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DVSA Update: Earned Recognition pilot extended

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Originally due to wrap-up last month, the Earned Recognition pilot scheme has been extended until February 2018.


Launched in April 2017, the pilot was given 6 months to identify the most exemplar operators on UK roads.


The DVSA, however, has decided to get more operators involved.


One of the factors discouraging operators from applying for the Earned Recognition pilot could be the high-level requirements; while the standards are demanding, the DVSA stress that they are attainable.


As a way of persuading more operators to take part, the DVSA welcomes queries from those running fleets that may not meet the whole criteria.


Earned Recognition Pilot Requirements


But what is the criteria? To meet the conditions for inclusion, an operator must:


  • Have held an operator’s license for at least two years;
  • Have an electronic management system for maintenance and a fully-electronic management system for drivers’ hours to monitor compliance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set by the DVSA;
  • Be able to meet the scheme standards with no regulatory action (other than warnings) by a Traffic Commissioner for a minimum of two years;
  • If responsible for multiple operating licences, be considered as a business in its entirety, and not on the basis of individual licences;
  • Measure the data for all operator licences that are under their control.


Applying for inclusion in the pilot involves the following:


  • Complete an application form and submit it to the DVSA for review;
  • If successful, the operator will be advised that it may proceed to the audit stage; if unsuccessful, they will be informed by the DVSA;
  • The operator arranges a Standards Audit to be undertaken by an approved auditor;
  • The approved auditor sends the completed audit to the DVSA, which then advises the operator whether they have achieved Earned Recognition status;
  • If the standards set out in the audit are met, the operator will be granted pilot status and will receive a unique identification number. If the standards are not met, the DVSA will support the operator where possible in creating an action plan to solve the problems revealed by the audit.


This sounds like a lot of hurdles. And now, an operator may feel that they’ve been left with more questions than answers.


Becoming Exemplar


To dispel some of the major worries, we’ve composed a brief list of FAQs:


Q: My drivers use analogue tachographs. Does this exempt me from the pilot?

A: No. You can generate your data from paper tachos; if the data’s handled by digital means, you’re not disqualified from applying.


Q: How important it is to have digital data handling systems in place?

A: It’s critical. The scheme demands that its operators manage compliance data and generate KPIs digitally. This is partly because the reporting process is entirely digital.


Q: What happens if I’ve no anomalies to report?

A: In this instance, a blank email will be sent to the DVSA. There’ll be no further correspondence between yourself and the agency until the next time your data is due.

graphic showing Earned Recognition pilot gradient of tolerance deviations and DVSA intervening action
Enforcement procedures under Earned Recognition. Copyright @DVSA


Q: How are anomalies graded?

A: Whenever a piece of data has exceeded the tolerance, it’ll be graded yellow, amber or red. In each instance, an alert will be triggered in the DVSA system.


Q: So, what happens if I exceed the tolerance?

A: It depends on the severity of the breach. See the graphic above for a rundown of the DVSA intervention process.


Earned Recognition Pilot – The Benefits


At this point you might be thinking, okay, got it, but – what’s in it for me?


Well, being involved in the pilot provides ample perks. Among them:


  1. Your feedback to the DVSA could essentially help to shape what the scheme will become;
  2. You’ll be given the flexibility to whip your systems into shape to meet the full range of standards;
  3. You’ll be able agree on action plans formulated by the DVSA – something you will not be able to do once the scheme goes live;
  4. If you successfully complete the pilot, you will be automatically enrolled into Exemplar status when the scheme is implemented proper.


So, the scheme has gone live, and I’m an Exemplar operator. What’s next?


Gaining Exemplar status holds numerous benefits for an operator. No matter the size of the fleet under your command; with Earned Recognition, a one-man band could essentially share a tier of competence with a UK-wide, multi-depo distributor.


As for the date on which the scheme will turn live, information is scarce. While it was originally pencilled in for early 2018, we predict that implementation will be pushed back to next Summer at the earliest.


So, what’s next? If you’re interested, apply to be involved in the pilot.

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