By Gary Killeen, Fleet Services Commercial Leader for GE Capital UK

Creating an effective fleet policy is essential for any organisation that runs a company car or van fleet. Whilst it is true that most companies have a fleet policy of some kind in place, it is often the case that these were written many years ago and have been updated only infrequently and in a piecemeal fashion.

However, the often neglected fleet policy has a vital role to play in the modern business. As an employer, almost all of your legal responsibilities surrounding company vehicles are linked to safety, duty of care and insurance. But, beyond these compulsory areas, a fleet policy can go further and support other key business objectives, acting, for example, as a recruitment or retention tool, or enhancing your sustainability credentials.

So how do you make your fleet policy work harder for your business? Below are our five top tips.

Start from scratch: In most cases, the best thing to do when writing a fleet policy is to start from scratch. However, like any large project, there is a risk of ‘drift’ when starting from a blank canvas. You should ensure that you set clear objectives for both the policy and its implementation and work to clear deadlines.

Engage with stakeholders: You should try and involve your key stakeholders from across the business at the very beginning. These will vary widely from company to company, but it is likely that they will include your Finance, Sourcing and Human Resources departments and, of course, the drivers themselves.

Identify what you want to achieve: Your fleet policy needs to ensure that all objectives, eventualities and processes are addressed within the document. This will include information on a range of practical issues, such as vehicle eligibility, allocation, choice and driver responsibilities. However, the policy also needs to look further across your business to ensure that it links to the wider corporate agenda, such as environmental initiatives. Finally, the document needs to consider the impact of external changes such as company car and fuel taxation.

Communicate it properly: As a document that will be used widely across your company, the fleet policy needs to be sensibly structured, carefully written and clearly understood, as well as presented in a format that can be easily communicated. Importantly, it should also be as concise as possible; a document that runs into hundreds of pages will simply not be read by drivers or their managers.

Keep up to date and measured: The conditions under which a fleet operates - from the macroeconomic climate to the legislation that applies to it - change continually. Your fleet policy needs to take account of this and should be updated accordingly. You should aim to review the policy at least once a year. As before, this process should include your stakeholders and be clear and transparent.

Finally, make sure that you collect data to present an accurate picture of how your fleet is performing in important aspects such as costs and employee retention.

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