This year has seen the role of the fleet executive become increasingly more demanding with new legislation adding to the burden of running vehicles.
The year started with the launch of the EU Fourth Motor Insurance Directive, which ordered every company to keep an up-to-date list of vehicles covered by its insurance on a central database and update changes immediately.
Behind the order was the threat of a fine of thousands of pounds if companies failed to keep the database up-to-date. Other changes have affected the used car market, as drivers can no longer tax a vehicle without a valid V5 document. This means that fleets attempting to dispose of vehicles without a valid V5 could find they are unable to sell them.
Then there is the impact of congestion charging in London, which has affected fleets throughout the country. And there is growing evidence similar schemes will be launched across the UK as local authorities are buoyed by the success of the initiative in the capital in reducing traffic.
Fleet decision-makers also face further pressure with the Government's growing focus on health and safety issues. Ministers are particularly keen to make employers more responsible for their drivers on the road, including the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, which will be banned from December.
Fleets considering investing in alternative fuels also face challenges in the future, as the Government consults on how it taxes green fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas. Officials are also consulting on future plans for van taxation and whether to continue with the carbon dioxide-based system of taxing company cars.
These are just a few of the major challenges currently facing fleet decision-makers, which prompted the launch of this year's Hit for Six: Confronting Today's Fleet Issues conference. It will be chaired by Tony Leigh, chairman of the Association of Car Fleet Operators.
The conference offers additional help to nearly 100 fleet decision-makers who took part in the Fleet News Get Trained campaign, launched earlier this year. Fleet operators running more than 15,000 vehicles worth in excess of £210 million wrote in to Fleet News asking for our help in finding the training necessary to meet their needs.
Many of them have now received advice on available training courses, while those who joined later will receive details within the next few weeks.
Essential reasons to attend hit for six
Predict your future
What does the future hold for fleet decision-makers? This session helps the industry with some crystal ball gazing, including a look at what the year ahead holds for used car values.
Among the speakers is Martin Ward, national research manager for industry expert CAP, who will address future issues facing the used car market. The session will also address the wider world of transport and look at major issues that might affect fleet decision-makers, such as the spread of congestion charging.
Session sponsored by: ##BCAEurope2003--right##
Cash in hand
MOST companies now offer a cash alternative to the company car, but that doesn't mean they have introduced the most effective or cost-efficient policy.
Cash in Hand will examine the circumstances in which a cash alternative becomes a wise choice for a company and for a company car driver.
The session will look at the costs involved and the wide variety of choice open to companies that want to introduce an alternative to the company car, ranging from simply offering a cash lump sum, to the latest structured personal leasing schemes.
Fleet decision-makers need to be fully briefed about their legal responsibilities if they are to operate their vehicles effectively and safely in the future. Employers need to ensure vehicles are 'fit for purpose' and that drivers have adequate skills to use them.
This could range from even the most basic checks, such as whether an employee has a clean driving licence and good eyesight, to whether they are safe on the road, or need some form of driver training. Even the simplest issues, such as whether a driver is taking medication or not, need to be examined.
Risky Business will address all these issues and ask key questions, such as when might a company be investigated by police following an accident involving company drivers.
For example, fleet decision-makers need to ask themselves whether they can prove that a vehicle has been properly serviced if it is involved in a crash. It will reveal the full responsibilities of the fleet decision-maker to drivers and look at the role of boardroom members in ensuring employees are safe when they take to the road.
Fuel choice is no longer simply about whether to opt for petrol and diesel. Fleet decision-makers can no longer ignore alternative fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas, particularly because of the major running costs advantages they should bring.
David Rawlings, senior manager at Deloitte and Touche, will be among the expert speakers addressing the key issues fleets must look at and how they can reach a decision.
Fleet executives must also prepare themselves to make the most of the growing choice of hybrid vehicles, which combine electric power with traditional petrol and diesel engines.
This session will also highlight the potential tax advantage to drivers in opting for alternative fuels and also examine what fleet decision-makers could consider when looking at paying for fuel in the future.
Session sponsored by: ##TransportEnergy--right##
THE service landscape for fleets is changing. This year major alterations to the Block Exemption system, which controls how cars are sold and serviced, mean a whole host of new operators could become involved in the fleet market.
This session, including a briefing from industry expert Rob Holloway, director of the independents and fuel division at the Retail Motor Industry Federation, will look at the potential benefits and pitfalls facing fleets following the changes. It will also examine what opportunities there are for ensuring that fleet maintenance is still carried out as efficiently as possible.
Carbon dioxide-based company car taxation has produced a massive change in the company car landscape. Tens of thousands of drivers have opted for diesel cars to reduce their tax liability, while also cutting vehicle emissions at the same time. This session, including a presentation from the Inland Revenue, will provide an in-depth guide to current trends in company car tax and examine the Government's plans to introduce one of the biggest changes in the history of van taxation.
This is a vital session for fleet decision-makers if they are to ensure that their fleet runs smoothly over the next few years.