi Arabia and Russia to agree on cutting back oil production in the wake of falling global demand due to the deadly coronavirus. As a result, Saudi Arabia said it would flood the market with oil.

That led to a barrel of crude oil trading at around $35, but prices have since fallen further and there are even reports oil companies are preparing for the price to slump to just $10 a barrel, which would trigger further price cuts at the pumps.

Generally speaking it takes approximately two weeks for a fall in crude oil prices to feed through to the pumps. Prices ended 2019 at $61 a barrel.

What’s more, there was widespread speculation in the run-up to the March Budget that the Chancellor would increase fuel duty. However, he decided against that thus helping to keep the lid on any pump price rise.

Then, this week, as the nation plunged further into the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, supermarkets Morrisons and Asda led the round of price cuts.

Morrisons was first cutting an unprecedented in one go 12p off the price of a litre of unleaded petrol. Simultaneously the price of a litre of diesel was cut by 8p. Asda reacted and said that drivers would now pay no more than 102p a litre for unleaded petrol and 108.7p a litre for diesel when filling up.

Mr Williams said: “These unprecedented times are leading to unprecedented price cuts on fuel – the largest single cut from a retailer we’ve ever seen. The price of oil has fallen so far – down to an 18-year low – that it was inevitable that pump prices would eventually follow suit.

These savings will directly benefit those people who continue to rely on their vehicles for essential journeys.”

Government fuels ‘green’ fleet revolution with wide ranging tax and fiscal incentives

The Government has fuelled a green vehicle drive with a range of Budget 2020 announcements designed to increase the corporate take-up of zero emission vehicles.

What’s more the combination of Budget announcements – led by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak providing benefit-in-kind tax clarity for the next five years – is predicted to fuel increased demand for company cars from employees.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to end the sale of new petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2040 and in all likelihood earlier, perhaps 2035 or even 2032.

Against that timeline, fleet operator representative organisations say that it is imperative that businesses and company car drivers focus on moving towards operating and driving 100% electric vehicles.

The Budget announcements would, according to the newly launched Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) – formed as a result of the merger of both ACFO and ICFM – as well as the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) and Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, support fleets and help drive the uptake of electric vehicles. They included:

  • £532 million to maintain the Plug-In Car and Van Grants until March 2023, although support for zero emission cars was cut with immediate effect from £3,500 to £3,000 per vehicle and cars costing £50,000 or more are now excluded
  • A continuation of the Workplace Charging Scheme grant, although from April 1, 2020 the amount of funding is cut from £500 to £350 per socket. However, the number of sockets allowed under the programme has been doubled from 20 to 40. The Government says that more than 6,500 workplace installations have been made to date and that cutting financial support will enable more businesses to benefit. Ministers also said that the average cost of chargepoint installations had steadily reduced since the introduction of the Scheme, so the decrease was in line with purchase prices
  • Exempting until March 31, 2025 all zero emission vehicles from the Vehicle Excise Duty ‘expensive car supplement’, which increases from £320 to £325 from April 1, 2020
  • Eliminating the Van Benefit Charge for zero emission vans from April 2021. However, in 2020/21 the van benefit charge will rise as planned to 80% of the main rate (2019/20: 60%)
  • Extending from April 2021 for four years the 100% first year capital allowance to zero emission cars only
  • Pledging £500 million to support the roll-out of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles, ensuring that drivers would never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station.

 Caroline Sandall, AFP joint chairman, said: “It is imperative that fleet decision-makers and company car drivers focus on moving towards operating and driving 100% electric vehicles.”

 While Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “The Budget shows that the Government is listening and is ready to support those that are ambitious enough to embrace its decarbonisation targets.

“The Plug in Car Grant and Vehicle Excise Duty measures will play a massive role in making electric vehicles more affordable for thousands upon thousands of businesses and drivers across the UK.”

Reflecting on the raft of measures to support a ‘green vehicle drive’ and the beginnings of a market transition, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, added: “We are pleased to see the Chancellor find room in his Budget to help make zero emission motoring a more viable option for more drivers – essential if we are to begin to meet extremely challenging environmental ambitions.”

Meanwhile, the Budget Statement confirmed that previously announced benefit-in-kind tax rates for 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 would be implemented as planned and that rates for 2023/24 and 2024/25 would be frozen at 2022/23 rates.

 Paul Hollick, AFP joint chairman, said: “With company car benefit-in-kind tax rates now known for a full five-year vehicle cycle, which is the norm for some organisations, the Budget could herald a resurgence of the company car. That’s because many drivers’ decision to opt out of a ‘favourite’ employee perk was driven by tax uncertainty.”

While Mr Keaney said: “Having a roadmap for the future of company car tax up to 2025 removes the uncertainty that we know stifles business decisions.”

Coronavirus pandemic: Fleet industry transitions to keep wheels of business turning

The fleet industry and the wider automotive sector is transitioning rapidly as the UK and the rest of the world tackles the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Prior and subsequent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ‘lockdown’ address to the nation on Monday (March 23) there have been numerous developments and further changes impact on the fleet industry can be expected.

At the time of going to press the following is what is known:

  • Garages, fuel stations and car rental outlets are among the ‘essential businesses’ the Government is allowing to stay open.
  • When filling up with fuel it is advised to take ‘take sensible precautions’. These include: Following the social distancing guidelines and using disposable gloves when handling pumps or electric car charge point nozzles.
  • Individual businesses within the ‘essential businesses’ sectors may decide to close – Kia has announced that approximately 40% of workshops at its 196 dealerships will continue to run an essential-only service – and garage/workshops may have to rearrange existing vehicle servicing and repair bookings. Additionally, some garages are restricting some services such as collection and delivery and ‘while you wait’ servicing and are urging customers to clean their vehicles before handover.
  • All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MoT test are exempted from needing a test from Monday, March 30 2020 for six months, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced. With legislation coming into immediate effect for 12 months, effectively it means that existing MoTs are valid for 18 months. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if at the wheel of an unsafe vehicles. If drivers cannot get an MoT that’s due because they are in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people are not unfairly penalised for things out of their control.
  • The DVSA has suspended MoTs for all HGVs, trailers and public service vehicles for up to three months from March 21, 2020. All HGV and PSV vehicles as well as trailers with an MoT will be automatically issued with a three-month certificate of temporary exemption. Operators will not receive a paper exemption certificate. Instead, the MoT will be extended by three months from its current due date. But the DVSA said that vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive and operated within the terms of Operators’ Licence conditions throughout that time.
  • Transport for London has temporarily suspended all road user charging schemes – the Congestion Charge, Ultra-Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone – in the city until further notice.
  • Car showrooms are among the businesses, premises and places that have been forced to close by the Government. As a result, new car and van deliveries are on hold.
  • Vehicle collections will almost certainly not occur. Vehicle remarketing companies have reduced their sale offerings to ‘online only’ sales at best as auctions are deemed to be ‘non-essential’ by the Government.
  • The suspension of vehicle production by almost every vehicle manufacturer in the UK and globally means that existing vehicle orders can be expected to be delayed and lead times will increase for future orders once plants again become operational. The length of factory closures varies, but typically runs to three or four weeks and longer in some cases with all manufacturers saying they will keep a production return under review.
  • Local authorities are delaying the introduction of planned Clean Air Zones later this year. Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, which were due to introduce the UK’s first Zero Emission Zone in the university city in December, now say the scheme will implemented in summer 2021. Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council has written to the Government requesting postponement to the launch of its Clean Air Zone. Scheduled for implementation in summer 2020, councillors have asked for a delay “until at least the end of the calendar year”. It is also likely that Leeds City Council will delay implementation of its Clean Air Zone, which is due for introduction on September 28. However, any delay has yet to be officially confirmed by the authority.
  • UK Road Offender Education, which operates, manages, administers and develops the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme on behalf of the police, has suspended all classroom-based courses for an initial period of 12 weeks. The courses bring drivers together in one place, as an alternative to prosecution for some motoring offences including speeding. The organisation said that it would now work with forces and course providers to establish options to deal with drivers who had already been offered a course. Drivers will be contacted to explain what is going to happen next by the police force which issued the offer or the course provider. Drivers caught committing an offence when driving during the ‘lockdown’ are now likely to receive a fine and penalty points on their licence instead of the discretionary offer of a course that is no longer a current option.

Paul Ayris, fleet manager at Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) customer LiveWest, the largest provider of affordable homes in the south west of England, said: “We are monitoring the coronavirus situation daily. We will continue to provide essential business services to our customers and to protect our staff, and we have put contingency plans in place should our operations get disrupted at a point in the future.
“We appreciate that we are in uncertain times. We are working hard to ensure that it is business as usual for us and to continue to provide a full range of services to our customers. We recognise that we need to manage our services in a more flexible way and would like to thank everyone for their support.
“The need to have a functioning fleet is essential at all times, and especially at a time of national crisis. We are relaying on the support of our suppliers such as Fleet Service GB to provide the support they can in these difficult times, whilst appreciating they are in the same situation.”

Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman, Fleet Service GB, said: “With so many employees home-working and self-isolating many company cars are not clocking up the daily and weekly mileage they did previously. As a result, maintenance costs are reducing and some fleets are postponing services as well as maintenance and repairs because vehicle wheels are not turning.

“Equally, some garages and workshops are suffering from employees being off work and, as a result, are having to reschedule booked service, maintenance and repair work.”

Health and hygiene initiatives vital

Undoubtedly there will be changes in business practices as new health and hygiene initiatives are introduced to reflect the social distancing rules recommended by the Government.

For example, fast-fit giant Kwik Fit has said: “Where possible, our centres remain open and operating as normal, as is our mobile fleet. Our number one priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our people and customers, providing a safe and clean environment for everyone.

“The company has seen a 15% increase in enquiries for appointments for tyre fitting at customers’ homes, the majority of which are due to customers self-isolating after being impacted by the Government’s latest guidance on the coronavirus.

“The company, which operates a fleet of more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles across the UK, has put special precautions in place to ensure that it is helping to stem the spread of the virus, while also ensuring that motorists have access to a safe car if they need it in an emergency.

“To avoid direct contact between the Kwik Fit technician and the customer, the company is asking customers to provide their car key without direct contact, for instance by putting the key on their front doorstep and going back inside. Once the customer is at a safe distance, the technician will pick the key up. Where possible, Kwik Fit will ask the customer to also provide the locking wheel nut from inside the vehicle. This way, Kwik Fit can carry out the work without entering the interior of the car.

“The technicians themselves are thoroughly cleaning their hands between each job and using fresh protective gloves for each vehicle. These measures, along with not coming into close contact with the customer, are designed to minimise any risk of passing infection between customers.

“We’ve temporarily changed our practices to help minimise contact and will not ask customers for their signature on paperwork or in store tablets. We will clearly demonstrate work that is required to make a vehicle safe, show drivers any parts removed and demonstrate any faults. Customers will be invited to receive quotations and invoices by email which we would appreciate them accepting to minimise contact.

“While normal life has been severely curtailed and many people are keeping travel to a minimum, it is still important for people’s peace of mind that their car is ready in case of emergency. Those car owners who are self-isolating have realised that mobile fitting is the perfect way to ensure their car is in a safe condition for when they are once more free to move around. We have responded to the increased requirements with greater stock levels to meet demand, but more importantly, by introducing key precautions to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“We will update our operations in accordance with Government advice and provide information via our website.”

Rival fast-fit National Tyres and Autocare, said in a statement: “We are taking extra precautions in our branches across the UK in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“All our staff routinely wear protective barrier gloves, fit seat covers and use floor mats before working on customers’ vehicles. Technicians work on ramps that are suitably spaced apart and customers do not need to interact with staff in the workshops space.

“As an additional precaution, and to minimise contact with staff and other customers, drivers have the option to call the branch when arriving rather than coming in to our reception area. We will see customers in order of arrival and they can remain in their vehicle until we are ready to begin work. Customers may wait in our reception area or if they prefer to leave the premises, we will give them a call to return when work is complete.

“We share everyone’s concerns in this unsettling period and will do everything we can to keep customers and our staff safe while working on a vehicle.”

Garage ‘concerns’ at MoT extension

Independent garages are “concerned” that their cash flow will be impacted by the Government’s decision to exempt all cars, vans and motorcycles from an MoT for six months.

Their trade body, the Independent Garage Association (IGA), has called on the Government to change the measure. The IGA has urged to Government to start with an initial six-week MoT extension period, which could then then reviewed on a weekly basis, rather than the six months plan.

In a statement, the IGA said: “There are a number of reasons why deferring MoTs by six months will have a huge detrimental impact on the independent sector, which carries out over 80% of the UK’s 30 million yearly MoT tests.

“The Government needs to consider that many MoT operations, being small businesses, will have their cash flow seriously impacted once this situation is over. Next year will bring about a significant reduction of tests in March/April/May and with some businesses in this sector only conducting MoT tests, in these instances, the crisis will extend for many years ahead.

“The current MoT failure rate is 31%, which means that nearly 10 million vehicles do not meet even the basic roadworthiness level of compliance. Any length of MoT extension will consequently increase the number of vehicles that are unroadworthy, even given reduced usage, so the Government needs to take this into consideration.”

Stuart James, IGA chief executive, added: “We understand that measures need to be put in place to fight the virus, and support these measures, however we do not agree with the six months extension of MoTs. We urge the Government to show a degree of flexibility, as the repercussions for the independent sector will be severe.”

Vehicle rental support employers

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), whose rental members operate 1,800 outlets UK-wide and a combined fleet of 371,000 cars, vans and trucks, said: “Many people think of vehicle rental as the car that they pick up from an airport on their annual holiday. In reality, around half of all vehicle rental transactions are with businesses supporting the transportation of people and goods.”

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “In these challenging times, vehicle rental is focussed on its most important customers. Right now, our members are providing cars to police forces, district nurses and Ministry of Defence sites; vans to plumbers and gas engineers; refrigerated lorries to food distributors and minibuses to schools with special educational needs.

“They may not have flashing lights or logos, but tens of thousands of rental vehicles across the UK are helping to keep our infrastructure running, our food stores stocked and our families safe and well.”

Used car prices tumble

Meanwhile, evidence is emerging of used car prices tumbling with the UK in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. Conversely, the buoyancy of long-term used car prices could be helped by a slowdown in new car registrations in 2020.

Data from automotive valuation analysts Cazana, which studies market retail-driven pricing data on a real-time basis, suggests that over the middle two weeks of March the average price of petrol cars declined across all segments. Prices in the luxury car sector fell 16.96%, which the company called “very significant, and it was followed by: Executive cars down 7.33% and superminis down 5.87%.

By contrast the diesel sector is far more upbeat with prices increasing in all sectors apart from lower medium. Superminis showed the biggest positive uplift at 24.71% in retail pricing terms.

Cazana said: “Retail pricing for newly listed cars dropped by 6.6% between the second and third week of March representing a dip of on average £1,491 per vehicle.”

Used vehicle market experts at CAP HPI expect values to fall “by more than the seasonal norm over the coming weeks”. Its latest data reveals an average drop of 2.2% (-£275) on cars at the three-year/60,000-mile point. For newer used cars, the drop was 1.8% (-£425) at the one-year/20,000-mile point.

CAP HPI continued: “Our short-term forecasts for the coming months will be worse than otherwise would have been the case, as the effects of Covid-19 continue to be felt. At present, our longer-term forecasts for one to five years in the future are likely to remain broadly unchanged, as we wait to see longer-term impacts on new car registrations, especially following plant closures from many manufacturers. A fall in registrations this year could help support used values in the long term, and there are also a great many other factors which could yet influence values in various directions.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

Our business continuity plan

March 24th 2020

Business continuity update

The government advice is continually changing and adapting to this unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in.

Fleet Service GB is closely monitoring the government’s advice and the impact it is having on the industry’s services, products and suppliers. Our team is holding regular reviews of the situation to ensure we react appropriately, and we are communicating at all times with our clients, to keep them updated.

Our communication methods remain unchanged; we are still contactable across all mediums. We advise all drivers to communicate the following way:

  • Driver App– for all non-critical requests.
    Download the app here: iOS  Android
  • Email info@fleetservicegb.co.uk– for non-critical booking requests, or to follow up on anything of a non-critical operational nature.
  • Call the normal number 03332 200500– for any urgent requirements or emergencies.

The health, well-being and safety of our staff is paramount. Our workforce continues to provide our complete service remotely, fully supported by our technology and communication systems.

Above all, please keep yourself safe.

___________________________________________

March 24th 2020 8am

COVID-19 News Update

Garages, fuel stations and car rental outlets are among the ‘essential businesses’ the Government is allowing to stay open as the UK moves into lockdown as a consequence of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

However, car showrooms are among the businesses, premises and places that have been forced to close in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s state of the nation address on Monday evening (March 23).

The Government has said that it will review its action in three weeks as it seeks to do “what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus”. The full list of businesses and premises to close and those that are allowed to remain open is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF.pdf

In other developments:

  • The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended MoTs for all HGVs, trailers and public service vehicles for up to three months from March 21. All HGV and PSV vehicles as well as trailers with an MoT will be automatically issued with a three-month certificate of temporary exemption. Operators will not receive a paper exemption certificate. Instead, the MoT will be extended by three months from its current due date. But it said that vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive and operated within the terms of Operators’ Licence conditions throughout that time. However, the DVSA said that some operators may need to apply for an exemption if there vehicle was due an MoT before the end of March. The Department for Transport is continuing to keep MoT testing under review for cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-lorries-buses-and-trailers
  • Transport for London temporarily suspended all road user charging schemes – the Congestion Charge, Ultra-Low Emission Zone and Low Emission Zone – in the city with effect from yesterday (Monday, March 23) until further notice.

___________________________________________

March 17th 2020

For clarity to our clients of our current position in terms of business continuity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and recent government advice, we would like to inform you of the following:

Fleet Service GB remains fully operational and is continuing to offer driver support.

The health, well-being and safety of our staff is paramount, therefore our planned procedure has been implemented:

Over the last few weeks, we have been preparing our teams to ensure we have the technology in place to support a remote office environment. Our workforce has been set up to continue working from home, with complete access to IT and communication software. All calls, app requests and emails are, and always have been, handled by the Fleet Service GB Support Team, nothing is outsourced, so we can guarantee this continuity.

Any face to face meetings, both internal and external, are being either rescheduled or arranged as a telephone call or video conference call. 

We are in constant communication with all Fleet Service GB partners and our wider supply chain, and will notify drivers directly if any current bookings are affected. We will continue to make non-critical bookings if feasible and are working hard to ensure that all urgent requests can be accommodated across the network.

Our communication methods remain unchanged; we are still contactable across all mediums. We advise all drivers to communicate the following way:

  • Driver App – for all non-critical requests.
    Download the app here: iOS  Android
  • Email info@fleetservicegb.co.uk – for non-critical booking requests, or to follow up on anything of a non-critical operational nature.
  • Call the normal number 03332 200500 – for any urgent requirements or emergencies.

Our aim is to minimise as much disruption as possible. We are following all current government guidelines and advice and are holding regular reviews to ensure we react appropriately to any changes. We will keep all clients updated as and when things change.

We are entering challenging and uncertain times, but will offer support all the way. We wish all our staff, clients and business partners the best of health.

Fleet Service GB’s customer service excellence rewarded with first industry ‘Oscar’

Fleet Service Great Britain (Fleet Service GB) launched just five years ago, has underlined its market-leading credentials by winning its first industry ‘Oscar’.

The pro-active fleet and driver management company that delivers solutions through industry-leading intelligent integrated online dashboards under the “inspire fleets to Achieve better” banner, won the Customer Service Award at the annual awards hosted by industry publication Fleet News. The business was also highly commended in the headline Fleet Supplier of the Year category.

Known as the fleet industry ‘Oscars’, it was the first time that the Wiltshire-based company has entered the awards. They were presented at a glittering ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel hosted by BBC TV presenter Steph McGovern and attended by almost 800 people.

Fleet Service GB was launched in spring 2015 and since then has gone on to have more than 12,000 cars and commercial vehicles and drivers registered across its five major services: Maintenance management, accident management, risk management, acquisition and disposal and truck management.

The Fleet News Awards are now in their 32nd year and this year’s judging panel in making the presentation to Fleet Service GB said: “Fleet Service GB takes the time to understand how a fleet works and what it needs – everything the company does reflects that. It works in an open and transparent way to build a partner relationship, not simply a client relationship.

“Collaboration, a desire to listen and an in-depth understanding of their customers’ needs are just three of the factors which elevate Fleet Service GB’s customer service. The fleet management provider’s aim is always to manage and reduce fleet operating costs. This level of service has resulted in 100% customer retention, with the company having never ‘lost’ a customer.”

Marcus Bray, head of sales, Fleet Service GB, who collected the Award, said: “The company’s philosophy is that a fleet management company must never forget that it is the client who owns the asset and it is their money the management company is spending.

“To be successful therefore, a fleet management company must truly understand a client’s needs and become a genuine extension of the customer’s management team. By sharing goals and visions, trust develops which ultimately leads to a partnership that delivers a cost and operationally beneficial service.

“That is exactly what the Fleet Service GB promises to customers and strives to deliver every day, which is why it is fantastic that the ‘Oscar’ recognises the company’s delivery of customer service excellence.

“Winning a fleet industry ‘Oscar’ is superb recognition for Fleet Service GB and everyone working at the business. While being recognised with a highly commended in the Fleet Supplier of the Year category is a major achievement for such a young company against such long-established businesses.

“Fleet Service GB uses cutting-edge IT systems to deliver solutions to customers, but technology is simply a tool – the big ingredient is people and that is how Fleet Service GB differentiates itself in the marketplace.

“Fleet Service GB will always be face-to-face and personal – there is no other way to deliver an effective fleet management solution where dealing with the almost impossible to measure intangibles, will always make the difference.”

Top photo caption: Marcus Bray (centre), head of sales, Fleet Service Great Britain, receives the Customer Service ‘Oscar’ from award sponsor Mark Godfrey, strategy, insight and digital development director, Copart UK, watched by compere Steph McGovern.

Meet the team – Nathan Davis

Name: Nathan Davis.

Job Title: Business development.

Explain your role in 10 words: To meet prospective companies and bring in business for Fleet Service GB.

What’s the best aspect of your job? Seeing my best friend, Ryan, every day.

What’s the worst aspect of your job? Having to make tea and coffee.

How long have you worked at Fleet Service GB? Since October 2019.

What was your first paid job? Working behind a bar.

What’s your favourite car? A Lamborghini.

What one thing would you like to achieve before you retire? To become a professional athlete.

Outside of Fleet Service GB, what would your dream job be? Professional footballer.

Who in the world would you most like to meet? Ex-Liverpool and England footballer Steven Gerrard. He is now the manager of Glasgow Rangers.

What is your favourite way to spend a day outside of work? Playing football with my mates.

If you won the lottery how would you spend the cash? Buy my family a massive house.

Not a lot of people know that… I play futsal for England. Futsal is a variant of association football played on a hard court, smaller than a football pitch, and mainly indoors. It has similarities to five-a-side football.

Government launches consultation to end sale of new petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid vehicle

Fleets will only be able to take delivery of new 100% electric or hydrogen-fuelled cars and vans from 2035 – and potentially earlier – if the Government has its way.

Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the Government would end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2035 at the latest – five years earlier than previously announced – to further crackdown on emissions and would include plug-in hybrid vehicles in the ban.

Now fleets are being asked by the Government for their views on the plan via a public consultation that asks five key questions:

  • The phase out date, which has been brought forward five years from 2040 and could be earlier if a faster transition appears feasible
  • The definition of what should be phased out
  • Barriers to achieving the above proposals
  • The impact of the ambitions on different sectors of industry and society
  • The measures required by Government and others to achieve an earlier phase out date.

The consultation document makes clear that owners of existing petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars and vans would still be able to drive them and buy and sell them on the used market.

In announcing the plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the measure “demonstrated the UK’s urgent action to reduce emissions” and added that the “Government will continue to work with all sectors of industry to accelerate the rollout of zero emission vehicles”.

The newly-elected Government’s first Budget on Wednesday, March 11 is expected to include a number of measures designed to accelerate the push towards an electric and hydrogen-powered fleet future.

Critical for the fleet industry is the continuation of the Plug-In Car and Van Grants, the former of which is due to be axed at the end of March.

The maximum Plug-In Car Grant is £3,500 – there is no definitive date on expiry of the £8,000 Plug-In Van Grant – and Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: “Fleets will only be able to meet the Government’s ambitious new decarbonisation goals if they are given the right support with electric vehicle grants, tax incentives and infrastructure costs.”

With the Budget imminent, he continued: “Budget 2020 is an opportunity to set the tone for a new decade in which the transition to decarbonised road transport will be won or lost.

“Fleets are being asked to invest billions of pounds in new electric vehicle technology and infrastructure, which comes at a hefty price premium to its petrol and diesel alternatives.

“To achieve these goals the Government must provide a clear support package through to at least 2025. It must preserve the Plug-In Car and Van Grants, maintain a strong set of tax incentives and tackle the huge and often arbitrary costs associated with fleet charging infrastructure.”

Hopes are also high that the tax incentives will include retaining the reduced rates of company car benefit-in-kind tax due to take effect from April 6 for several years beyond 2022/23 for which they have been announced to date.

Meanwhile, as Britain gears up for an electric future in potentially just three vehicle replacement cycles time on average, concern has been expressed in the House of Lords at the potential hazard caused by electric vehicles breaking down.

Potentially taking longer to be removed that from roads than broken down internal combustion engine models, the Department for Transport is reported to be examining measures to ensure that electric vehicles can be removed from roads quickly.

During a debate in the House of Lords, Baroness Randerson, a Liberal Democrat transport spokeswoman, said: “[Electric] vehicles stop very suddenly. They also cannot be towed; they have to be put on a low-loader, which is a much more complex and longer process that will put rescue teams in greater danger.”

The debate came with the safety of so-called smart motorways, which use hard shoulders as live lanes, under microscope. The AA has previously said that the increased use of electric vehicles could be incompatible with smart motorways due to the lack of emergency refuge areas.

Meanwhile, the Vehicle Remarketing Association has highlighted a potential “charging crisis” for remarketing companies as electric vehicles start to make their way on to the used car market in larger numbers.

As vehicles are defleeted it is currently “just a question of ensuring that there is sufficient fuel in the tank of each”, according to the Association. However, in a new world of electric vehicles it will be vital to ensure they are charged to a “useable degree” to move them around.

Sam Watkins, chairman of the Association whose members handle more than 1.5 million used vehicles each year, said: “Once an electric vehicle has a flat battery, the movement of it becomes a challenge as they must be handled in line with correct safety protocols which differ from internal combustion engines.”

The Government consultation runs until May 29. The consultation document can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consulting-on-ending-the-sale-of-new-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-cars-and-vans/consulting-on-ending-the-sale-of-new-petrol-diesel-and-hybrid-cars-and-vans

Fatigued fleet drivers pose major road safety threat

Company car drivers are among those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision with a road safety organisation now calling for action to overcome tiredness.

The road safety sector has identified driver fatigue as one of the ‘five high-risk’ driver behaviour action areas to cut work-related road crashes. The others are: Speeding, time pressures, inside and outside vehicle distractions, and using mobile phone devices whilst driving, whether hand-held or hands-free.

Now road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers to be wise to the dangers of fatigue on journeys.

It says that the risks are ‘particularly high among those who drive for work’, and singles out company car drivers as they are likely to be at the wheel for long periods, or with tight deadlines to meet in the course of a day. GEM also identifies truck drivers, shift workers and young male drivers as those most at risk from a fatigue-related collision.

Around 85 per cent of drivers who cause fatigue-related crashes are male, and more than one third of these are aged under 30, according to research by road safety charity Brake.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Exhausted drivers pose a significant safety threat, to themselves, to their passengers and to others who share the same road space. Fatigue is a major contributory factor in around 20% of road crashes, particularly in the early hours of the morning. However, on long, monotonous stretches of motorway it’s likely that a much greater proportion of collisions will be fatigue-related.

“Collisions occur when an exhausted driver fails to respond quickly and safely if a dangerous situation arises. These collisions are typically around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, as the driver is unable to take avoiding action to reduce severity of an impact.”

Driver safety and wellbeing is a priority at Fleet Service GB. As part of their range of services, their bespoke Driver Handbooks created for clients, cover in detail specific safety risks, such as fatigue and stress, and outline the best practice to avoid them. This gives the driver the tools to become better and safer drivers.

Top tips to help drivers’ reduce the risk of being in a fatigue-related collision

  • Preventing fatigue is more helpful than having to deal with it, so ensure you get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip
  • Don’t drive for more than eight to 10 hours in a day. Aim to share the driving if possible
  • Take regular breaks – a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or every 100 miles is recommended
  • Don’t drink alcohol before a trip. Even a small amount can significantly contribute to driver fatigue
  • Avoid driving at times when you’d usually be sleeping
  • If you feel you’re becoming drowsy, consider pulling over somewhere safe (and legal) to take a 15 minute powernap.

GEM Motoring Assist’s video on the dangers of fatigue is available at: https://blog.motoringassist.com/road-safety/road-safety-general/dangers-fatigue/