The declaration from TC Kevin Rooney in regard to the auditing process of FORS customers. That must have sent a shockwave through the industry and in particular, FORS. It is a pretty bold statement but when you look further in to it, he is calling in to question the audit process and quality of auditors.
So, is FORS ‘fit for purpose’ or is it something else that needs some attention? What do you think? Are you a FORS member? What is your view of it?
As a current member of FORS, Practitioner and former auditor, I feel I am fairly well placed to make some observations. On the whole, I think FORS is an excellent scheme, it gives the transport industry across all sectors guidance and support on how to be a good operator. But does that in itself make a good operator? Does the audit process make you a good operator… Or do you make yourself a good operator?
Simply coming out with ‘not fit for purpose’ is such a sweeping statement, I wonder how that made the many excellent operators, who do invest the time and money, how did that make them feel? I can imagine it could have cast doubt in many minds and perhaps reaching for the phone to get some answers.
There seems to be a very negative connotation with FORS that its ‘a money making scheme’. Well, is it not a business like any other? Sure, it can be costly but I believe you will get out of it as much as you want. In other words, if you embrace it, work with it and pro-actively use it as a tool within your business, it can bring real benefits. If it’s just ‘because you have to’, it will only ever be seen as a cost.
And that leads back to the point made by Kevin Rooney. What elements make it ‘not fit for purpose’ ? In this instance, he is focussing on the audit process and auditors. I will not say anything about any auditors themselves but something clearly isn’t working. Part of a FORS audit is to check elements of Operator compliance but it’s not a full compliance check, that, the operator still needs to do themselves. A FORS audit, as I have seen myself, is not a method of seeing if one is compliant, it should verification that one is already compliant, both for Legal Undertakings and FORS requirements.
I agree, the audit process may only be as good as the auditor but they are (should) be well trained and knowledgeable and you need to demonstrate you know your stuff.
Maybe it is time to review what FORS means to the industry and its members? Maybe it is time to see if it is ‘fit for purpose’? We all know that the transport industry is constantly evolving so why would FORS not evolve with it?
I would be interested to hear any comments, please get in touch via the website.