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Van Excellence, the national accreditation scheme for van operators, has enrolled its 100th operator and the scheme has grown to cover 100,000 vehicles.

Van Excellence was launched in 2010 to promote high standards of van operation and driving by accrediting operators against an industry code of good practice. Operators register their interest and receive details of the Van Excellence Code then present themselves for audit when they are ready.

In the 18 months since the scheme launched, 24 fleets have achieved Van Excellence accreditation, with 33 undergoing audit and a further 43 registering interest and preparing for audit. Between them these 100 businesses operate 100,000 vans.

“We now have 100 fleets operating 100,000 vehicles”, said Mark Cartwright, Head of Van and LCVs at the Freight Transport Association, which manages the scheme. “That’s more centuries than Sachin Tendulker!”

“This double landmark confirms the groundswell of business support for this voluntary scheme that we believe is a better way to raise standards in the sector than new legislation. The Van Excellence marque is becoming a more frequent sight on accredited fleet vehicles as successful operators advertise their achievement.

“But with an average fleet size of 1,000, our goal now is to extend the scheme’s reach to smaller fleets by working with existing members to invite sub-contractors and other suppliers to join the scheme. We are also in advanced discussions with van manufacturers and leasing companies to bring Van Excellence to the attention of their smaller fleet customers.”

The Van Excellence Code was agreed by operators acting as a Governance Group and requires systems to be in place to check vehicle roadworthiness, driver entitlement, load security and other safety aspects. The standard exceeds the minimum requirements of the current law and selects and adapts the requirements of O-licensing normally applied to trucks for the van sector.

Accredited operators need to present themselves for re-audit every year to ensure standards are maintained.