Fleet News

Volvo launches free duty of care programme for SMEs

Volvo is launching a programme to help smaller fleets meet their duty of care requirements.

Co-Pilot, which was announced at the Fleet News Company Car in Action event, will offer free risk management consultancy from Volvo’s partner Fleet21 and will be available to new customers operating up to 20 vehicles (typically SME companies).

The consultancy includes a fleet policy and driver handbook (written by legal experts), a licence check and online driver risk assessments.

“Essentially we will ensure you are legally compliant and you’ve started on the road to educating your drivers,” said Simon Turner, managing director of Fleet21.

A company can choose to add paid-for options such as driver awareness workshops and training.

Turner said: “Driver training is a ‘nice to have’. It educates drivers, helps reduce accidents and goes some way towards best practice, but it’s not within the strict realms of what is legally required.”

Co-Pilot is set for a soft launch from July 1 and Volvo is currently building up its network of partners that will provide discounted services or free advice to SMEs. Partners to-date include Driving for Better Business, Transport for London, law firm Weightmans (which conducted the ‘mock trial’ at the 2013 Fleet News Congress), alcohol- and drug-testing provider Alere Toxicology, dash cam provider Roadhawk and driver distraction prevention mobile application provider Romex (see full list, below).

Co-Pilot partners
  • Volvo
  • Fleet21
  • Driving for Better Business
  • Transport for London
  • Alere Toxicology
  • The Fuelcard People
  • Nokia Here
  • Roadhawk
  • Specsavers
  • Road Safety Support
  • Romex
  • Weightmans
  • Footprint Media

Selwyn Cooper, head of business sales at Volvo, believes the programme will appeal to businesses who do not have the time to manage duty of care or who are simply not aware of their legal obligations.

“We know that safety, risk management and corporate liability is a massive growth area,” he said.

“I expect we will deal with hundreds of businesses. It
will escalate over time as it gets some traction.”

Turner believes that “the vast majority of small businesses are either doing nothing or not enough” in terms of risk management.

Even businesses that have policies in place could find they come unstuck during a police investigation if they do not have accurate records and the policy is not seen to be used.

Fleets that take advantage of the £500 worth of free risk management consultancy available through Co-Pilot will still need to ensure that they maintain compliance.

“Yes, we’ll give a business its first licence check but it does need to keep doing the licence checking to be sure,” Turner said. “We’ll give them the driver handbook and the form they need to get their drivers to sign to say they’ve received it and agreed to abide by it, but they should be getting that form signed every year.”

Fleet21 typically recommends an annual licence check for drivers with up to three points, a six-monthly check for four to seven points and a check every three months for eight points or more.

Organisations with more than 20 drivers will have to pay an additional charge of £19.50 per driver to take advantage of the offer through Fleet21.

Providing the safest car is ‘not enough’

Co-Pilot ties in with Volvo’s mission that by 2020 nobody will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.

It is “not enough” for Volvo to have the safest car tested by Euro NCAP (the V40, pictured), according to Kay Saunders, campaigns manager – business sales at the manufacturer.

The brand needs to consider the driver too, which has led to the creation of Co-Pilot.

Simon Turner, of Fleet21, said: “All the safety systems that are on Volvos now are either to stop you having an accident or minimise the severity of them. We want to prevent the driver getting in the situation where you need those systems.”

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