John Hix

FORS now has 5050 members in what is its tenth year of operation.

Speaking to MT at the organisation’s annual conference held in Birmingham this week (16 October), FORS director John Hix said the scheme would reach 5,200 members by the year's end.

Hix said that there were now more members within the scheme at silver and gold level than there had ever been thanks to a culture that encourages progression.

"We want operators to go from the baseline bronze level, to feel comfortable with that, and then progress to silver and gold,” he said

FORS version five will go live in January next year and now includes a focus on air quality and mitigating terrorism.

Hix said: “What we’ve really tried to do in this iteration of the standard is to make it far clearer."

The scheme has grown from being London centric, to having members across Britain, and even continental Europe and one in the Middle East.

Expansion into Northern Ireland is currently in the pipeline too.

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Earlier this year the the RHA and FTA described FORS, in its current form, as a monopoly that prevented organisations such as theirs from providing rival schemes.

Asked if FORS would welcome competition, Hix said: “We’re currently in a dialogue with at least two organisations to join FORS as certification bodies. We’d be perfectly happy for any trade association to go down that route.”

While FORS is not a legal requirement, Hix believes there is value for hauliers in joining FORS.

“They are meeting legal minimum standards but the whole ethos of FORS is that we raise the bar across all aspects of their operations.”

“It’s all about the management of drivers and we’ve got the environmental requirement so it’s far more than saying this is about O-Licence compliance or this is about meeting minimum legal standards, this is about best practice,” he said.