In conversation with FORS Concession Director, Ian Henderson

14 Nov 2022

Ian Henderson and his team at Sopra Steria have been at the helm of FORS since January this year. We caught up with Ian to gauge progress so far and discover what the future holds.

You’ve overseen the FORS concession for just over ten months now. What changes have been implemented so far?

Ever since taking on the concession, our mission has been to make FORS more accessible, more transparent and more customer-centric. Therefore, we haven’t shied away from acting on the feedback of the FORS community when looking at how we transform the scheme.

For instance, we heard via the FORS Helpline that operators can find it hard to upload their fleet register when booking an audit (as per requirement M6 of The Standard). We’ve made the change, so operators now have the choice to either show their fleet register at the time of audit or upload it, and the Helpline has seen a drastic decrease in calls to do with this issue. Additionally, in our Accredited Operator Survey, 22% of respondents were unaware of our Affinity Partner offers. We’ve now revamped the Affinity Partner pages on our website so operators can easily find the discounts available for useful added-value services, alongside refreshing the look and feel of our homepage.

We’re also working on the ‘bigger picture’ issues, including the process of gaining accreditation itself. Our Future of Accreditation project considers the changes we can make to administer the Standard in a more seamless and straightforward way. Under the same initiative, we’ve launched a stakeholder engagement programme that will foster closer collaboration with the industry and be closer to our customers.

Our customer success team has also seen significant investment this year. As a result, the team is empowered to make more outbound calls and ultimately deliver the customer-focused service our accredited operators expect and deserve.

It’s certainly been a busy ten months, but I’m excited to say that we’re just getting started. We know there are more improvements to be made and the team is motivated to drive the evolution of FORS still further.

Where is FORS heading?

Our vision for 2023 is to keep progressing FORS towards being an even stronger ‘business enabler’ to accredited operators. This means we’re always thinking of the operator first and what we can do to better the scheme for them. We want to make things as easy as possible for our operators to drive safer, smarter and greener, and we want to be a trusted partner of their organisation.

Much of this change will be driven by the Future of Accreditation project I mentioned earlier. The initiative has several goals, including building regulatory and enforcement agency confidence in the FORS Standard and auditing process, simplifying accreditation and establishing clear accreditation routes for different sectors.

Operators can also look forward to updates and improvements to the FORS training offering in the coming months, including a full technical and creative redesign of the FORS Practitioner programme. All the while, we’ll of course be looking at how we can grow both geographically and into new sectors, collaborate with the industry and our partners (including CLOCS), and keep the service running smoothly for the FORS community.

In short, watch this space!

What makes FORS stand out in the market?

We’re proud that FORS remains the accreditation scheme of choice for c.5,000 operators nationwide. Since its inception over 15 years ago, FORS has established an excellent relationship among operators, specifiers, and contractors as the benchmark for best practice in training, safety, efficiency, and environmental protection. This legacy and experience give us a real edge in the market.

FORS also benefits from the unrivalled advice and guidance of the Governance and Standards Advisory Group (GSAG), a mix of senior representatives from fleet operators, specifiers, industry bodies and authorities across a range of businesses and organisations. It is this wealth of industry knowledge that informs the development and growth of FORS and sets us apart from other initiatives in the sector.