SMALL businesses should get involved in the Freight Transport Association-backed Van Excellence scheme.
That’s the message in the scheme’s recent recognition of Auto Electrical Services (AES), which operates a fleet of just six vans.
Van Excellence was created in 2010 to promote high standards of van management and driving by accrediting operators against an industry code of good practice.
Van Excellence will help you meet your Duty of Care to manage your vans safely
The scheme is open to all operators of commercial vehicles of 3.5-tonnes GVW or less.
Big operators like BT Fleet, Balfour Beatty and Sainsbury’s are part of the scheme but it’s equally relevant to small businesses, as AES has shown. So far 160 van operators have joined running 170,000 vans.
Why should you bother?
Any business with 5 or more employees that employs ‘at work’ drivers has a Duty of Care to ensure that they know what they’re doing and their vehicles are up to scratch (click here to read more about your responsibilities on our cars site).
All too often, van managers at SMEs don’t find out until something goes wrong, and then the liabilities can become all too clear.
Accreditation through a scheme like Van Excellence is one way to demonstrate that you take your Duty of Care seriously.
Just register your interest with the FTA, make sure you measure up to the requirements, and get ready for the audit.
The scheme requires that systems be in place to check vehicle roadworthiness, driver entitlement, load security and other safety aspects.
The Van Excellence standard exceeds the current minimum company van law requirements and selects and adapts the conditions of O-licensing normally applied to trucks for the van sector.
Auto Electrical Services director of business development Richard Stansfield told Business Vans: “The whole Van Excellence programme has proved to be very useful to us, and the FTA has been very supportive in every step of the way through the process of our accreditation.
“Auto Electrical Services is a family organisation and we run with family values, but it is still important for our business to move forward at all times, and maybe more so for a small family business rather than a corporate organisation.