Graham's Gab

Graham's Gab

 

March 2020

Well another month has flown us by, and we are swiftly moving into Spring. I am sure many of you will have been busy during the relentless weather the UK and Ireland has had to brace and the terrible flooding that followed. I hope everyone got through it unscathed and that things are starting to settle back down to normality.

Membership renewals are underway, and I am pleased to see so many members renewing their AVRO membership and continuing to play their part in leading the conversation within our industry. This very much compliments the new members that have joined the Association of late, with being so heavily involved with membership it is great to see our membership going from strength to strength.

You will hopefully by now have seen the very comprehensive statement released by AVRO on Smart Motorways which we shared with our strategic partners at Highways England as well as across the industry and media. One point that we wanted to make key within the statement was education. We pressed home the point that not only does AVRO feel that general road users need more education when it comes to smart motorways but so do we as roadside recovery operators, in an emergency situation we all need to know exactly what is to be done and what process to follow and with that I repeat the following from the AVRO Smart Motorway statement:

 AVRO recommends in the strongest terms that no roadside recovery operator attempts to assist or stop at the scene of any stranded vehicles, within a smart motorway, without first contacting Highways England and then following the instructions given to them on protocol and procedure by Highways England.

With that the results of the Government stocktake review into smart motorways has now been released and you can read AVRO’s statement regarding this over the page. The review takes in to account several very important issues and presents a plan of action for Government and Highways England to undertake. There is a lot of work to be done in respect of smart motorways but be assured that AVRO will continue to work hard with our partners at Highways England to ensure AVRO members are represented and their voice is heard.

I was very pleased to see that through some very hard work and deliberation with Highways England, AVRO has been instrumental in forming a Strategic Partnership Agreement between Highways England and the roadside recovery industry. I cannot stress to you enough the hard work that has been put into this by members of the National Council who have worked closely and professionally with Highways England to help bring this agreement into fruition. The benefits of this agreement are wide ranging and will benefit our members no end now and into the future.  Look out for further details on this in the near future.

As you will know I travel the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland meeting with our members and taking part in many meetings and initiatives on our members behalf. It is a part of the work I do with AVRO that I really enjoy, getting out and about among members, seeing their operations and hearing from the coal face the true view of the industry.

One matter that comes up often are members who say to me “members just do not seem to work together anymore” and I have to say that really hits hard with me and my colleagues on National Council. Members working together is one of the founding principles of AVRO and to see just one member feel that we are not working together is one too many.

One of the key points that is raised is one member attending another member premises to collect a vehicle and there being what is felt to be excessive resistance, members are being asked by other members to present certification, insurance, drivers licences, employee training, vehicle maintenance records and so on. Now I am more than aware of health and safety requirements and the requirements of our members to protect themselves, but I do very much feel that we need a clear procedure here.

Health and Safety has moved on so very much in the past few years and it cannot be denied that safety has to be everyone’s first priority , but we must find a system here that works for all, protects you as the operator where the vehicle is being collected from, protects the operator collecting the vehicle and meets all the requirements of regulation and accreditation.

I would like to suggest that we as AVRO look to produce a system to cover this, I am sure we can, we already have the AVRO membership standards and to support that we have PAS 43, but before AVRO looks to create something I would like to hear from you, the membership on your views and thoughts on what should be included within any system.

My intention is to raise this at the monthly National Council meeting and discuss with my colleagues and take onboard their thoughts and suggestions, but as I have said I am very keen to hear from members on what they would like to see. For me I would like to put the meaning back into AVRO membership, AVRO membership alone should be all that is needed by one operator to another to be confident for that operator to come on to their premises and undertake their work, but as I have said I am well aware that we need to satisfy all regulation and accreditation.

What I would suggest in the meantime is to prevent any delays when collecting from another operator is to give them a quick call before attending and check what their process is for collection of a vehicle and things like inherited charges are they to pay, are they paid, condition of the vehicle and any documents that may be required. Just a suggestion but it may assist with not being delayed on arrival.

So with that I would ask any member with any view on this subject to please reach out and contact me, I can be contacted on 07864 673 533 and by e-mail at graham@avrouk.com I am always more than happy to discuss this topic and indeed any other with any member and I would very much welcome your input so we can look to put something together to restore the working together approach between our members.

To finish on this topic, I think it is very much worth noting that on the flip side of this debate is the members of AVRO that quite clearly do work together and indeed would go to the end of the earth for one another. This is always truly inspirational and a pleasure to see, I have to say at times I see members working so closely together you struggle to see where one ends and the other begins. They are a credit to the association.

So, with that I will look to further this subject and I very much look forward to your input, it will be greatly appreciated.

I cannot finish without touching on the ongoing situation with the Coronavirus, which I am sure you will all be aware is very much a developing situation. Firstly I must say it is imperative that you keep yourself and your employees fully up to date by following the HM Government advice which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response and for our members in region fifteen advice by the Republic of Ireland Government can be found at https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

You will have by now received various information from various sources, including that released to all members by AVRO and published in the centre pages of this edition of AVRO News. What is clear is that we must do all we can, and we must be vigilant and take the necessary precautious as advised by the relevant Governments.

It cannot be denied that we are all heading into unchartered territory, this is not something we have seen on such a scale and the level of disruption to normal life could turn out to be immense. AVRO will continue to consult with its partners within the industry and we will do our level best to provide you with any information or guidance we can as soon as we have it.

 

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