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All TfL fleet suppliers must be FORS Gold accredited from April

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Transport for London (TfL) is introducing new requirements for fleet service contracts as part of plans it says are aimed at improving vehicle safety on London’s roads.

From April 2024, all Greater London Authority Group contracts, worth £1 million and over involving vehicles, will need to be FORS Gold accredited or a TfL equivalent approved scheme (Mission Zero and DVSA Earned Recognition). Encouraging fleet operators to take part in FORS is part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate death and serious injury on the transport network.

FORS currently have over 203,000 vehicles accredited across 4,700 companies both within the UK and abroad. The introduction of additional safety equipment and additional driver training through FORS has led to a 31 per cent reduction in serious injuries as a result of collisions involving commercial vehicles based on performance data submitted for Silver audits between 2021 and 2022.

However, freight vehicles remain disproportionately represented in fatal collisions in the capital, and TfL says more action is needed to achieve the Vision Zero goal. It says moving to the higher standard of FORS Gold (or equivalent) will ensure accredited operators meet the enhanced standards which are above the legal requirements for operating commercial vehicles, further reducing the risk to vulnerable road users.

The new requirements will be enforced from April 2024, and will not affect suppliers with prior contracts. Suppliers holding contracts valued under £1 million will be required to be accredited to a minimum of FORS Silver accredited. Their internal supply chains must also be FORS Bronze accredited.  These changes aim to further enhance the safety standards of fleet services operating in the capital, helping them to reduce road danger for all, including vulnerable road users such as people walking and cycling.

FORS is an accreditation scheme recognising freight and fleet safety and environmental standards. It was created in 2008 by TfL and is now run by Sopra Steria. The voluntary scheme audits fleet operators and awards Bronze, Silver and Gold accreditations. Within the FORS standard, HGVs are required to be fitted with additional safety equipment for the protection of Vulnerable Road Users along with high-quality driver safety training embedded as part of the requirements. FORS assesses and recognises fleet performance in key areas: environmental impact, safety, and operational efficiency. The program provides a framework and sets benchmarks to help operators enhance their performance in these areas.

Initially run as a scheme for fleets operating in the capital, it was expanded nationwide to ensure that people across the UK could benefit from higher vehicle, safety and environmental standards. FORS provides a continuous system of performance improvement, through the accreditation levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold, providing reductions in incidents and collisions, along with the provision of member benefits, such as savings on insurance premiums, free and funded manager training.

TfL and other organisations in London and nationally require FORS standards or equivalent schemes in contracts to improve safety.