The first in a series of ‘how to’ best practice guides designed to influence public and private sector fleet policies and procedures has been launched by ACFO.
The first guide - ‘ACFO Best Practice Guide to Employee Driving Document Checking’ - has been championed by former Transport Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman after he uncovered significant weaknesses in driving licence checking within Government departments.
There is no current legislation that specifically requires an employer to check the driving records of their employees, the Road Traffic Act 1988 (88) (2) says that ‘it is an offence for a person to cause or permit another person to drive on a road a motor vehicle of any class if that other person is not the holder of a licence authorising him to drive a motor vehicle of that class’.
The guide says: “Therefore any employer who is found to have permitted a person to drive a vehicle on business - whether a company-supplied vehicle or a privately-owned vehicle, which is often known as the ‘grey’ fleet - without ensuring they have a valid licence, is guilty of an offence. Crucially, organisations - particularly charities and public sector organisations - should also ensure that licence checking also extends to volunteer drivers as well as employees.”
Dr Ladyman, who was a Transport Minister from 2005 to 2007 and had been the Labour MP for South Thanet in Kent since 1997 until losing his seat in this month’s general election, said: “All employers have a duty to make sure that people who drive for their work are properly licensed and that their vehicle is safe and insured. This new guide sets out clearly and simply how to go about it and ACFO should be congratulated for producing it.
“In my view Government departments need to set an example to all employers and from my questions it is clear that some of them fall well short of an acceptable standard. I want to see all of them agree to adopt the ACFO guidance and lead the way by taking driving safety seriously.”
That process of adoption has already started with letters from the Ministry of Defence, Department for Transport, Department for Energy and Climate Change and the Cabinet Office all welcoming the guide.
ACFO chairman Julie Jenner said: “ACFO was asked to compile the guide because of our standing and expertise on all fleet issues relating to the public and private sectors after weaknesses in Government department procedures were exposed by Dr Ladyman.
“We believe the guide provides extremely valuable guidance not only for ACFO members to check that they are following our best practice recommendations, but also for the fleet community at large to adopt.”
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