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Acfo webinar highlights importance of grey fleet management

Date: 11 April 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Grey fleet management is becoming increasingly crucial for employers, according to the speakers on a new Acfo webinar. 

Available for members to download from its website, Not So Grey: Managing Opt Out and Private Vehicles highlights how the issue is becoming ever more prevalent due to a rising trend for employees to move away from company cars to a cash allowance. 

Speakers said it was critical for managers to have technology in place to deliver a 'cohesive, auditable and systemised' management approach, and mileage capture systems to further aid compliance and accurate mileage reimbursement.

There are at least 14 million privately-owned vehicles driven on work-related journeys in the UK, compare with around 940,000 company cars, according to HMRC data.

Simon Turner, campaigns director for Roadsafe, which delivers the Highways England Driving for Better Business campaign, said: "I see a lot of inconsistency in the way many companies, of all sizes, approach 'grey fleet'.

"That includes small ones that get it right, and well-known larger ones who are getting it wrong or ignoring it completely.

"Who owns the car is largely irrelevant as the duty of care to manage occupational road risk is the same, so the management procedures to deal with that risk should be the same as well." 

Turner said reasons for poor grey fleet management included: misunderstanding of employers' and drivers' rights and obligations; a management fear of confrontation with drivers; a misplaced employer trust in drivers; and a lack of management commitment to provide the necessary resources.

He said driver licence checks were essential, and driver policies should be shared with grey fleet drivers as they would be with company car drivers.

He also said similar driver profiling, assessment and training regimes should be in place, and vehicle monitoring should be undertaken, including checks on the status of servicing, MOT and VED.

Business insurance should also be in place.

Turner said: "Asking someone to drive for work brings certain obligations regarding a duty of care to manage the risk and, in law, these obligations are largely the same, whoever owns the vehicle, or however it is financed.

"There is nothing inherently wrong with having a grey fleet, provided employer risks and obligations are fully understood, and it is managed properly."

The webinar also heard from James Pestell, national sales manager of IFC Group, which includes mileage capture system Vertivia, that mileage reimbursement claims could be vulnerable to overpayment if employers did not carry out checks. 

He said: "Having a mileage capture system in place can be cost neutral because non-accountable reporting of business mileage means companies could be haemorrhaging money.

"Five miles saved per driver per month when reimbursing at 45p a mile covers the cost of the solution."