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Article | Managing Risk

How to create an effective fleet risk steering group

By Andrew Millinship | February 24, 2022

This insight explains how you can create an effective fleet risk steering group and the actions to consider.
Motor Fleet|Risk & Analytics|Risk Management Consulting
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It’s unlikely the responsibility for managing the risks associated with driving at work can sit with any one role or function due to the range of expertise needed, such as driver hours legislation or employment law.

Bringing together several business functions to actively report progress and share good practice and expert perspectives can help develop a cohesive approach.

Despite the importance of clarity around accountability, it’s not unusual to discover that the ultimate responsibility for managing the risks of operating vehicles or arising from a mobile workforce, can be unclear.

Fleet risk should be considered at a strategically high level to effectively control two key risks:

  • Failure to prevent involvement in a road traffic incident
  • Failure to prevent legal redress of employer or employees as a result of involvement in a road traffic incident.

Bringing together various stakeholders in regular meetings can ensure the right people are involved in a connected decision-making process. The frequency of meetings should be at a minimum quarterly but where there are significant issues, or where projects are progressing that are leading to considerable change, meetings could be more frequent.

It is essential meeting notes or minutes are produced, together with action plans, to ensure those who need to be informed can receive the right information.

One method of setting out roles and responsibilities from the outset in a fleet risk steering group is to ensure those Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (RACI) are clarified. The following are the questions to answer:

Responsibility

Who will be responsible for defining and implementing change via policies, procedures and practices? This requires involvement from experts as it will be necessary to consider people, vehicles and the support services needed to keep vehicles on the road, including transport or fleet managers, human resources and health and safety.

Accountability

A very senior person in the business, normally a senior director, such as the group operations director. This person needs to be accountable for the objectives of the group and should also be seen as an active sponsor of both the group and all fleet risk and safety initiatives, alongside any other activity undertaken that considers Health and Safety at Work obligations.

Consulted

Who needs to be consulted, be it internal experts or outside specialists as part of a cohesive decision-making process considering the various elements involved in effective fleet management?

Informed

Who are the correct stakeholders that need to be informed when considering the impact of change? Whilst key stakeholders can be identified, the methods of communication should be considered – how are outcomes from the steering group going to be disseminated to the right levels?

An effective fleet risk steering group comprises of a core of key stakeholders together with specialists. It’s advisable to define the objectives of each stakeholder at the outset, to ensure they represent the right areas and complement the group’s purpose.

The role of the fleet risk steering group chairperson is to deliver on the group's purpose and objectives ideally without a direct involvement in one area. The roles of health and safety manager, risk manager, insurance manager are examples of roles best-suited to this potentially challenging position.

The following is a suggested make up of a fleet risk steering group considering the RACI approach.

  1. 01

    Operations director

    Steering group sponsor

    Accountable - This role may not be present at all meetings but will be part of the decision-making process and must be kept informed.

  2. 02

    Health and safety manager

    Group chairperson

    Responsible - This role normally sits across all parts of the business. They are responsible for running the meetings and coordinating actions, including the collation and escalation of issues and recommendations. They may require support to administer.

  3. 03

    Transport or fleet manager

    Participant

    Consulted - This role is part of the discussion process. They raise specific items, receive specific actions and report on specific actions relating to vehicles. They will be able to enlighten on legislative issues relevant to their area and receive guidance from other experts.

  4. 04

    Logistics or scheduling manager

    Participant

    Consulted - This role is part of the discussion process. They raise specific items, receive specific actions and report on specific actions relating to the way vehicles are used. They will be able to enlighten on legislative issues relevant to their area and receive guidance from other experts.

  5. 05

    HR manager

    Participant

    Consulted - This role is part of the discussion process. They raise specific items, receive specific actions and report on specific actions relating to drivers and other employees. They will be able to enlighten on legislative issues relevant to their area and receive guidance from other experts.

  6. 06

    Insurance manager

    Participant

    Consulted - This role is part of the discussion process. They raise specific items, receive specific actions and report on specific actions relating to insurance or claims.

  7. 07

    Specific expert

    Participant

    Consulted - This role will be invited to the meeting as needed to discuss specifics, such as technology, legal implications and other industry insight.

The role of ‘Informed’ in the RACI matrix here relates to any person or role who should receive the outputs from the group; via a distribution of meeting minutes or revised documented processes. This may then require those informed to implement actions.

The effectiveness of a fleet risk steering group will be determined by ensuring the right people are involved.

How can WTW help?

WTW supports businesses in implementing fleet risk steering groups. Having our transport and fleet risk consultants involved, their cross-sector experience enables them to provide constructive challenge to ensure you are taking the right steps to manage fleet risk.

Please contact our Transport Risk Management Practice Leader, Andrew Millinship for more information on how we can help.

Author

Practice Leader – Transport Risk

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