The HATS Group is acknowledged as one of the UK’s leading transport services providers for patient healthcare, mental health, and home to school transport for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
It operates an 800-strong multi-class vehicle fleet of cars, ambulances, minibuses and coaches with more than 1,000 drivers, and provides support to the NHS, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Mental Health Trusts, Local Authorities and a range of other public sector bodies and private medical institutions.
The Group has seen strong growth in the last two years due to contract wins, service expansion, new locations across the UK and an increased reliance by the NHS and Local Authorities on its services during Covid.
As a result of this growth, its fleet and drivers have grown significantly, increasing the need to manage the associated driving risk more efficiently and in a more transparent manner.
A previous manual system, administered by several staff in the HR department, was deemed no longer fit for purpose due to the increased scale of the operation, and the decision to opt for an automated system was taken.
DAVIS was selected three months ago, and the Group has now onboarded almost all its drivers in record time across some nine different locations around the UK, including Manchester, Birmingham, Aberystwyth, Haverford West and some 17 hospitals across London.
Drivers now have to complete, and successfully pass, assessment days, including driving assessments carried out by a dedicated driving assessor, before being added to the DAVIS system. They are then sent an SMS message or email to provide consent for their licences to be checked – which is then carried out monthly on an ongoing basis.
Director of shared services, James Graydon, said that another factor in the decision behind moving to DAVIS was the well-documented difficulties the DVLA had been experiencing in verifying licence details because of staff shortages due the Covid pandemic.
'We had been experiencing real difficulty in checking licences manually, but DAVIS gives us a back door into the DVLA and allows checking to be carried out far more quickly, effectively and efficiently.
'It is a very rare to find a system as efficient, that does exactly what it says on the tin and that supports the operation as effectively as DAVIS does. As we are working with vulnerable adults and children for much of the time, quality assurance is very important for us and DAVIS provides us with that,' he said.
Jon Trotter, head of All Insurance, added: “We have found DAVIS very quick and easy to use, with one dedicated member of staff replacing a number in our HR department who have now been redeployed to more meaningful roles across the business.
'From an insurance perspective, we have shown our broker the system we have introduced and had a very positive risk assessment result back as a consequence, which will help me in future premium negotiations,” he said.
The HATS Group is also considering taking advantage of Licence Check’s new free-to-use drivers’ CPC Hours feature to keep training records up to date for coach drivers and manage the risk around those drivers who may not complete the appropriate training in time.
Professional lorry, bus and coach drivers are required to complete a minimum of 35 hours of training every five years to maintain their Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
The new CPC Hours feature within DAVIS, which is free to all existing platform users, provides managers with easy-to-read dashboards showing advance warnings of all drivers who are at risk of not completing their training within the required timeline.
Keith Allen, managing director at Licence Check, commented: 'Thanks to DAVIS, The HATS Group is now effectively managing a very complex fleet risk and compliance picture across a large number of locations around the country with over a thousand drivers.
'As well as improving the monitoring and measurement of its driver risk, it may well also benefit from good news in terms of insurance premiums going forward,” he said.