The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has been voted Fleet Service Company of the Year in the 2014 ACFO Awards.
The DVLA was perhaps a surprise winner of the Award, but secured the most votes among ACFO members ahead of more than 20 other nominated service suppliers. Its success was recognition of the engagement with fleet decision-makers over the ongoing implementation of a range of online solutions for the corporate sector.
Meanwhile, the changing shape of the UK company car market was further reflected as Mercedes-Benz won the Fleet Car of the Year Award for the first time with the A-Class overcoming the challenge of almost 20 other models that received ACFO members’ votes.
In the process the German marque became just the sixth manufacturer in the 31-year history of the ACFO Awards to capture the honour following BMW, Ford, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and last year Audi.
250 ACFO members and their guests attended the annual Awards with the winners revealed during a gala dinner at the St John’s Hotel, Solihull, tonight (Wednesday, 19 November, 2014).
ACFO chairman John Pryor said he was “personally delighted” that the DVLA had triumphed and believed it was recognition for the Swansea-based Government agency’s approach to working closely with members to establish new online tools including: driver licence validation checks, V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book) access and a vehicle enquiry service.
Pryor said: “The DVLA recognised that the introduction of online services was a major but welcome move for fleets in reducing administration, but simultaneously accepted that it was vital that system functionality was easy to use and delivered benefits.
“Over almost 18 months, the ACFO board has been in dialogue with the DVLA on the various initiatives. Additionally, DVLA managers have attended ACFO meetings and seminars to keep members informed as to the progress of all online service.
“The Award is well deserved and I hope other Government agencies and departments learn from the DVLA’s approach of working closely with ACFO and listening to members’ views to ensure all new systems work effectively and efficiently.”
In other Awards, the environmental credentials of BMW enabled the German marque to notch double top. The marque has been at the forefront of the embryonic electric vehicle market and members of the leading fleet decision-makers’ organisation acknowledged that with the brand’s i3 being voted Green Vehicle of the Year and winning the Environmental Initiative of the Year - both awards won by comfortable margins.
The Ford Transit won the Large Van of the Year title for the fourth consecutive year and the 18th time in the history of the Awards.
However, the Volkswagen Caddy this year turned the tables on the Ford Transit Connect to win the Small Van of the Year Award.
In the spring, the AA launched its ‘Think Bike’ campaign supported by Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman and 20 times Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness and it won the Fleet Safety Initiative of the Year Award. The motoring organisation distributed one million stickers to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. Failure to look properly is the most commonly cited (42%) contributory factor in UK road accidents, adding further weight to the need for road users to have greater awareness of each other.
The Awards are voted online exclusively by the ACFO membership.
Pryor added: “Fleet decision-makers are reliant on motor manufacturers to deliver vehicles that are cost effective to operate, safe, reliable and environmentally-friendly and suppliers and other organisations to provide a first class service.
“Operating successfully in partnership it means that through the availability of top quality vehicles and first rate suppliers, vehicle downtime can be kept to an absolute minimum and fleet managers can focus on the efficient and effective operation of their vehicles to support their businesses.”