The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators designed to increase standards and best practice in safety, efficiency and environmental protection.
By increasing standards amongst fleet operators, the FORS scheme aims to increase the level of quality within fleet operations. Becoming a FORS member will prove to your customers that your company is mitigating its work-related road risk (WRRR).
It also demonstrates your company’s commitment to exceeding industry standards.
The FORS Standard sets out the requirements for members to achieve FORS accreditation. There are three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. The current FORS Standard (version 5) will be replaced by version 6 on 1st July 2022.
FORS V6 was due to be introduced in 2021 but was delayed due to the Covid pandemic. As a result, the implementation of FORS V6 will be staggered to give operators time to adjust from the current FORS Standard.
V6 of the FORS Standard doesn’t’ contain any changes to training for drivers and managers and many of the changes that are being introduced have been made to simply clarify existing requirements.
The FORS Standard is reviewed and updated every two years. This is to ensure that the requirements remain relevant to the ever-changing needs of the road transport operators it serves.
FORS Standard V6 has been designed to raise the level of quality within fleet operations. It will do this by ensuring that vehicles, drivers and managers are all working to the highest standards of safety and efficiency in an environmentally sound manner.
Central to the process of achieving FORS accreditation is the need for an audit to be carried out by operator, which will enable them to take a closer look at their operation and identify areas of strength to be exploited and areas for improvement to be addressed.
The purpose of carrying out a FORS audit is to ensure that an operator who holds FORS accreditation meets exacting and specific standards.
The audit process ensures that all documentation exists to provide evidence of systems and procedures and shows that operators meet the FORS Bronze requirements.
This should be reviewed every 12 months but more frequently if there have been any changes to legislation, incidents and accidents or any changes to working practices.
If you’re a FORS fleet operator you’re in good company because you’re one of almost 5,000 FORS members.
Being a FORS operator will raise the profile of your business, demonstrating a proven commitment to good practice in all aspects of the business. It shows that issues such as road safety and sustainability are central to the way your business is run and demonstrates your corporate social responsibility.
Of the 4,889 FORS members (September 2021) a record number have achieved Silver and Gold accreditation, with 1,648 Silver members and 322 Gold members. This increase is testament to the value of achieving Silver and Gold membership.
In addition to improving efficiency and achieving cost-reductions benefits, many operators also report that they have been more successful in winning new contracts. The significance of achieving FORS accreditation to a fleet operator is clear on many levels.
In a 2019 FORS Performance Survey, Bronze operators reported that 26% of contracts require FORS membership. Silver operators said that this figure was 38% whilst Gold operators said that 51% of contracts required FORS membership.
Furthermore 38% of FORS members said that they had won work over competitors as a direct benefit of holding FORS accreditation.
When looking at insurance, 24% of members reported a reduction in the annual cost of fleet insurance as a result of joining FORS saving 8% on average. Gold members also reported that they had benefitted from average year on year savings of 12% and that they had seen improved fleet safety and a reduction in the number of annual incidents by 31% on average.
The entry level to FORS accreditation is FORS Bronze, followed by FORS Silver and FORS Gold. Each level contains different standards for safety and efficiency that must be met before an operator can reach the next level.
In order to achieve FORS Bronze, a vehicle or fleet operator will need to demonstrate that their management, vehicles, drivers and all their operations fulfil a requirement, purpose and can demonstrate specific outputs.
All documentation must be managed to ensure that policies, procedures, risk assessments and method statements required by the FORS Standard are properly documented, approved by senior management, and are regularly reviewed and accessible.
If a company has less than 5 vehicles and less than 5 employees policy requirements may be demonstrated verbally but written policies should also be in place. If a company has over 5 vehicles or over 5 employees then written policies must be in place.
FORS Bronze, Silver and Gold each have their own logos which can be displayed by operators that have achieved the different levels of FORS accreditation.
The FORS logo shows existing and potential customers that the operator is FORS accredited and is a mark of quality that sets them above other operators that don’t carry FORS accreditation.
FORS has developed a comprehensive suite of driver training for FORS members. Modules of professional training for managers and drivers will help you to improve your road safety record.
The training will assist in decreasing the risk of collisions with other road users, especially the vulnerable. This has the added benefit of reducing your insurance premiums as well as leading to better fuel efficiency.
FORS driver training is available online as a series of e-training modules, which have been designed to offer drivers and managers concise and accessible training.
Each module takes approximately 20-40 minutes to complete, after which the member of staff who has completed the training will be automatically added to the FORS Professional Training register.
Training can also be delivered via PowerPoint group training packs if access to the internet is an issue, which can be accessed from your company dashboard.
FORS driver training also teaches the skill of defensive, more economic driving, which will lower your fuel costs.
In 2019 a survey of Gold accredited FORS members reported the following benefits of undertaking FORS driver training:
|Benefits of undertaking FORS driver training|
|12% decrease in fuel usage|
|14% decrease in CO2 emissions|
|32% decrease in incidents reported|
|49% reduction in the number of PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) received|
So you can see, the numbers speak for themselves. The benefits of becoming a FORS member and achieving FORS Bronze, Silver or Gold level accreditation bring financial benefits to your company in addition to showing your commitment to raising standards in the HGV industry.