Charities must not neglect their fleet duty of care responsibilities due to stretched managerial resources, warns FleetCheck.
The fleet management software company reports that in organisations where budgets are being cut, the fleet is often placed well down down the list of priorities because there is limited recognition of the possibilities for prosecution that exist.
However, there is a variety of legal responsibilities surrounding risk management, especially when it comes to volunteers driving vehicles or using their own cars on charity business, that cannot be avoided.
Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “At a time when charities are keenly aware of reputational risk for a host of reasons, their fleet probably doesn’t immediately come to mind compared to issues such as preventing personal abuse and harassment, especially at a point in time when budgets and managerial resources are being stretched.
“The fact is that, if an accident occurs and the charity is found to be at fault, it can face prosecution and its directors will be looking at a custodial sentence. It is a serious matter.”
Golding said the main issues concern ensuring employees are qualified to drive vehicles, and that the vehicles being used are properly maintained.
He added: “There are all kinds of danger areas but, for example, if you are not carefully and regularly checking employee driving licences, you could find that someone has a lot of points on their licence or may not even be qualified to drive a vehicle such as a minibus.
“Similarly, if a volunteer is using their own vehicle on business, especially if they are carrying other people, it is imperative to ensure it has been properly insured and maintained, something that is not always easy, especially with an older car. It is not just a matter of checking the MOT.”