In last week’s Letter of the Week – Who monitors the agencies? – Andrea Gardner of Bullet Express raised some very pertinent questions about the quality and skills of agency drivers and about the agencies themselves.
As the managing director of a driver agency and also chairman of the governance group for the FTA’s Driver Agency Excellence scheme, I’d argue that it is as much in the interests of agencies themselves to provide a good service, as it is for the hauliers.
The DAE scheme is a voluntary initiative aimed at spreading best practice and provides all participants with a mark of quality that should give hauliers the assurance they need that the agency and their drivers are compliant and qualified. The DAE scheme audits three main areas: core business standards, driver recruitment standards and driver management standards.
Andrea asks how a haulier can be confident that drivers are properly insured, are Working Time Directive compliant and of good calibre.
If hauliers seek out drivers from agencies which have been audited under the DAE scheme - indeed, if they make this a requirement of agencies, as part of the tendering process - then quality should be assured.
Agencies which are audited under the DAE scheme, as my company is, don’t use umbrella companies, only paying drivers under PAYE. Hauliers should also take comfort in the knowledge that digi cards, shifts and driving hours are properly monitored under the DAE Scheme.
Finally, the question of reliability was posed. If agencies get a full and proper brief from a client, which they deliver to the drivers, and if the drivers are given as robust an induction process by hauliers as their employed drivers, then expectations on both sides should be properly managed and the risks of taking on drivers who ‘walk out and leave you in the lurch’ reduced.
Chair Driver Agency Excellence governance group
Managing Director of 24-7 Staffing