Earned Recognition News: Labyrinth secures major DfT grant

    Labyrinth secures major DfT grant to enhance Earned Recognition offering

Labyrinth Logistics Consulting is delighted to have won a £25k Grant from the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the T-TRIG grant award for Transport Innovation projects.  Labyrinth is using these funds to establish the feasibility of a multi user compliance dashboard that all hauliers can access to provide compliance information demonstrating their company’s status against the DVSA’s Earned Recognition (ER) targets. Details of the award can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-invests-over-25-million-in-new-technologies-and-ideas-to-futureproof-uks-transport-sector

Labyrinth’s MD, Ruth Waring FCILT said “We are thrilled to have secured this funding, which will make a big difference to our ability to deliver benefits to our existing client base and beyond. By publishing the results of this study we will be helping hauliers big and small reap the benefits of being early adopters of ER in 2017.” Waring added that Labyrinth is keen to hear from companies interested in becoming early adopters of the ER scheme, as well as software providers looking to link to the dashboard.

The DVSA Earned Recognition scheme, expected to launch in early 2017, has the potential to transform the compliance environment for transport operators, encouraging them to embed quality compliance into their day to day business by reducing the burden of inspections for operators who obey the rules.  For the industry and Regulator to realise the full benefits that this change of approach can deliver, the systems and interfaces that will enable evidence to be visible and transparent are a vital part of the picture.

Labyrinth is using the DfT grant to develop a prototype dashboard within Labyrinth’s transport compliance web application, SilkThread®, to prove the concept of information moving seamlessly between tacho and maintenance compliance systems and a Red/Yellow/Amber/Green display facility, that will demonstrate the company’s status against the ER targets and generate automated compliance status emails for the DVSA.

Labyrinth is currently establishing the technical and commercial feasibility of developing a multi-user dashboard populated by Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs) for ALL hauliers to be able to access so that they can make use of the ER scheme and provide senior managers with a single compliance dashboard. This has benefits for hauliers as it enables the compliant operator to demonstrate this to then DVSA and, in return, to be “left alone”, and major benefits for the DVSA as they will attract more ER users, enabling them to direct scarce resource at the serially non-compliant.

Using published open access APIs to integrate between specialist systems is established practice in many industries, including finance, e-commerce, project management and sales; however this approach is still being established in the fleet management, compliance and transport industries.

Labyrinth is in a unique position to work with the all stakeholders to deliver this dashboard functionality within their existing O Licence compliance software, SilkThread®. SilkThread is an online self-audit system and is a currently short-listed in the 2016 CILT Awards for Excellence in the Information Management Category.

Labyrinth would appreciate operator input through this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EarnedRecognitionSurvey




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Logistics Recruitment: Labyrinth launches a fresh approach

Labyrinth Recruitment

Logistics Recruitment: Labyrinth launches a fresh approach

For the past few years now the hot topic of conversation within the transport and logistics industry has been the skills shortage. There have been a number of seminars and debates relating to the issues and in most instances the main focus has been on external factors effecting the industry rather than the internal ones.

Take the driver shortage, the main issues highlighted have been around roadside facilities, the introduction of the CPC and the cost of the gaining an LGV licence. However, Government figures show that the number of drivers taking and passing their LGV tests since 2010 has grown year on year. In the period of April 2014-March 2015, 55,161 people took their LGV test of which 30,574 passed (www.gov.uk). There is also some interesting recent analysis on the subject from Kirsten Tisdale FCILT here: http://www.aricia.ltd.uk/Temp/ThereIsNoShortage120116.pdf.

So, why is there such a shortage?

Having previously worked within a transport operation and as a logistics recruiter, Labyrinth’s expert in this area, Jennifer Dixon, believes many of the issues companies face can be linked to the effectiveness of companies’ own recruitment processes. For example, newly qualified drivers are often overlooked for positions as they don’t meet the usual criteria and they don’t have the necessary experience. However, companies should be looking at ways to utilise these drivers to help develop a skilled workforce and reduce the skills gap. Through all of the compliance, legislation, rules and regulations, it’s no wonder recruitment is at the bottom of a long list of priorities but there does seem to be a distinct lack of time and resource allocated to the recruitment and training process. The importance of having a targeted recruitment strategy shouldn’t be overlooked. A recruitment strategy should work hand in hand with the overall business plan and is essential to the successful growth and development of the organisation as a whole.

Labyrinth Logistics were recently asked by a client to assist on a project to improve their approach to driver recruitment across their network. They were feeling the effects of the ‘driver shortage’ and wanted to look at new ways to attract and retain drivers. We reviewed their recruitment practises, highlighted areas for improvement and worked with them to improve their end-to-end processes.  We offered training and support at each stage of the project and they now have the foundations on which to build a long-term recruitment strategy.

As a result of working on this project and using our many years of experience in the transport, logistics and recruitment industries, Labyrinth Logistics has developed and launched a Recruitment Review & Support Service to add to our growing list of Consultancy Services. The aim of the of which, is to understand the business requirements, identify skills gaps, and develop and implement cost effective recruitment solutions to suit the operational needs. With the focus on candidate attraction, recruitment, engagement and retention we can offer an impartial solution that benefits the company and works alongside the overall business strategy.

While the industry associations such as the FTA, RHA and CILT deal with the external issues, Labyrinth believes every company can look internally and adopt manageable recruitment solutions to avoid becoming a victim of the ‘skills shortage’. In such a reactive industry transport and logistics companies need to make sure that they are proactive when it comes to recruitment and training. After all, employees at all levels are ultimately the ones who will be instrumental to the success or failure of the operation and by making them the focus and investing the right time and resource from the start companies can ensure they meet the short-term and long-term objectives of the business.


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Revised Statutory Documents pave the way for a new operator ways of working in 2016

Revised Statutory Documents pave the way for a new operator ways of working in 2016

Senior traffic commissioner Beverley Bell has just published a revised set of statutory documents covering key areas of operator licensing and decision making; they come into force on 1st January 2016. These documents are designed to have two parallel purposes; to clarify the expectations of the Traffic Commissioners when it comes to Operator and vocational Driver conduct, and at the same time making decision-making clearer for the internal teams working with the TCs thus enabling devolved decision-making.

The Labyrinth team has reviewed these documents in detail and can report the following key points from the perspective of the operators:

1. For the first time, there is a clear a role description for transport managers and what they are expected to do;
2. A new approach to transport manager working hours;
3. New guidance on driver conduct, including case studies that operators can use to train and educate employees.

“The changes to the statutory documents are designed to streamline processes, extend delegation to our staff and give better guidance so that decisions can be made more quickly,” states Mrs Bell.

“These changes will help to deliver a more efficient and effective licensing regime for compliant operators.”

And she adds that the objective throughout has been to meet the traffic commissioners’ strategic objectives of reducing the burden on compliant operators, targeting only those who put road safety at risk, and achieving more consistent outcomes when dealing with professional drivers’ conduct.

 “We have also introduced case studies to provide practical examples of what action can be taken against drivers. This will benefit operators who are proactive in training and managing drivers who are found to be offending.”

Labyrinth has updated its online transport compliance self-audit tool, SilkThread ®, to reflect all these changes. More information about the product can be found at www.silkthread.co.uk.

For those operators keen to understand how it affects them, here is an overview of the relevant changes.

Statutory Document 1:  Good Repute and Fitness


This document clearly sets out the requirements for Good Repute for Transport Managers. It gives guidance, with significant detail, on how a TM might lose Good Repute based on convictions and other issues, including conduct. Serious offences resulting in loss of repute are defined and more than one road transport offence will result in loss of repute. It also states the way that a Period of Grace works – operators are required to advise the TC if a TM is no longer in position, or has lost his/her repute, and the TC can grant a period of up to 6 months for a replacement to be found, but this is not a guaranteed period. It also gives clear guidance on how O licence applications from Phoenix Companies (sometimes called “Pre-pack”) should be treated.

Statutory Document 2:  Finance


This document is aimed more at the internal staff than the operator, however it is a useful document for operators to read and understand prior to submitting evidence of the required financial standing. This covers what does and does not constitute evidence of appropriate financial standing and can help operators submit their records in the most appropriate way. It also covers the need to provide consistent evidence of sufficient funds rather than a snapshot.

Statutory Document 3: Transport Managers


This document provides a very useful insight into what the TCs expect of the role of the Directors and Transport Managers. It provides clarity on the definition of an external and internal transport manager and the related expectations, and what constitutes a “Genuine Link” to an operator.

This document also reminds us that a transport manager must possess more than good repute, a qualification and sufficient hours to meet the statutory duty. S/he must be capable of actually managing the transport operation effectively. That may include an assessment not only of knowledge but other facts such as knowledge or confidence to manage. The document also suggested what TCs expect as a starting point in terms of hours worked by a transport manager, which range from two to four hours a week for a fleet of two vehicles or fewer, to full time with additional assistance for operations running more than 50 trucks. Details are shown below.

New Hours requirements for Transport Managers

Motor Vehicles

Previous hours

New hours

2 or less



3 to 5



6 to 10



11 to 14



15 to 29

Full time


30 and above

Full time + additional assistance required

30- Full Time

Above 50


Full time + additional assistance required

Additional hours may be required for trailers



It also covers, for the first time, General Responsibilities (pages 14-16) which is a helpful guide to what a Transport Manager needs to do to discharge his/her responsibilities as part of the Undertakings.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has therefore identified the following non-exhaustive list of the types of activity which might be expected of a transport manager:

  • to manage, audit and review compliance systems to ensure that they are effective;
  • to review any shortcomings such as prohibitions and/or annual test failures;
  • to ensure that relevant changes are notified in accordance with operator licence requirements;
  • to keep up to date on relevant changes in standards and legislation;

The following areas are identified as key:

  • Drivers – administration
  • Drivers –management
  • Drivers - operations
  • Vehicle – administration
  • Vehicle - management

 The details which accompany this list are a vital read for all Transport Managers. It also covers the responsibilities of the Directors of an operators, who are expected to “Supervise and monitor the actions of the Transport Manager” (see point 28).

Finally it covers the “starting point” for assessing the capacity to exercise full and effective management submissions.

Statutory Document 4: Operating Centres


This document provides useful definitions for the following key phrases relevant to the Undertakings:

  • “Stable establishment”
  • “Normally kept” (relating to vehicles)
  • “Suitable” premises

It also covers guidance on advertising, addresses and accessibility of operators to the TC ensuring letters can be answered in a timely manner, and how the objections process works.

Statutory Document 5: Legal entities


 This document provides useful guidance on what constitutes different legal entities from the perspective of O licensing, and lays out Directors’ responsibilities in section 13, including referencing the Controlling Mind and what constitutes a Director.

Statutory Document 6: Vocational Driver conduct


This document covers the standards expected of a professional driver, and includes the following key phrase (point 45):

Conduct & fitness: Drivers are expected to fully acquaint themselves with the relevant legislation before undertaking employment as a professional driver. Drivers cannot evade their personal responsibility by stating that they bowed to their employer’s orders on issues related to their obligations under the regulations.

Details of all other expectations of professional conduct are included in detail.

Further Statutory documents

Further guidance, including that on impounding of vehicles, can be found at


Further information on Labyrinth’s online transport compliance self-audit tool, SilkThread ®, can be found at www.silkthread.co.uk.

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