FORS reflects on year of milestones, growth and development

    From achieving record numbers of Silver and Gold accredited members to launching numerous training updates and publishing Version 6.0 of the FORS standard, it has been a busy year for FORS.

    2021 marked the tenth year in which FORS has awarded its coveted Gold accreditation. As part of the celebrations of this important milestone, FORS recognised a group of early adopters – in the form of City of London Corporation, O’Donovan Waste Disposal, Travis Perkins Plc, Hanson UK and LondonEnergy – who have held the highest level of accreditation since the very beginning.

    Since its arrival, FORS Gold accreditation has only been awarded to exceptional operators who have met its exacting requirements. As of 12th December this year, the total number of Gold-accredited members stands at a record high of 322, while the number of Silver members has reached a record 1,690.

    The increase in the number of operators opting to progress to higher levels of FORS accreditation this year is testament to the value of FORS Silver and Gold and the benefits that operators of all shapes and sizes can enjoy, particularly in relation to efficiency, cost reduction and winning new contracts.

    Train to gain

    Of course, another key benefit of FORS membership is the training and professional development opportunities on offer, and 2021 saw a raft of new courses and updates launched. In May, for instance, FORS launched an update to its popular Van Smart eLearning module, to help upskill the growing fleet of light commercial vehicle drivers on our roads.

    The course upgrade included new learning scenarios and an updated format. The revisions to the mobile-friendly online module also include improved user functionality, with learning points presented to amplify learning take-aways, with a comprehensive list of Dos and Don’ts for drivers. The changes were designed to make the information even easier for van drivers to digest, and thoroughly embed best practice into everyday driving.

    Improved resources

    As well as training, FORS members benefit from regular webinars and downloadable resources that provide advice and guidance on a range of industry topics.

    A great example is the free-to-download FORS Professional Anti-Idling and Congestion-Cutting toolkit that FORS released in October this year. The toolkit includes a separate driver guide, posters and a toolbox talk, offering practical advice to help FORS operators reduce engine idling and minimise congestion.

    The manager toolkit, which is aimed at HGV, van and PCV operators, provides advice on procuring different types of technology and developing campaigns, as well as introducing an anti-idling and congestion-cutting policy and briefings for drivers.

    FORS also launched a series of Associate webinars this year, which have seen consistently high attendance and positive feedback from delegates. One particular webinar, delivered by FORS Associate, OdiliaClark, proved very successful, with over 135 members tuning in and a further 48 joining a repeat viewing.

    The webinar looked in detail at how operators and drivers can more effectively manage the risk of impairment caused by drugs and alcohol in their business. The session covered crucial topics such as managing the risk of drug and alcohol impairment, organisational culture surrounding drugs and alcohol impairment, and how to handle the outcomes of testing. Attendees could be left in no doubt that having robust procedures in place is of paramount importance for employee welfare, and indeed for the safety of other road users and members of the public.

    FORS Standard – Version 6.0

    The FORS Standard defines the requirements that operators must meet in order to attain and maintain FORS accreditation. It is updated every two years to ensure it remains relevant to the ever-changing needs of the road transport operators it serves.

    FORS published the latest iteration of the FORS Standard – Version 6.0 – on 19 October, announcing that it is due for implementation by all FORS members from 01 July 2022.

    John Hix, FORS Director said, “2021 began in much the same way that 2020 ended – with the industry facing challenges and uncertainty because of the pandemic. That we are now able to reflect on a year full of progress, milestones and successes is testament to the hard work of everyone at FORS, the resilience of the transport sector, and of course the commitment and ingenuity of our members. On behalf of FORS, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.