's guide to earned recognition

Ashleigh Wight
December 28, 2016


In early 2017 the DVSA plans to introduce its earned recognition scheme, which will see operators rewarded with fewer compliance checks in return for access to tachograph and maintenance data.

So far details on what being part of the scheme will entail have been few and far between, as the DVSA is still finalising how it will work. However David Wood, DVSA’s compliance product manager, earlier this year hinted and what hauliers should expect.

When will it begin?

Although no official start data has yet been set, the DVSA plans to launch earned recognition in early 2017. However, some operators have already had a taste of what the scheme will be like as the DVSA conducted a trial earlier this year.

Why has the DVSA decided to put earned recognition in place?

The DVSA has seen pressure on resources and costs increase over recent years, and wishes to instead target its resources on the operators that pose the greatest risk to road safety. Wood earlier this year said the DVSA is trying to be “a bit smarter” with its technology and staff resources.

It wants the scheme to encourage the most non-compliant operators to either improve their practices, or face increased pressure from more DVSA checks.

The agency also wants to relieve the burden on businesses that have a high level of compliance by rarely stopping vehicles for compliance checks, unless there is something visibly wrong with the truck.

What do operators need to demonstrate to be considered for the scheme?

As well as providing the agency with access to their data, hauliers under the scheme will need to:

  • Have been operating for a minimum of two years;
  • Have had no action taken by a traffic commissioner in two years;
  • Have a minimum annual test past rate of 95%;
  • Undertake a third-party audit.

At the FTA’s Transport Manager Conference series earlier this year, the FTA’s head of national & regional policy and public affairs Christopher Snelling said the association was in conversations with the government about bringing operators under its Truck Excellence scheme into earned recognition automatically.

The DVSA has developed a set of KPIs that operators will be expected to meet, but these have not yet been revealed.

Wood emphasised that the scheme is voluntary and the DVSA will not look unfavourably upon those operators who choose not to join.

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said in September that operators will need technology in place to enable information to be shared with the DVSA.

What happens if standards slip for an operator under earned recognition?

Wood said the DVSA accepts that sometimes things don’t go to plan and occasionally maintenance standards might slip or the annual test pass rate may fluctuate, but operators under the scheme that find themselves with a problem are unlikely to have their earned recognition status removed.

They are likely to be put in touch with a member of DVSA staff, who will give them a chance to explain what went wrong and give them advice.

Are operators prepared for earned recognition?

A survey conducted by Microlise at the FTA’s Transport Manager Conference series this year found that more than half (58%) of respondents felt they had the systems and technology in place to benefit from earned recognition. Just over a quarter (27%) felt that they did not have the technology available, and 15% did not know if they had or not.

“It’s great that almost half of those who responded at the FTA Transport Manager conferences have got the technologies and systems in place to take advantage of earned recognition next year. But it still leaves a large proportion who aren’t sure, or know they aren’t ready,” said Matthew Hague, executive director, product strategy at Microlise. “I believe earned recognition will be a game changer for compliant operators – delivering a real competitive advantage for those that are ready.”

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