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September 5th, 2016

DVSA Earned Recognition is coming in early 2017. What is it and how does it affect your business?

The DVSA has plans to introduce Earned Recognition and Remote Enforcement schemes in 2017. The concept, which will be available for operators to join in early 2017, is based on the idea that the best operators should not be subject to the same level of intervention as those who do not comply and thus the DVSA have developed an approach which will enable them to targets their resources more effectively.

Users of the SETSECR system are likely to fall into the group of companies who wish to avoid roadside enforcement, and now - in addition to keeping the OCRS scores in the green band - they can do more to demonstrate to the DVSA that they are compliant or exemplar.

Aside from Earned Recognition, the first tier of enforcement, there will be a shift, for most compliant Operators, away from roadside checks. For the second tier, there will be a central team in Bristol, referred to as the Remote Enforcement Office or REO, who will make requests for an Operator's documents, and then complete an audit of these documents remotely.

DVSA suggest that there will be a supportive 'nudge system' to guide Operators toward better working practices rather than swooping in on infrequent minor misdemeanour's on every occasion".

The DVSA has reaffirmed its intention to shift away from a culture of enforcement towards one of compliance as it bids to reduce the burden on professional truck fleet operators and free up its own resources to tackle the worst offenders.

Caroline Hicks, DVSA head of enforcement, told a Fleet Industry meeting last year that she wanted to "completely transform" the way DVSA carries out enforcement for trucks and vans by reducing the cost of compliance and increasing the penalties related to non-compliance.

"We want the cost of compliance to be relatively low, relatively steady and relatively known," Hicks said. "As soon as you choose to be non-compliant the costs will increase and they will keep increasing so that no business can afford to sit in that non-compliant area."

The DVSA has now announced the first step towards this new procedure with the trial of 'earned recognition' for HGV fleets.

Under the trial, operators who make their records available to the DVSA to view online could gain recognition as a compliant operator, removing the need for the DVSA to perform roadside checks.

Hicks told delegates at a transport conference that the earned recognition system would "reduce the burden" on fleets. The DVSA would be able to focus more on compliance, rather than enforcement, and tackling "serious and serially non-compliant" operators.
It would also cut the cost for fleets; one national supermarket chain claimed that each roadside check cost its business more than £4,000.
 "The massive cost is because of the just-in-time nature of their deliveries. And we do tens of thousands of these roadside encounters every month," Hicks said.

By looking at key data supplied by fleets, the DVSA would be able to assess which operators are compliant and which are not. It would then seek to only stop those whose compliancy was in doubt, in particular, those that did not voluntarily open-up their records for inspection.

Prior to the trial going live, the DVSA had commissioned independent research which identified six types of 'operator culture':  exemplar, compliant, compliant with support, potential rule breakers, non-compliant and seriously/serially non-compliant.

Those operating beyond compliant with support would be much more likely to be targeted when on the road.

The new system will not be mandatory, but the DVSA said it would "engage with industry representatives throughout the process to allow people an opportunity to get on board".

The DVSA completed a Blind Trial in October 2015 to develop the earned recognition concept; 150 operator licenses have undergone pre-audit checks and 10 trial assessment visits have been carried out at operator premises. Pre-audit criteria has been developed and the assessment scope and standards have been developed.

The DVSA is also in the process of developing KPIs (Key Performance Indictors) for operators which will form the permissible boundaries of exemplary operation. This will include, for example, percentage failures on MOTs and driver infringements before an operator is investigated. These have yet to be made public.

How will Earned Recognition work in practice?

The DVSA will require electronic access to operator's systems, tachograph analysis and maintenance & defect documentation; they will require operators to adopt an electronic system that flags DVSA when the systems parameters have been breached. All this information will feed into a dashboard and they will be able to see this when such flags are sent to them.

Maintenance records can be captured by fully electronic maintenance systems as well as fully manual, part manual & part electronic - and access can be done remotely even if documents are scanned in. For a fully electronic system where all details are captured the DVSA expectation is an audit password giving them access to the data but not allowing any editing rights. The accessible information should include:

  • Safety Inspection records
  • Safety Inspection frequency monitoring
  • Walk around checks
  • Driver Defect Reporting & action taken
  • Electronic forward planning
  • Tachograph calibration dates
  • MOT pass rates

The DVSA will then monitor performance based on this data and - as long as the operator works within certain parameters, there should not be any need for the DVSA to intervene in their operations.

Who can apply?

The DVSA is currently suggesting the following criteria for companies wishing to apply for Earned Recognition:

  • Established operator (minimum of 2 years) with good compliance history
  • Electronic transport management systems, allowing DVSA remote access.
  • Annual test final pass rate at least 95% (under consultation)
  • Drivers hours' infringement KPIs (under consultation)
  • No TC regulatory action for at least 2 years (under cons

Companies will also sign up to terms and conditions and be subject to ongoing review of their suitability.

We are currently adapting SETSECR system so that it can be compatible with the DVSA's requirements relating to the KPI's, Standards & the dashboard. For those companies who will be part of the Remote Enforcement scheme having SETSECR will be instrumental in demonstrating remote compliance.
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