Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector Contents

4The Government response

66.We consider the long list of actions the Government has provided in answer to various Parliamentary Questions149 and in its evidence to our inquiry150 in turn below.

Funding for recruitment

67.The Government is being pressed to take action by operators and trade associations, notably to provide £150m of funding to support recruitment.151 In submissions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer prior to the 2014 Autumn Statement and 2015 Budget, the RHA called for a two year Government grant scheme open to employers of UK resident drivers to fund LGV driving licence acquisition. This call was supported by the FTA and CILT.152 Martijn de Lange made the case for intervention by the Government saying that there were things, such as improving careers advice or dealing with the costs imposed by regulation, on which the sector needed the Government’s help.153 David Wells, Chief Executive, FTA, agreed that there were barriers to recruitment that the Government could help to address like speeding up the process for medical renewals, the accreditation of driving schools and the recruitment of driving test examiners.154 Jack Semple, RHA, said the industry needed help meeting the cost of training the number of drivers the economy needed or would need if the sector was to reduce its dependence on foreign drivers.155

68.The Government told us that it is not appropriate for taxpayers to subsidise the recruitment and training of goods vehicle drivers without evidence that the labour market was not functioning correctly.156 It pointed out that any Government grants would be subject to State Aid rules and if licence acquisition was funded in this way payments would have to be non-discriminatory and could not be restricted to UK citizens. It remains to be seen how this will be affected by negotiations on Brexit.

Licencing and testing

69.The FTA said that over the last five years the numbers of people taking the test to acquire an LGV licence had declined by 24% (there has also been a decline of 17% in acquisition of normal car/van related Category B licences over the same period).157 But Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency data show a steady increase in demand for LGV driving test appointments;158 in the second quarter of 2015–16 it was 16% higher than the same quarter in 2008.159 Up until 31 December 2015, DVSA had delivered 76,871 vocational driving tests (LGV and PSV).

Figure 11: LGV driving tests conducted

Source: Department for Transport (RHS0027)

70.70,200 tests were conducted in 2015–16, the highest total since 2008–09. However, Lord Ahmad told us total demand for tests was expected to reach 112,000 by 31 March 2016 against a previous forecast of 102,000. The forecast of demand for LGV tests in 2016–17 is 135,000.160 If the Department’s forecasts are accurate this would mean the sector could expect somewhere in the region of 70,000 newly licensed drivers. The Government did not explain to us why it expected demand for tests to rise by nearly 35,000 in the three months from December 2015 to March 2016. It seems more likely to us that the trends shown in figure 11 will continue and the Government is over-estimating the growth in demand.

71.Nathalie Axon pointed out the cost and long waiting time associated with retests;161 she explained that the single biggest thing that made a difference to pass rates was time spent behind the wheel.162 David Wells also raised the issue of waiting times for driving tests and indicated there were problems recruiting examiners.163 In July 2016, Andrew Jones, the Roads Minister, said that the steps taken by the DVSA to reduce driving test waiting times in the last 12 months include:

He acknowledged that there was more to do to drive down waiting times and said “we are investigating all avenues to do so”.164

72.The Government is examining a voluntary scheme for trainers to publish LGV test pass rates to increase the information available to employers and people looking for training.165 The Government is also taking steps to:

Driver CPC

73.DVSA has recently amended procedures to allow drivers with acquired rights (those who have held the entitlement prior to 1997) to choose to take two of the four modules in the Driver CPC instead of acquiring their first DQC on completion of their initial periodic training. This means an even higher proportion of drivers will now undergo training on safe load restraint before they can drive for a living. Potentially this also gives drivers the flexibility to acquire a DQC more quickly and at less cost, provided they can attain the necessary standards.167

74.Unite the Union told us that many drivers did not see value in the Driver CPC, in part because the trainers lacked credibility (it argued most trainers have limited experience on the road themselves and therefore struggle to receive respect from those they are training). Unite called for the Driver CPC to be run along the lines of the ADR with core content modules that must be passed. They also identified some aspects as missing from the training; for example load restraint.168 Unite also reported some problems with drivers not being paid while undertaking Driver CPC training or firms using drivers’ rest periods for CPC training. In the last Parliament our predecessors examined these issues and were told that drivers could complete 35 hours of Driver CPC training by repeating the same module five times and the courses sometimes required little more than attendance.169 The Committee called on the Government to lobby the European Commission on the introduction of a compulsory training module focused on vulnerable road users.

75.The Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) ensures that the training offered is in line with the Driver CPC regulations. Training must be delivered “at or above Level 2”.170 If a course falls significantly below Level 2, the hours will not count towards the 35 hours required for Driver CPC periodic training and the training provider will not gain subsequent approval for the course without demonstrating that appropriate changes have been made.171 JAUPT has taken action against approved trainers by revoking or suspending approval and against operators and drivers by removing periodic training hours.172


76.The availability and funding for apprenticeships is one the most important measures to help recruit new drivers.173 The Government said that it was supporting drivers through:

77.Under the current arrangements for apprenticeships, businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees can apply for funding. They commit to employ an apprentice for a minimum of 12 months and pay them in line with legal minimum requirements. They receive a grant of £1,500 per apprentice, and can take up to ten grants in total. 4,920 people started apprenticeship programmes learning to drive goods vehicles in 2014–15, an increase of 23% on 2013–14 but 35% lower than 2011–12.174 There is additional funding for:

All current apprenticeship frameworks are due to end in 2017.

78.Trailblazer Apprenticeships are the Government’s new apprenticeships under which for every £1 an employer spends, Government will pay £2 (with added incentives for 16–18 year olds and small businesses). The new apprenticeship standards require a minimum of 12 months “rigorous and substantial” training.175 The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is responsible for the Trailblazer apprenticeships programme.

79.In 2014 Colin Snape, Nagel Langdons Ltd, put together a logistics trailblazer group of employers, training providers and industry associations to ensure the sector would have apprentices from 2017. The group submitted standards for:

Initially the LGV Driver standard was not approved by BIS but they worked with the Trailblazer group on the standard and it was accepted in December 2015.

80.The arrangements for apprenticeships in Scotland are different. In Scotland, the Freight Logistics Modern Apprenticeship, which covers different roles within the sector, including LGV drivers, is available through Skills Development Scotland.

81.The Department told us the Logistics Trailblazer Apprenticeship standard covers a range of knowledge and skills, including training to support the acquisition of a Category C (full HGV) licence.177 Funding for obtaining an LGV licence is not currently in scope of Trailblazers but this is under review by BIS.178 BIS will consider what the new funding model should be with the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy.179 In response to a Parliamentary Question from Robert Flello MP about the decision not to fund licence acquisition, Nick Boles said:

There is a longstanding principle, dating back to 2005, which was communicated to the sector in the 2007/08 funding year, that, in general, we do not provide funding for provision that is either an employer or a statutory requirement. Instead, we believe that these costs should be met by employers or individuals themselves.180

82.Before it closed Skills for Logistics, the then sector skills council offered an apprenticeship, called DGV (driving goods vehicles), but it did not have licence acquisition in the framework and take up of its apprenticeship was poor outside the Armed Forces. Colin Snape said that the new trailblazer apprenticeship would suffer a similar fate unless licence acquisition was funded.181

Loan Schemes

83.BIS operates a professional career and development loan (PCDL) scheme for those seeking to fund additional training. The Government told us loans can be used to cover the cost of LGV training (£2–3000) but not the cost of taking driving tests (£230). Unlike student loans, the portion of a PCDL used solely to fund training is not considered as income for the calculation of benefit entitlement.182 The PCDL loans are currently provided by two major banks, and therefore securing funding for the loans is dependent on an assessment of the commercial risk. The Department told us that it was working with the road haulage sector to see how the risks that might prevent a bank from making a loan to an applicant can be mitigated to maximise the number of potential drivers who are successful in securing funding.183 The scheme attracts fewer than 100 applications from LGV drivers.

84.BIS also offers advanced learner loans. These support qualifications in an apprenticeship that are level 3 or above (equivalent to 2 A level passes). David Wells told us that a key advantage of the Advance Learner Loans was that they followed the employee if he or she changes job.184 The FTA said Government needs to make it easier for individuals to access vocational training loans for licence acquisition (which is an apprenticeship level 2 qualification). It called for advanced learner loans to be extended to cover level 2 (equivalent to five GCSE passes at grade C and above) qualifications.185 This would widen the scope and costs of the advanced learner loan scheme significantly.

85.The Government is examining whether selection processes for people to train and standard training criteria could increase pass rates and reduce drop-out rates. This could enable the risks of the BIS-operated loan schemes to be reduced and cheaper rates offered.186

Jobcentre Plus

86.Greater Manchester JCP Districts have secured £200,000 of DWP funding to run a “LGV Driver Academy”, a 12 week programme supporting people in receipt of unemployment benefits to obtain a LGV Category C driving licence, Driver’s CPC and provide relevant work experience, job search support (including a job matching service) and a guaranteed job interview to help them secure a Category C Driver job. The programme aims to get 80 claimants into work as LGV drivers. There are currently 72 starters on it (71 male and one female). In October 2015 the Department said that 14 Candidates had successfully passed a test for a Category C driving licence and completed the work experience element, with six confirmed job starts with driving agencies and more job offers and starts in the pipeline over the coming months.187 David Wells said the FTA wanted the Government to provided dedicated funding for the JCP scheme.188

87.Jack Semple, Director of Policy, RHA, said that the RHA was working with JCP on targeted recruitment, identifying candidates well suited to the road haulage sector. He noted that the Welsh Government might fund 180 drivers through this scheme but that take up was “patchy”.189 He went on to call for a “bit of pump-priming” from the Government to get the scheme going.190 The Department said JCP had found through careful selection of candidates, extending the length of the training placement and including a re-test in its LGV driver programmes, it can achieve a pass rate of 80%.191

Military Service Leavers

88.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Defence help those leaving the armed forces with experience in logistics or a LGV licence to find jobs in logistics. The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd (part of the Manpower Group) that provides resettlement services for those leaving the Armed Forces. In 2015, it offered courses for Driver CPC and ADR (carriage of dangerous goods). In total, 21 courses ran, training 223 people (from 240 capacity). The scheme can be used by drivers who passed LGV driving tests more than five years ago but who do not have Driver CPC (as might well be the case for military drivers moving to civilian driving jobs), to acquire the Driver CPC.192

89.JCP is looking at a Logistics Armed Forces Employment Pathway, whereby the Army offers a sector-based programme (training, work experience and guaranteed job interview).193 The Government is examining the case for potentially having some similar support for some civilian occupation changes (such as fire fighters) and is continuing work on career transitions related to mass redundancy events (such as steel works closures).194

Other actions

90.The DfT drew our attention to other work it was doing on:

91.Responsibility is split across a number of departments. Adrian Jones said “you just go round and round in circles and nobody takes responsibility for it”.196 For example, DWP, BIS and the DfT are all involved in some way but each have different policy objectives and priorities.

92.The actions taken by industry, supported by Government, to improve recruitment have had limited success. We are concerned that, even when taken together, they will fall short of the number of drivers that are needed to address the current shortage and replace those likely to leave the sector in the next 10–15 years. Industry must scale up its efforts. The Government should assess the effectiveness of all of the steps it is taking to support recruitment and consider whether they represent good value for money. The road freight industry should also assess the impact of any steps to alleviate the driver shortage on other parts of the logistics sector. For example the natural career path from driver to transport manager might be disrupted. The FTA have already predicted a shortage of transport managers, estimating that around 34% of them will leave their jobs in the next five years.197 On the other hand if drivers were recruited from among warehouse staff or forklift drivers, shortages of skilled workers could arise in other areas.

Priorities for the Government

93.We agree with Lord Ahmad that safety is important.198 The Government’s primary responsibility in addressing the driver shortage is to ensure public safety is not compromised; the high standards expected of drivers must be maintained. It can do this using its policy and regulatory framework around licensing of drivers and operators, the registration and inspection of vehicles and the periodic training of drivers.

94.The Government should ensure that the measures it has told us it is taking to address the driver shortage bear fruit and deliver new drivers committed to a career in logistics in the kinds of numbers needed. We believe there are four steps the Department for Transport can take. It should:


95.A survey conducted for the DfT in 2010–11 found there were approximately 270 lorry facilities on or within five km of the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The survey found that parking facilities were used to an average of 61% capacity and 41% of LGVs were parked elsewhere, mainly in lay-bys and some in industrial estates.

96.The CILT highlighted the lack of provision of secure parking with drivers’ rest facilities on key trunk routes located in places that best fit with travel time between drivers’ rest breaks, room for trailer interchange and chilled trailer chill-down200 away from domestic communities is a pressing public policy problem that must be resolved.201 They argued that the provision of trunk road service areas with appropriate facilities was needed to demonstrate a basic respect for the profession.202 Jenny Tipping said that it was important to provide and improve facilities for drivers, but if it was made a condition of planning applications, it would send a very clear message as to how valuable drivers are.203Adrian Jones and Jolyon Drury both highlighted the problems with new warehousing and retail parks where inadequate provision was being made for drivers. They argued that secure parking should be a planning requirement for developments over a certain size.204 Jolyon Drury suggested that section 106 agreements205 could be used to help fund truck stop facilities.206

97.Transport Focus is planning research to develop an understanding of road users’ experiences and expectations of roadside facilities when using the Strategic Road Network in England. It is vital that any possible solutions to the lack of facilities reflect the needs of drivers in the areas where facilities are in short supply.207

98.The Government told us the provision of roadside facilities is primarily a matter for the private sector and local authorities, who are best placed to judge local traffic conditions and needs. There is no specific disaggregated information available on Government spend on roadside facilities, although it is likely to be small.208 The Government said ministers will examine what support it and Highways England can provide to encourage changes to Motorway Service Area operations and future investment in laybys and other lorry parking.

99.It is not just roadside facilities that are a problem. Access to suitable facilities at depots and customer premises are an issue for many drivers. We were shocked at the treatment some drivers receive when making deliveries. Jenny Tipping said “Quite a number of [drivers] said that they are treated like scum—that having facilities is a basic human need and it is as if they are not human.”209

100.The Government is right that the provision of roadside facilities is principally a matter for the private sector, but it can take steps to encourage investment in better facilities. We welcome the Government’s commitment to a survey of roadside facilities. It is important that this review looks not only at the quality of the facilities but at their spatial distribution. It must be based on qualitative and quantitative measures and involve consultation with the users of the services. It needs to look not only at current facilities but should examine the planning guidance and building regulations to ensure any new facilities cater properly for the needs of the drivers who will use them. It is not sufficient to look just at the roadside facilities on the strategic road network. Many of the problems arise at depots and customer facilities where drivers collect or deliver goods and materials. The Government should work with the FTA, RHA and trade associations representing the customers of road haulage operators to discuss the issues around the treatment of drivers and to consider the merits of a good practice standard or code of conduct.


101.It was clear from the evidence that we received that the sector was aware of the impact the driver shortage could have and this had stimulated operators and the Government to take action. The actions described in the evidence we received by them are almost entirely related to recruitment and there was very little evidence of the road haulage sector taking action on retention. Lord Ahmad suggested retention was something on which the road haulage industry should lead.210 He said that the Government’s role was “one of facilitation and looking at recruitment.”211

102.It is clear from the Government’s evidence that many of its responses to the driver shortage focus on recruitment. These are laudable but we are concerned about the long-term value of this kind of investment if the industry does not take adequate steps to address retention. Insufficient attention is being given to the retention of LGV drivers. Simply recruiting drivers is not a sustainable solution if road haulage companies do not deal with issues affecting retention. Efforts to improve retention will not only help to secure investment in the recruitment and training of new drivers but could also help to attract back those who have recently left the industry and make the sector appealing to under-represented groups. We recommend that the Government consider whether any further investment it makes in helping the road haulage sector with recruitment should be contingent on action by the sector to address retention; to do otherwise will be to continue to try to top up a leaking bucket.

149 PQ 21357 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 15 January 2016; PQ 19665 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 18 December 2015; and PQ 17549 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 30 November 2015

150 Department for Transport (RHS0017), (RHS0026) and (RHS0027)

151 Q16 [Jack Semple]

152 Department for Transport (RHS0017)

156 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

157 Freight Transport Association (RHS0014)

160 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

164 PQ 41560 on Driving Tests, 5 July 2016

165 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

166 PQ 21357 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 15 January 2016; PQ 19665 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 18 December 2015; and PQ 17549 on Large Goods Vehicle Drivers, 30 November 2015

167 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

168 Unite the Union (RHS0009)

169 House of Commons Transport Select Committee, Government motoring agencies – the user perspective, Sixth Report of Session 2014–15, HC 287, October 2014

170 National Careers Service, Compare different qualifications [Last accessed 10 July 2016]

171 JAUPT, Meeting the level 2 requirement, November 2015

172 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

173 Solving the driver crisis, An independent analysis of the current driver shortage prepared for FTA by RepGraph Ltd, November 2015

174 Solving the driver crisis, An independent analysis of the current driver shortage prepared for FTA by RepGraph Ltd, November 2015

175 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Future of Apprenticeships in England, December 2015

176 Skills Funding Agency, Apprenticeship Standards, June 2016

177 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

178 Department for Transport (RHS0017)

179 PQ 12030 on Large Goods Vehicles: Licensing, 22 October 2015

180 PQ 12925 on Large Goods Vehicles: Licensing, 27 October 2015

182 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

183 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

185 Freight Transport Association (RHS0014)

186 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

187 Department for Transport (RHS0017)

191 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

192 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

193 Department for Transport (RHS0017)

194 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

195 Department for Transport (RHS0026)

197 Freight Transport Association, FTA Transport Manager tackling skills shortage, August 2015

199 Q119 [Jenny Tipping]

200 The period of time needed for a refrigerated unit to cool to a temperature suitable for the goods it will be carrying.

201 The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (RHS0011)

202 The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (RHS0011)

205 Section 106 agreements are planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 imposed on a developer where it is necessary to provide contributions to offset negative impacts caused by construction and development.

207 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

208 Department for Transport (RHS0027)

210 Qq152–3, Department for Transport (RHS0026) and Department for Transport (RHS0027)

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27 July 2016