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Damage limitations

How is your fleet made up?

Peverel Services Ltd provides property-related services throughout the UK including property management, letting, security and protection systems as well as property sales and insurance. The fleet of 360 vehicles are contract hired with full maintenance over three years. The scope of vehicle choice is vast and varied from small hatchbacks to Range Rovers depending on the job need and position within the company.

Are you qualifications or experience based – or perhaps a mixture of both?

My experience is based on both qualification via the ICFM and knowledge gained over the past 10 years within the fleet industry. In addition to this I owe a great deal of gratitude to ACFO members past and present who have been more than willing to help and offer sound and impartial advice. I am now in the fortunate position where I can contribute more and hopefully ”put something back” as they say. I am privileged to hold a regional officer position in the Southern region.

How do you communicate information to your drivers?

In many ways. Sometimes it is by traditional ”snail mail” but mostly electronically – just often enough to make a difference but not so often that the messages become diluted or ignored. We regularly update the Group Company Car Policy and insist that the relevant signed pages are return prior to any new vehicle orders being placed. And there are no exceptions to this policy!

What’s the worst fleet-related issue you’ve had to deal with?

Only two weeks ago I took delivery of a return vehicle from a driver leaving the business. The car had been crashed with severe damage to both flanks. Instead of reporting the damage to the Fleet Department, the driver attempted to cover up the damage in the most grotesque manner. The slap-dash use of filler and cans of spray paint were evident from a mile away. Imagine my surprise when the driver said, ”I thought it would save the company money”!

And the funniest?

That would be when I realised that the driver above was actually being serious!!!

How do you deal with damage on returned cars?

All return vehicle damage is reported and supported by in-focus digital images by the lease company for us to review. If we believe that the damage is clearly identified and falls within the BVRLA ”Fair Wear & Tear” guidelines, we will accept the costs. These costs will then be passed onto the driver by way of a salary deduction as clearly stated within the Car Policy.

Do you take a large or small insurance excess, or do you self-insure?

I would say our insurance excess is average, at £250 per claim. We recover £50 from each driver as a contribution towards this excess for each necessary repair and £50 towards the cost of repair if we don’t make a claim and there is no third party to recover our costs from.

Do you track your vehicles, and how did you persuade drivers it was a ‘Good Thing’?

We are about to install a VMS (Vehicle Monitoring System) to a large number of service engineer vehicles, as well as the senior management and support teams’ vehicles. We are focussing on health and safety first and foremost, with the added benefits such as job and journey scheduling.

The business communicated the changes by engaging with our mobile workforce face to face and explained the risks we wish to manage, and the accident statistics that we wish to improve upon. The business also invested time working with a supplier who was willing and able to provide privacy functionality that enables the drivers to retain control over what registers as a business journey. The system is set up in a way that prevents private use being recorded within the mapping or data fields. The installation program is due to commence later this year.

What would be your one best piece of advice to someone just starting their fleet career?

Try to meet with other fleet managers or people within organisations that have fleet responsibility. It’s amazing how the fleet community pulls together to help each other out. It’s probably because there is always something new to learn regardless of experience, so interacting via ACFO, ICFM and the vast fleet media; that’s my advice.

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