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Policy wins and campaign highlights – November 2021

HGV driver training, skills webinar, avoiding traffic disruption in Glasgow, MOT test availability – campaigns and wins recently achieved by Logistics UK's policy team


Following Logistics UK’s engagement with government to address the shortage of HGV drivers, the Department for Education (DfE) announced it will help train up to 5,000 new HGV drivers through its “Skills Bootcamps” programme. This represents a significant policy win for Logistics UK, as we have consistently campaigned for additional funding to support driver training.  

We have continued our successful engagement with DfE through a successful Logistics UK fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference with Skills Minister Alex Burghart on the panel. The event, which targeted opinion-formers and decision-makers from across the party, held discussions on the need for lower skills training to be incorporated more into government policies. While welcoming the Skills Bootcamps we called for reforms to the National Skills Fund (NSF) which provides a total of £400m for training courses, but was not open to any Level 2 skills training such as HGV driving. Our interaction with party members was supplemented by our response to DfE’s consultation on the NSF, which is now under consideration by the government.   


Logistics UK ran a successful skills webinar alongside the DfE and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to advise members on how to access funding and support for skills in the logistics sector. To further support our members, Logistics UK created an additional guide to direct members seeking guidance on skills funding and support. 


Logistics UK successfully hosted a tailored, informative webinar to support its members in advance of traffic disruption caused by COP26 in Glasgow. To deliver this, we worked closely with key partners, including Police Scotland, Transport Scotland and Glasgow City Council to thoroughly prepare members for the impact of the internationally attended event. 


Logistics UK has been working closely with the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) to prevent a serious backlog of HGV MOT test availability following the issuing of MOT Certificates of Temporary Exemption (CTE) to commercial vehicles in 2020. In early 2021, Logistics UK demonstrated to DVSA the long-term impact the 2020 CTE profiles would eventually have on MOT testing in 2021. While the introduction of CTE to commercial vehicles was a short-term solution to limited testing availability in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns, the measure compounded MOT test demand in 2021, especially in September and October. Logistics UK was particularly concerned about the impact the lack of MOT test availability would have on its members, which could result in vehicles being removed from the road.  

Logistics UK has been actively working to prevent this by raising its concerns with DVSA and working continuously with the agency to develop suitable mitigations. The business group has supported the agency to identify viable options to prevent a backlog of tests, as well as monitoring and challenging DVSA on the delivery of proposed action plans. This has included successfully influencing DVSA to meet the backlog of testing by bringing MOTs forward into May, June and July, procuring additional hours from existing examiners and deploying other trained examiners to MOT tests. The result of our intervention has enabled effective mitigation and meeting MOT test capacity.  


Through ongoing discussions, Logistics UK has influenced DVSA’s policy to show latitude to drivers and operators who are taking action for non ‘immediate’ road safety defects on vehicles. This change in position is significant, as it will prevent drivers from being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and the operators with a prohibition. Previously, DVSA would issue delayed prohibitions to vehicles for non ‘immediate’ road safety defects, despite the fact that these defects had already been reported and action was being taken for rectification. Logistics UK challenged this process with DVSA, arguing that the agency should not treat the vehicles and operators who are taking remedial action the same as those who are not taking action. As a result of our discussions, operators who have effective maintenance systems in place can benefit from lighter regulatory action by DVSA. This will also save operators the expense of prohibition clearance, driver fixed penalty notices and a negative result on their operator’s license.   


Logistics UK has been working on behalf of members to encourage DVSA to make the complaints and appeals process for roadside interventions much more efficient. The business group challenged DVSA for delaying investigations of complaints and appeals due to the necessity to physically inspect a vehicle, when all DVSA staff have access to technology to perform inspections remotely. Video conferencing, for example, could negate the need for physical inspections. Logistics UK has supported DVSA on speeding up the process to allow members to complain or appeal to the DVSA where they believe mistakes have occurred. This is a significant win, as it prevents the necessity of taking vehicles out of service for days or weeks while DVSA makes arrangements to physically inspect vehicles and review complaints and appeals.  


To improve efficiency and minimise the risk of errors for UK importers, Logistics UK influenced government to introduce electronic certification of agrifood imports and replace impractical paper-based certificates. The government has responded by advancing the necessary IT developments to enable electronic acceptance of export health and phytosanitary certificates for incoming consignments of import products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS). This is in advance of mandatory certifications for products of animal origin and plant products, commencing in July 2022. Logistics UK was already engaging with government on this matter prior to the negotiations of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and the business group has consistently called for the introduction of e-certification in other policy papers at high-level events with both EU and UK government officials resulting in this positive outcome. 


Published On: 11/11/2021 16:00:51


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