Case Study - London Borough of Hackney

Profile

Company Name: London Borough of Hackney
Business Sector: Public Sector
Postal Address: Fleet Management Unit, Keltan House, 89 -115 Mare Street, Hackney
Postcode: E8 4RU
Fleet Size Overall: 350 + approx 40 items of road registered plant
HGV: Approx 100 some O licence exempt
LGV: Approx 250 including welfare buses
Company Cars: 7
Private vehicles used for business purposes: 467

COMPANY OVERVIEW


The London Borough of Hackney (the Council) is an inner London borough situated to the east of the capital. The London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Haringey and Islington border it.

Hackney stretches from Liverpool Street in the south to Stamford Hill in the north and from River Lea in the east to Finsbury Park in the west. The London Borough of Hackney comprises the areas of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. These were originally separate municipal boroughs but were amalgamated in 1964 to form London Borough of Hackney. The borough has a diverse population of mixed culture who are continuously expecting high quality services from the Council and its Contractors.

Partners.        The London Borough of Hackney delivers its services to the community through three key independent not-for-profit organisations.

Hackney Homes - was launched in April 2006 and is responsible for managing council homes in Hackney. This includes managing council housing, collecting council housing rental, repairing and maintaining council homes.  They are a not-for-profit organisation which means they are focused on providing services to the community. They are 100% owned and controlled by Hackney Council. The Council will continue to be involved in housing and is committed to the strategic management of social housing.

The organisation is an arm's length management company (ALMO) - a model that has been successfully adopted by a number of other leading local authorities to improve housing and service to the community.  They are committed to offering the highest level of customer service and developing a vibrant and exciting organisation.

The Learning Trust - is the not-for-profit company which runs all the education services for the London Borough of Hackney. They are responsible for Hackney schools, day nurseries, play service and adult education.

The Learning Trust delivers educational services to adult learners and over 27,000 pupils in more than 70 schools, nurseries, and playcentres in the London Borough of Hackney. The Learning Trust is the UK's first private, and importantly, not-for profit company to take over the responsibility of running all education services for an entire borough.

Team Hackney - is Hackney's local strategic partnership which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone in the borough by bringing together the key people in the public, private, community and voluntary sectors. Its aim is to deliver the goals of the Community Strategy - Hackney's ten-year vision.

To support delivery of the Community Strategy, the partnership has agreed with Government a three year Local Area Agreement (LAA). 

NATURE OF OPERATION AND DRIVING ACTIVITIES

The London Borough of Hackney believes that the Health and Safety of its employees is the product of responsible and effective management and of an informed and knowledgeable workforce.  A well understood consultative process supports the interaction between management and employees.  The Mayor and Chief Executive have jointly signed a general statement of Health and Safety policy.

General Statement of Health & Safety Policy

The London Borough of Hackney attaches great importance to safeguarding the health and safety of its employees, visitors and anyone else who might be affected by its undertakings.  Our aim is to comply fully with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and with all other health and safety legislation relevant to our business.

We view our staff as our most important asset and therefore will seek not only to prevent injury and ill health, but also to positively promote good health.  Our goal is to minimize accidents and ill health by establishing and maintaining safe working practices, by providing safe working environments and equipment and by providing training and information.

The assessment and subsequent control of health and safety risks is not only a legal responsibility but also good management practice which will prevent work-related accidents and ill health, increase staff morale and motivation, and lead to a reduction in unnecessary financial losses to the organisation.  Core Management Team members are responsible for establishing arrangements to carry out risk assessments within their directorates and for acting on the results.

Health and safety is a fundamental management responsibility, of equal importance to other management functions.  All managers will ensure that everything reasonably practicable to prevent injury and work related ill health is done and that action is taken to discover the cause of problems and implement preventative measures.

However, management action alone will not be sufficient to achieve effective implementation of this policy and improve health and safety performance.  Achieving high standards of health and safety at work requires the co-operation and commitment of all Council staff.   All employees will act responsibly, do all they can to prevent injury to themselves, their colleagues and members of the public, and always report health and safety concerns to their managers.  

We will actively promote the creation of a positive health and safety culture by establishing an effective consultative framework with our staff and their representatives.  A framework of performance standards will be developed which will enable us to measure our health and safety performance.  Both corporate and directorate health and safety action plans will also be developed, which will help us achieve specific objectives.

We will ensure that our partners and contractors employed to work with us are competent and that they conduct their activities so as not to expose themselves, our staff, or members of the public to risks to health and safety. 

This Policy will be communicated to all our employees via the Intranet and in team briefings.  It is the responsibility of all members of staff to read, understand and comply with its contents.  Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who flagrantly disregards safety instructions or approved safe working practices and in consequence puts at risk either his/her safety or that of others. 

As Mayor and Chief Executive Officer of the London Borough of Hackney, we fully accept the responsibility for formulating, developing and implementing the Health & Safety Policy.  At Hackney we wish to improve on our health and safety record; it is up to all of us to work together in order to achieve that end.

               Jules Pipe                                            Tim Shields
The Mayor of Hackney                          Chief Executive Officer

The business activities carried out by London Borough of Hackney are wide-ranging and include:

Refuse collection; network management; town planning;
Sustainability; libraries; parks & open spaces; environmental health;
Highways maintenance; education; residential care homes;
Housing; leisure centres; and some other specialist activities.

Vehicles are used to support a varied range of services from waste collection, street cleansing, building maintenance, parks and open spaces maintenance and the movements of people with special needs.

As the result of its widespread activities, London Borough of Hackney manages complex workplace transport arrangements.  Its health and safety management system affects London Borough of Hackney employees; contractors employed by London Borough of Hackney; customers; and visitors within London Borough of Hackney sites.  London Borough of Hackney focuses on managing the risks associated with workplace transport.  

ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

The Council is made up of seven directorates; Chief Executives Directorate, Legal & Democratic Services, Neighborhoods & Regeneration, Community Services, Customer & Corporate Services, Finance & Resources, and Children & Young People.  The consultative process for the management of health and safety and for consultation on health and safety issues with employees' representatives is shown in the diagram below.  This process enables the London Borough of Hackney Council to deliver its health and safety targets in co-operation with its employees and contractors.

Health & Safety Management and Consultative Process

Health and safety management flowchart

Abbreviation:
Core Management Team - CMT

The Council recognised that the traditional management processes for controlling the use of vehicles for both Council owned and "grey fleet vehicles" by its employees were no longer relevant to the complexity of the transport resource.  As a result, the Council set up the Fleet Management Unit to coordinate the Council's management processes for fleet transport and to ensure that this resource was delivered efficiently and in compliance with legislation.  The Fleet Management Unit is a key department within the Finance Directorate of the Council.  It is charged with providing cost effective and efficient Fleet operations which have far reaching effects on all directorates and services provided by the Council and its partners as a whole unit.  The Fleet Management Unit provides advice & guidance to the various departments operating vehicles and drivers and also holds the Operators Licence on behalf of the Council.

The key service priorities are:

  • The provision of a cost effective and efficient fleet of vehicles
  • Management of the Councils Operators Licence.
  • Improved customer service standards
  • Providing staff with high quality equipment to ensure that the job is performed proficiently, and within a safe working environment.
  • To adhere to the Council's 5 year Transportation strategy, by ensuring that its own vehicles are of the highest standard. This will not only ensure financial benefits but also assist in improving the environment, health and safety on Hackney's roads. 

WORK RELATED ROAD SAFETY POLICY & PROCEDURES

The London Borough of Hackney acknowledges that many of their employees are involved in driving as part of their daily tasks and is committed to ensuring that such tasks can be carried out safely without undue risks to the health and safety of those employees, passengers or members of the public.

The Policy objectives will be met by the following:

  • Selecting appropriate drivers.
  • Planning safer journeys for fleet drivers.
  • Provision of well maintained fleet vehicles.
  • Providing guidance for legal compliance.
  • Providing adequate information and training.
  • Monitoring of Essential/Casual car drivers.
  • Other supporting measures.

In addition, the policy is intended to:

  • Assist managers in adopting a proactive approach to managing occupational road risk.
  • Assist Managers in ensuring the Council complies with its legal duties.
  • Inform staff whose job involves driving on safety measures whilst driving.

WORK RELATED ROAD SAFETY GUIDANCE FOR DRIVERS

The over-arching safety policy document is currently under incremental development.  It is supported by a series of generic guidance documents which clarify the Council's intentions and policy in matters of detail.

The London Borough of Hackney has not centralised its vehicle fleets.  As a result, the Fleet Management Unit can only provide the over-arching guidance required to deliver efficiency and legal compliance.  Each user's requirements are quite different and responsibility is delegated to the appropriate management level for detailed procedures relevant to particular equipments or procedures.  The Fleet Management Unit provides access to all guidance notes on the Council's intranet.  These are available to all end user managers who can apply the guidance flexibly to their own requirements.

Specific procedures include:

  • For new employees a corporate induction, directorate induction and local induction is done. For Waste Services this includes safety procedures to be used at the local tipping sites.
  • Driver Licence checks
  • Training (which can vary from user to user)
  • Recording drivers hours.
  • Daily vehicle inspections.
  • Vehicle defect reporting procedures.
  • Vehicle maintenance scheduling and records.
  • Dealing with road traffic accidents.

SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF PROCEDURES

All London Borough of Hackney managers have a responsibility to build safety into all their decision-making and to ensure that their staff (and volunteers) understand the responsibility which they have for their own and others safety.

This includes their safety and the safety of others whilst driving or using specialist equipment fitted to their vehicles in the course of their employment. Operational Managers must ensure that the following steps are taken as part of their day to day management of vehicles and drivers:

Selection of Appropriate Drivers

  • Check that all drivers are fit to drive (e.g. their eyesight is good etc). This should be an inherent part of the pre-employment screening process. Appropriate surveillance of driver heath (including stress, fitness, attitudes etc should continue beyond recruitment.
  • Ensure drivers are assessed and their licences checked regularly.
  • That all drivers, including agency drivers, are given sufficient induction information and training to enable them to keep themselves safe throughout the course of their journey. This should include vehicle and any specialist body equipment information, operating / loading / unloading / parking procedures for Hackney and customer premises and any hazardous load information.

Planning Safer Journeys

  • Adequate planning of the task to be performed, the best route to take, the mode of transport to use and estimated duration. Also, that planning is discussed with the drivers so that they can understand the importance of safety on the roads.
  • All journeys are timed sensibly to avoid driver fatigue, that drivers can take breaks somewhere safe and that drivers hours legislation for HGV and PCV vehicles is adhered to.
  • That drivers have sufficient time for journeys and do not feel pressurised into completing them faster by either speeding or taking risks.
  • Provide advice on route planning and circulate information on hazards reported on regular routes.
  • Ensure that all drivers are aware of what action to take if they feel tired.
  • Monitor and, if necessary, restrict total hours/miles driven to ensure that drivers do not suffer from fatigue.
  • That drivers understand the dangers of using hands free mobile phones whilst driving and that the use of hand held mobile phone use while driving is illegal.
  • Where a driver is inexperienced with a particular route or vehicle, allow them extra time to complete their journey safely.
  • In bad weather conditions make every effort to reduce journeys to a minimum.

Provision of Well Specified & Maintained Fleet Vehicles.

  • That details of any fleet vehicle used is notified to the Fleet Management Unit and the Insurance department.
  • That Fleet vehicles have been appropriately specified for the tasks employed and adequate safety features to reduce the likelihood of accidents and consequences if accidents do occur.
  • Fleet vehicles must, at a minimum, be serviced in line with the manufacturers' recommendations or as advised by the Fleet Management Unit.
  • That vehicles used for Council business have a valid road fund licence and M.O.T certificate and are covered by appropriate business use insurance.
  • That all drivers are aware that they should never exceed the maximum gross vehicle weight of the vehicle or the safe working load of ancillary lifting equipment such as cranes, platform tail lifts or bin lifts.
  • Ensure goods and equipment carried in a vehicle are properly secured.

Provision of Information and Training

Drivers must be provided with adequate information and training to enable them to keep themselves, their passengers and load safe. This includes appropriate induction, the use of the driver's handbook and guidance notes.

The Fleet Management Unit produces concise Guidance Notes which cover the detailed procedures for the management of vehicles and drivers.  These are made available to all managers within London Borough of Hackney on the Council Intranet.  The Fleet Management Units web page is designed to provide easy reference access for managers for this type of information.  The Fleet Management Unit has identified that there is currently a shortfall in making this information readily accessible to drivers as not all of them have access to an Intranet portal.  Consideration is being given to the production of a detailed vehicle handbook for all Council employees who drive for work.

AUDITING AND REVIEW

The Fleet Management Unit is tasked to visit its various client departments on a regular basis to monitor performance against standards.  The frequency of these visits depends on the number of vehicles operated by the department to be visited.  The aim of the visits is to check and assist end users with compliance.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES

The Performance Measures laid on departments are focussed on compliance.  An example of an audit check is given below:


Audit Check - Customer Visits

 

Department: XXXX

Compliant?

1. Defect reporting procedure in place?

Yes/No

2. Driver to vehicle identification log in place?

Yes/No

3. Confirm vehicle/s in use by department .

Yes/No

4. How are vehicle procured? Are they due change?

Yes/No

5. Vehicle set up on Fleetmaster?

Yes/No

6. Vehicle schedule set up in Fleetmaster?

Yes/No

7. Service regime adhered to? Who pays?

 

8. Awareness of FMU web page / bulletin?

Yes/No

9. Awareness of FMG accident management?

Yes/No

10. Driver licence checks - system in place?

Yes/No

11. Driver CPC - progress if applicable

Yes/No

12. Insurance cover - are all vehicles detailed?

Yes/No

13. Awareness of graduated fixed penalty

Yes/No

14. Use of fuel cards - management system in place?

Yes/No

 

I / We confirm that the above items have been discussed and understood as at the above date.

ACCIDENT REDUCTION

The Fleet Management Unit has recently set up a contract with an external partner to deliver improved management information on the implications, costs and causes of accidents to the Council's fleet and those of its partners.  Further information on progress with this contract will be provided as it becomes available.

FINANCIAL AND OTHER BENEFITS

The Fleet Management Unit is in the process of refining the existing accounting processes which are purely cost and payment focussed in order to develop a system which provided detailed analysis and management information.  The intention is to achieve a situation where senior management can be made more aware of the costs associated with the fleet and can be put in a position to deliver more informed management decisions.

The current costs of vehicle damage within the London Borough of Hackney is shown below:

LESSONS LEARNED

The London Borough of Hackney is aware that it needs to give greater priority and focus to the management processes which are responsible for the use of transport within the Council's work.  The Fleet Management Unit and the Health and Safety department are now working closely together to ensure corporate accountability throughout all levels of management in the London Borough of Hackney.  There is strong support from the Council Board for this process.

CURRENT AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

Telematics.  The Fleet Management Unit has initiated a tender process for the procurement of a telematics system to assess and improve driver behaviour and to maximise efficiencies of vehicle and driver resources.  The Council believe that savings can be realised by a reduction in fuel costs, vehicle repair costs and 'smarter' more efficient utilisation of Council vehicles. 

The initial goal is to identify a system which can provide a complete solution to the Council's requirements for an ability to track mission critical vehicles and to communicate with them en route. As a future second stage to the procurement, plans may be the integration of data provision to the LBH and Hackney Homes call centres via Microsoft CRM (or other software that facilitates integration).  This will allow the call centres to answer any public queries directly the calls are made to them.  For instance, such an enquiry might involve bus collection times or queries on bin collection times.  But this will depend on the in-service success of the first tranche of telematics. 

LBH consulted its "user stakeholders" to assess their interest in the project and to clarify their requirements.  All expressed interest in the project.  "User Stakeholders" have assessed the benefits of telematics to them as follows:

Welfare.  The main advantage was identified as service efficiency.  It is essential for service users to be collected from home and to arrive at their destination on time so that centre activities with various professionals are not disrupted. The installation of the tracker system would enable staff and vehicle activities to be monitored both by real time on screen and by way of exception reports. Vehicle delays could analysed and actions taken to remedy failings.  For instance, vehicles running on time would reduce the need to pay overtime.  The system would have the ability to use an in-vehicle screen that also supports GPS technology, to relay messages from the office to the vehicle/crew and for the driver to respond once the vehicle is at rest reducing any distraction while on the move and reducing the need to use a mobile phone.  In a passenger transport situation, it will not eliminate the need to have a phone on the vehicle entirely, as it is needed for direct emergency response to emergency services.

Hackney Homes currently have their own 'tracking' solution in place but this does not include the functionality of allowing communication and routing.  It has enabled supervisors and managers to obtain information regarding the precise location of Hackney Homes vehicles, thus enabling a more responsive and improved service.
Advantages of the system include:

  • Allocation of new jobs to the nearest operative - With over 50,000 repairs reported per annum, knowing where the best located operative is to respond to a repair enables Hackney Homes to provide a more responsive service to residents, whilst also saving fuel and time.
  • Improved Health and Safety - Knowing the exact location of each our fleet vehicles is of significant benefit for lone workers especially, should any of our drivers require immediate attention.
  • Improving Appointments to Customers - The tracking system enhances customer service by enabling the Call Centre to confirm to residents awaiting repairs, the status of their appointment by being able to provide a more accurate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA). With the exact vehicle location readily available, we can answer the customers query within seconds, providing a superior customer service.
  • Improve job ticket allocation - This enables management to examine how supervisors allocate repairs with the vehicle tracking system used to analyse routes taken by operatives. Subsequently, the system can provide useful information in obtaining both the fastest and shortest routes available, therefore realising savings in both fuel and time.
  • Lower insurance premiums - The Council and Hackney Homes fleet of vehicles are insured through a self-insuring policy with non-third party damage payable from its own funds, i.e. 5k policy excess. In addition to demonstrating we are making savings by driving fewer miles and being more efficient in the way we allocate certain types of work, we are also able to see the location of our vehicle were it to be stolen. It may also enable the Council to make direct savings from its self-insured scheme or to make a strong case for a reduction in the annual insurance premium.
  • Employees taking vehicles home at night - Hackney Homes permits its employees to take their vehicles home in the evening, but not for personal or private use. The tracking system provides both accountability and added security and will therefore not expose Hackney Homes or the Council to insurance claims were this to be breached.
  • Proof of parking ticket validity - Should an operative dispute a penalty charge for illegal parking, the vehicle tracking system can immediately support whether the charge is valid by showing the precise movement of the vehicle.

The overall benefits to be achieved by the insertion of telematics are:

Benefits Realisation

 

Area

Example

Reduction in fuel use & CO2 emissions

Better monitoring of vehicle use will invariably minimize unauthorized mileages / minimize misuse and abuse. Potential fuel savings in the order of 3 to 5%

Improved performance

Will enable better more efficient use of vehicles.
'Exception' reporting will save any needless administration.
Will facilitate better / acceptable means of depot to vehicle communication.
Enhanced routing of vehicles

Improved service access

More robust service delivery substantiated by data.
Enhanced efficiencies on service delivery
Protects the Authority from any potentially fraudulent claims regarding the use of the Fleet

Lone worker protection

In keeping with the councils obligations to its employees the technology can incorporate lone worker protection. A simple device which utilizes the communication capabilities to incorporate a 'panic' button device which can be given to employees who may be isolated for any given periods of time.

Resource Implications

The implementation will require drivers to be made aware of the technology that is fitted to the vehicles they are driving. There may be implications for these drivers if the data received highlights unauthorized use or misuse of the vehicles.
Negotiations may need to be had between the user departments and Union Representatives prior to implementation.
It should be noted that this equipment may also protect drivers from allegations made by the Public regarding their driving or levels of service delivery.

 

Improved Safety for Cyclists.  The London Borough of Hackney is carrying out a trial on equipment designed to warn cyclists that a vehicle is turning left.  The trial will see the equipment fitted to its 3 largest vehicles (Marks 2 Hook Lifts and the Big Bite RCV) for a trial to see how effective it is.  If successful, the London Borough of Hackney will consider rolling it out to other vehicles, especially its 3 axle RCVs. 

 

 

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