Transport for London (TfL) announced Sopra Steria as the new FORS administrators in October 2021 after a competitive tender process, with management of the international accreditation scheme beginning in early January 2022.
Sopra Steria describes itself as a European Tech leader recognised for its consulting, digital services and software development.
Ian Henderson, FORS concession director, is the man charged with leading FORS. Henderson has experience in the road transport sector as lead on several transport and technology contracts and fulfilling operational roles at both TfL and the Metropolitan Police.
Henderson’s goal is to place the FORS community of accredited operators – some 4,900 fleet operators from across the UK – front and centre of the future of FORS as the new team develops the scheme’s mandate to drive-up standards within the industry.
He says: “FORS has come a long way since it began in 2008, yet its goals rightly remain unchanged – to offer a simple, easy-to-use gateway to unlock efficiency and operational gains for the FORS community’s businesses. We want to engage with operators; to share ideas and experiences in order to take FORS forward. Key to this will be how FORS can become an effective business enabler for fleets in their pursuit of future business wins.”
Alongside Sopra Steria, FORS will also benefit from the input from a number of other industry stakeholders, each with transport-specific competences to help develop the scheme.
Glen Davies has been brought in as FORS technical advisor. Davies helped establish FORS with TfL at its inception in 2007, and now re-joins the FORS team to provide advice, guidance, and support in the technical aspects of road fleet operations.
Aimee Mitchell is FORS head of business operations and is taking a lead on service and delivering customer excellence.
Chris Douglas, FORS growth lead, is charged with expanding FORS in new sectors and territories within the UK. Chris brings 28 years’ experience in road haulage operations, trade associations (Logistics UK) and consultancy, having previously managed the Department for Transport’s Freight Best Practice Programme.
Although the Sopra Steria team have plans to update FORS’ digital offering, including its website, for Ian Henderson it will be business as usual for FORS-accredited operators during its first year at the helm. He says, “The FORS community is striving for excellence in safety, sustainability, and service. Sopra Steria’s digital transformation experience will be put to work to help operators reach their accreditation targets. We are working to launch a range of accessible digital tools which will really add value to our community.
“For vehicle fleets FORS offers clear methodology, training and guidance regarding legislative requirements. Importantly, FORS acts as a business enabler; allowing truck operators to demonstrate a best practice pathway towards higher levels of safety, increased efficiency and greater protection of the environment.”
2022 will see Version 6 of The FORS Standard come into effect; the sixth iteration of the document which outlines how FORS operators must meet the accreditation criteria at each stage of the progressive scheme. Version 6 does not contain huge changes to the scheme.