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Licence check campaign makes waves at Whitehall

Date: 01 June 2010   |   Author:

BusinessCar's licence check crusade has been felt at Westminster, with a number of Government departments pledging to incorporate the new Association of Car Fleet Operators' document checking best practice into their operations.

Prior to the general election, senior Labour minister, and BusinessCar and ACFO's Governmental contact, Dr Stephen Ladyman sent early copies of the association's new best practice guide to each Government department, with early responses including pledges to incorporate the advice into new departmental guidelines.

"We have developed new procedures for employees who drive for work purposes," wrote the then-minister of state for energy and climate change Joan Ruddock in a formal response to the distribution of the ACFO guide. "The procedure and risk assessment follows best practice advice from the Health and Safety Executive and takes account of their guidance referred to in the ACFO Best Practice Guide."

The Department for Transport's Paul Clark responded with: "There are of course very good reasons for adopting ACFO's best practice and I give you my undertaking that my department will adopt equivalent procedures."

The Cabinet Office said it is looking to revise its guidance for both staff using their own vehicles and the use of hire cars for official business. "The best practice guide reinforces our intended approach and will be used to further define the departmental guidance and procedures."

"I think our campaign opened up some eyes in one or two departments," Dr Ladyman told BusinessCar. "At best, they all now know the document exists when they are reviewing procedures and will ensure they at least reach the standard set. At worst, the departments won't have a leg to stand on if someone has an accident and turns out not to have a valid licence or insurance."

ACFO's Best Practice Guide to Employee Driving Document Checking, publicly unveiled at the association's recent annual conference, resulted from Dr Ladyman's request late last year to produce a document after a BusinessCar enquiry found only one of 21 Government departments investigated actually followed best practice advice.