Earned Recognition is not easy to achieve with only 82 operators having succeeded so far. However, this represents 6% of O-licensed vehicles in Great Britain and to take part operators must show they have robust systems and processes in place.
These need to be established during the application process, evidenced during the audit, and demonstrated by continuous monitoring. While many businesses will need to invest in new systems and processes, the benefits of taking part go far beyond simply achieving the recognition ‘badge’.
For example, operators are less likely to have their vehicles stopped at the roadside for inspections; less likely to have DVSA enforcement staff visit their premises; and ‘exemplar’ operators will be able to prove it when bidding for contracts. FTA surveyed a cross-section of its members to gauge how Earned Recognition is viewed by the industry.
Of the sample, 12% are members of the scheme and of these 58% felt the main benefit of joining was industry recognition as an exemplar operator. Preference when bidding for new work, and streamlined processes through the introduction of electronic management systems were benefits sited by 13% of those in the scheme.
Of the total sample, 64% intend to join the scheme within the next two years. Of those not interested in joining the scheme - 36% of the sample - the main reasons given were a lack of benefits and little to no interest from senior management, followed by a lack of understanding of the scheme and a belief that the electronic systems required would be too expensive to implement.
More than half of those already within the scheme (58%) felt it should be compulsory for all operators, while only 31% of prospective Earned Recognition operators felt the same. At the FTA, we believe the benefits of participation outweigh the initial investment needed to achieve the standard, though of course it might not be the right solution for everyone.
Reported benefits of installing the new systems and processes include: faster access to maintenance records; easier and quicker administration and storage; greater transparency; improved compliance; and the potential to keep vehicles on the road for longer. Operators wishing to join the scheme should visit the DVSA website to check they meet the eligibility criteria.
They should then decide if they have adequate electronic management systems in place to provide the KPIs to DVSA. Operators should not be too deterred if their systems are not completely in place.
Once an operator sees how they measure against the KPIs, they can book an audit with an approved audit provider, such as the FTA.
By Keith Gray
Visit gov.uk/guidance/dvsaearned-recognition-join-thescheme or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an audit with an approved audit provider.