Some of you will know about this.
It's the thing your TM's been fretting about for the past couple of months.
If it's news to you, here's a summary:
DVSA Earned Recognition is the new enforcement regime, through which they aim to target the least compliant operators for roadside & premises inspections, and leave the most compliant well alone.
How do they measure each operation's level of compliance? Via a gradient determined by the figures provided by said operation, measured against the DVSA's strict Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Sound like gibberish? Not to worry. I've got you covered.
I've compiled a list of the 3 most important things you need to know about the scheme.
You're about to find out exactly why your TM's been climbing the walls. And why your job may be about to get a whole lot tougher.
1. You're more likely to get stopped if...
Your employer has not enrolled in Earned Recognition. Though the scheme is technically voluntary, any operation that's not signed up will be viewed with suspicion by the DVSA, and will be subjected to regular roadside stoppages and premises inspections.
Basically, non-involvement means non-compliance. And if your firm isn't involved, the State will think you're trying to hide something. And the State don't like that, brother.
If this is starting to sound a bit 1984ish - I feel you. There are some things the Gov shouldn't touch. This scheme, however, DOES have its benefits. And for those that take it seriously, the rewards aren't to be sniffed at.
2. So, you're enrolled in the scheme? That doesn't exempt you from getting pulled over
Once the operator's signed up for Earned Rec, they must then submit their statistics to the DVSA on a regular basis. If these statistics fall outside the DVSA's parameters, guess what - the State'll be all up in their grill.
The level of harassment a firm'll have to deal with depends on how far they've fallen short.
Your firm will be judged on a scale, the highest of which is Exemplar, and the lowest of which is Serially Non-Compliant. Trust me, you don't want to be in that latter tier.
Why? Because the DVSA will subject your firm to a 'Continual Focused Targeting Regime' - and that means you'll be pestered regularly, whether you're on the road or in the yard.
On a brighter note, if you're working for an Exemplar Operator, the only occasions when you will be pulled over will be when your vehicle is in an 'obviously dangerous condition' e.g. when your straps are trailing behind you like tin cans off a wedding day limo.
So at this point you may reckon: well, all that's down to my TM. I just deliver the loads and go home.
But not quite. Compliance begins and ends with drivers; it's fundamentally down to how well you look after yourself. There's more than one excuse as to why drivers aren't as vigilant as they should be (company culture springs to mind), but as will soon be clear: in the new culture of Earned Rec, you really don't want to be caught with your pants down.
Right now, of course, there are some drivers that agents won't leave alone, and there are others that are stopped roughly once a decade. Whether or not you're pulled for an inspection bears no reflection on how compliant your firm is. This culture of random enforcement means many compliant fleets are collared, and many non-compliant firms are free to roam the earth as they please.
This is about to be turned on its head....
So...what are they looking at?
3. There are two main aspects of compliance that Earned Rec will focus on.
- Drivers' Hours, and
- Maintenance Records.
Let's talk about the first one. DVSA Earned Recognition will introduce a range of KPIs associated with Drivers' Hours infringements. If you fall within a certain parameter, you're good. Slip outside of that parameter, however, and the State's ears are pricked. Here's a few you should know about:
Working Time offences: leeway of 4% granted,
Overall infringements: leeway of 4% granted,
Missing mileage: NO leeway granted,
Repeat offenders: NO leeway granted to any driver who commits offences over 3 consecutive periods.
If this is too much too soon, don't worry. Your TM will (hopefully) know the KPIs inside-out, and will be able to provide you with the information you need. Ideally, they will provide said info before you get collared by an agent. But let's not get stuck on what-ifs.
As for Maintenance Records, these fall largely within the domain of the transport office. One thing that you should be aware of, however, is Defect Reporting. There is NO leeway for defect reporting infringements. That means that documentation covering the entire process; from carrying out the checks to making a note of them to having them dealt with in a timely manner, must be 100% accurate.
So, there you have it. Whether it fills you with terror, relief, or mild annoyance - Earned Recognition is going to change the entire structure of roadside enforcement.
But, we don't stop there. Tell me: what are you most concerned about? Are there areas of the scheme that you think are unfair? Is there an area that you think will prove to be unenforceable?
Shout your questions in the comment section below. If I can't answer them, I'll get someone else to.
And if there's anything here that worries you, tell your TM! Get from them as much information as you can. And if they don't know what you're talking about.... that's when to start worrying.
Anyway, that's quite enough of that. Let's not dwell on worst-case scenarios. There are things you can do right now to keep yourself right. And that's what we're all about here - everyone keeping themselves straight down the middle.
A good place to start would be to check your CPC hours. It costs you nothing and can be done in a matter of minutes. Put your good foot forward here: