Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service fire engines

Mid and West Wales Fire & Rescue Service switches to DAVIS

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - 08:39
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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) with over 1,300 drivers has switched to the fully automated DAVIS compliance platform from Derby-based Licence Check with what it describes as ‘excellent results’.

MAWWFRS is responsible for providing public safety information, prevention and protection programmes, and emergency response cover for mid and west Wales – an area covering almost 4,500 square miles or around two-thirds of Wales.

MAWWFThe Service runs 58 fire stations with 1,350 staff comprising 400 full-time firefighters, 709 on-call firefighters, 22 joint fire control staff and a further 220 support staff, operating a fleet of fire engines, light goods vehicles plus company and pool cars.

With a mission statement to ‘make mid and west Wales a safer place to live’, compliance is a hugely important issue for the Service and it came to the fore when it needed to switch from its existing supplier last autumn.

The timing was perfect as the Service was able to take advantage of a new tender award by the Welsh Government Commercial Procurement team for automated fleet compliance services, which had been awarded to Licence Check as sole provider in late 2022.

As a result, any public authority in Wales, including the NHS, local authorities, housing associations and blue light services, can now take advantage of the framework agreement and select Licence Check for fully automated fleet compliance services including licence checking.

In a very short space of time, all MAWWFRS staff have been migrated to the Licence Check’s award-winning cloud-based driver and vehicle compliance management solution, DAVIS, signing electronic mandates to allow fully automated licence checking via the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) Access to Driver Data service.

Sarah Davies, Health & Safety and Welfare Officer at MAWWFRS, has been responsible for introducing DAVIS across the Service and she praised the ease of the implementation process.

“Our account manager, Joe Meakin, and the IT support team have been extremely useful; they have been especially quick in responding to my queries and very helpful throughout the whole set up process.

“Via DAVIS and the e-Permission method, we were able to email every staff member with a link to the driving licence check mandate which they then could sign electronically and allowed a licence check to be carried out immediately.

“The fact that DAVIS is a real-time digital checking service is very important to us as it allows us to check and verify the status of our drivers’ licences in a matter of seconds. This is vital to us as we have so many operational staff who may be called out on urgent driving tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across a huge area of Wales.

“So, it is very important that we know that those staff are entitled to drive the class of vehicle they have to drive as quickly as possible in what are often emergency situations,” she said.

“Our training delivery instructors really rate the new automated service as they are able to instantly check the status of staff they are training, whether they have a Category C licence which entitles them to drive a fire engine on a public road, for example. It makes their lives so much easier,” she added.

Sarah Davies said another major benefit of DAVIS was the report summaries it could generate on-demand. “Now it is very easy to see the number of HGV and other classes of drivers we have, who they are and their licence status. Our previous system couldn’t produce these very useful summaries.

“And with new recruits, every new driver has to undergo a driving assessment and submit to licence checking before they join the Service to speed up the recruitment process.

“We have found DAVIS very easy to operate with very little or no additional training required,” she added.

Licence Check, part of the Ebbon Group’s compliance division, Ebbon Compliance, was officially confirmed in the latest published DVLA annual figures as the UK’s number one licence checking business after it recorded a total of 851,092 licence checks in a 12-month period, the highest of any licence checking business in the UK and a 28% increase over the previous year.

Managing Director, Keith Allen, said: “Given the nature of MAWWFRS’s business which is rapid response 24/7 service with a high number of emergency calls including not just firefighting but road traffic accidents and flooding, occupational driving obviously poses one of the highest risks to the Service, so it makes perfect sense to go down a fully automated compliance route,” he said.

“As a result, the Service is seeing a number of real operational benefits through the use of DAVIS to automate its driving licence checking processes and manage its driving risk more effectively and efficiently,” he added.

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