ACFO and the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM) have insisted a merger is not on the agenda after announcing they would work together to promote best practice.
The two industry bodies will meet once a quarter to discuss projects and will have representation on each other’s boards, share membership initiatives and join forces to collectively promote the benefits of each organisation and their respective conferences, seminars and other events.
However, ICFM chairman Paul Hollick told Fleet News the forging of closer links should not be seen as a stepping stone for full integration between the pair. “It’s far too early to contemplate a merger,” he said.
ACFO chairman John Pryor (pictured) also said he does not believe there will be a merger in the foreseeable future.
Bringing the two not-for-profit organisations closer together has been six years in the making, but the idea was given renewed focus following the appointment of Hollick as ICFM chairman in November 2014.
He said a series of meetings between ICFM and ACFO had taken place over the past 12 months and a formal meeting in January this year gave the greenlight to announce the closer collaboration (fleetnews.co.uk, January 26).
The next formal meeting will be in April.
“I know ACFO chairman John Pryor and deputy chair Caroline Sandall well and so one of the first things I wanted to do, when I was appointed was to do the rounds in the industry and see if we could bring the organisations closer together,” said Hollick.
“We are in a sense two halves of the same equation, so it made sense to work together to promote best practice and raised standards within the industry.”
A key part of the decision to announce something formal was the appointment of Fleet News Hall of Fame member and columnist Nigel Trotman as ICFM advisor to provide coordination between the two groups.
Hollick said Trotman, who sits on ACFO’s national council and is secretary of the Midlands region, was appointed as a full-time board member of the ICFM in September 2015, due to his knowledge and contacts in the industry, but also to get closer to ACFO.
Trotman will attend ACFO board meetings in a non-voting capacity.
Pryor said: “Asking Nigel to sit on the ACFO board and in turn representing us on the ICFM board means we can start this working partnership more closely and ensure we offer the widest range of support to both our memberships.
“If we can lock into ICFM’s skills, and we can offer ours, we are hoping it will be to the betterment of fleet and mobility.
“Jointly promoting the mutual benefits of both organisations will, ACFO believes, increase professionalism across the fleet management industry and widen the membership base.”
Trotman operated and developed the Whitbread fleet over a 15-year period, making it one of the first to embrace an environmental approach, and winning widespread industry recognition including two Fleet News awards and a Fleet Hero award from the Energy Saving Trust.
He then joined Lloyds TSB Autolease and latterly Alphabet as a strategic fleet consultant. He entered the Hall of Fame in 2013. “I have always felt the two organisations should work more closely together,” said Trotman. “Each organisation can assist the other and help the industry, and I hope that is something I can contribute to in this new role.”
Hollick said it is still early days when it comes to working out the ways in which ACFO and ICFM will work together, but suggestions include the promotion and sharing of membership initiatives, each organisation promoting the other on their respective websites and stand representation at the other’s events and sourcing potential speakers.
The ICFM and ACFO are also considering the launch of joint training courses.
ICFM currently has 750 members and is looking to boost that number to 1,000. ACFO has more than 500 members.
Established in 1992, the ICFM offers a range of vocational qualifications including an introductory certificate, certificate and diploma in car fleet management.