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TfL’s review of FORS addresses members’ key concerns


Last September, Transport for London (TfL) launched a review of the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS). Focusing on the effectiveness of the scheme, the review followed feedback from Logistics UK and other business groups, the Traffic Commissioners and FORS-accredited operators.

Logistics UK is satisfied that the final report, published in June, addresses many of the concerns that its members have raised.

A HISTORY OF RECOGNITION

FORS is a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators which aims to demonstrate which operators are achieving best practice in safety, efficiency, and environmental protection. The scheme was outsourced from TfL a little over six years ago and the initial concession period has now come to an end.

There was an earlier review on the structure of FORS a few years ago, when according to Natalie Chapman, Logistics UK’s Head of Policy – South, members had a number of issues regarding a lack of separation from the setting of the standard and the commercial operation of the scheme.

Following input from Logistics UK and others, this earlier review led to a separation of the governance and standards and the commercial operation of FORS. Governance and standards was awarded to Steer in September 2020, while the outcome of the tender for the administration of the scheme will be announced in August, with a transition period through to January 2022.

“We’re happy in principle with the new structure of FORS,” Chapman said, “It’s what we’ve been asking for but the proof of the pudding will be how this works in practice, how it rolls out and impacts our members’ operations.”

Because it was operating rival schemes, such as Truck Excellence and Van Excellence, Logistics UK was asked to leave the FORS Governance and Standards Group a few years ago. But the business group has now been reinstated as an observer. “We hope to play an even bigger role in the standards setting of FORS in the future,” Chapman said.

FOCUS ON OUTCOMES, NOT PROCESSES

TfL published the final report into its review of FORS a few weeks ago. Issues raised by Logistics UK members were addressed in the report, particularly around the transparency and independence of the standards setting and the overly prescriptive nature of evidencing the FORS standard.

“We were pushing for it to be much more outcome driven, rather than process led,” Chapman said. “Processes are important, of course, but our members are often part of other schemes such as ISO 39001, which is the international road safety standard.”

Members reported that while they were doing this work already, they were having to repeat all the paperwork in the way that FORS stipulated it had to be presented.

“Duplicating paperwork isn’t making a difference to road safety, it’s not improving the outcome it’s creating a lot of unnecessary work and admin for operators,” Chapman said.

One of the recommendations of the report is to recognise evidence of FORS through other schemes, such as ISO 39001, rather than having to replicate paperwork.

“We feel the FORS review final report addresses a lot of the concerns that we’ve raised on behalf of members,” Chapman said, “While we will have to see how it all plays out in practice, Logistics UK has played an active role in this very thorough review and we are pleased that TfL has listened to our members’ concerns.”

*www.logistics.org.uk/campaigns/urban-logistics

Published On: 01/07/2021 16:00:51

 



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