The latter builds on the original audit team – which comprised Metropolitan Police traffic officers from the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit – and follows FORS transformation from TfL- and London-centric to a fully nationwide scheme.
FORS’ 2015 annual report is its first since TfL’s appointment of transport specialist AECOM to manage the accreditation service, and the establishment of FCP (FORS Community Partnership) – comprising AECOM, CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) and Fleet Source – to promote and manage the scheme.
It is also its first since the formation of the transport industry-led Governance and Standards Advisory Group, now chaired by former CILT chief executive Steve Agg. Big names serving include DHL, John Lewis Partnership, O’Donovan, Skanska, Tarmac, TNT, Travis Perkins and Veolia – as well as Highways England, DVSA, IRTE, FTA and RHA.
AEMCOM and FCP report a picture of considerable FORS growth, with 3,110 organisations now FORS Bronze accredited (up 25% year on year), 371 Siler (up 78%) and 120 Gold (up 315%).
Against that – and flying somewhat in the face of an industry perception that OFRS is toothless – 1,743 companies were downgraded during 2015, although 75% of those had registered but ad never progressed to full accreditation.
Also in 2015 two companies were suspended – one a short term suspension pending investigation of PG9 and abnormal load infractions, the other concerning subcontractor issues.
Three organisations were also terminated and prevented from re-registering for six months.
Reasons cited for termination were: unreported loss of Operator’s licence; failure to report legal action against the O licence; and C&U, drivers hours and abnormal load infractions.
FORS also reports that during 2015, accreditation audits resulted in 55%, 24.5% pass subject to actions, and 20.5% fails.
The three most common reasons for failure were: applicants’ inability to meet the FORS requirements relating to vulnerable road user safety (equipment, signage, underrun protection, mirrors); insufficient inspection and maintenance programmes; and problems with adequate record keeping.
FORS sets best practice at the heart of commercial vehicle fleet operations. It encompasses all aspects of safety, fuel efficiency, economical operations and vehicle emissions. By a combination of fleet audits, personnel training and advisory support FORS helps improve operators’ performance in each of these areas.