The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from A R C Coachworks is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
A R C Coachworks
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
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32 | ARC COACHWORKS
Managing Director Gary Clark
ARC Coachworks appreciate that for any given fleet
manager, time off the road means a loss of turnover.
It’s for this reason that they place such high priority on
repairing fleet vehicles as quickly and as flawlessly as possible.
Testifying to their success in this area is the fact that they
routinely cater to large corporate brands, including Sainsbury’s,
Tesco and Ryder. Alongside this core service, they also provide
national repair solutions for fleets, including roadside rescue
as well as fast and accurate estimates. It’s not just fleets that
they repair, however; they also have a range of accident
repair services for – among others – private motorists, vehicle
dealerships and insurance companies. Managing Director Gary
The Parliamentary Review
The beginning of ARC Coachworks’ journey
ARC Coachworks began with the humblest of origins: it was just me on my own,
working from the back of my house. In these early stages, my work was entirely
freelance and attained through word of mouth. Gradually, however, I worked on
increasingly sophisticated projects and within increasingly large premises, to reflect
the growing stature of the projects I was involved in.
I now have 30,000-square-foot premises and employ approximately 35 people. In
this setting, my team and I work on large and often complex commercial vehicles
for companies such as Sainsbury’s, Ryder, Tesco, Waitrose, Asda and Fraikin.
Furthermore, we provide all of these services across the southern regions of England.
»Managing Director: Gary Clark
»Established in 2010
»Based in Ashford, Middlesex
»Services: Accident repairs,
primarily for commercial
»No. of employees: 35
33ARC COACHWORKS |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Our place in the market today
Our role has evolved considerably
over the years, and we now repair
high-priority vehicles, including
HGVs for large, logistically complex
companies. As an example of the
sort of project we might receive, we
could be asked to repair a Sainsbury’s
refrigerated vehicle for home deliveries
that has suffered considerable
damage through a traffic accident.
It’s worth remembering that these
are vehicles that are indispensable to
the modern logistical effort of quick
This is a unique area in the vehicle
repairs industry, which requires from
us a rare and specific skill set. This
is because we are repairing vehicles
with unique parts in them, including
computers and refrigerators. Therefore,
we are not only fixing chassis and
other generic aspects of motor
repairs; we are also fixing unfamiliar
mechanical components that many
other repair services cannot. Doing
this requires significant experience in
Difficulties in employment
Employing skilled people is a hugely
difficult issue at the present time.
There are simply not enough young
people and apprentices entering into
the profession. Too many do not see
this as a desirable career path – an
issue that I believe is generational, and
not something with a quick and easy
fix. The path to work for a lot of young
people is interrupted by frivolous
distractions, which contrasts starkly
with what was the case when I was
young. Decades ago, you would begin
thinking about work in your mid-
teens and decide fairly promptly on a
course of action. Although I am not
advocating a return to such times, I do
think there are lessons to draw from
that era regarding employment.
Whatever the case, I and my company
have to contend with this new reality.
Part of this recognition entails not
advertising in local papers, as these
are no longer used as a means of
gaining employment; instead, job
agencies are today’s place to go for
recruiting young people. However,
many of these agencies serve only to
exacerbate the problem by playing
companies off against each other –
getting people hired in one place, and
then drawing them to another place
of employment. They do this because
of the commission they receive
from getting the person employed.
Josam HGV cab bench
Josam HGV chassis
straightening jig and
vehicles that are
of quick home
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34 | ARC COACHWORKS
Inotherwords, the incentive structure
is aligned in such a way as to ensure
young people do not stay in a single
place of work to gain and develop
experience. This is harmful not only to
companies like ours, but also to the
Another difficulty for us to wrestle
with is health and safety regulations.
Although these are a force for
good in many areas, we feel that
they can unduly stack up to the
detriment of affordability (for both
us and customers). Sometimes,
the government will implement
these changes without sufficiently
recognising the burden it will place on
companies; many in Whitehall have no
intuitive sense of how difficult it can
be to keep up with these demands.
To help overcome this, government
should perhaps seek to involve more
small and medium-sized enterprises in
the consultation stages.
Aside from that, the only other main
challenges we face are the sort that
businesses more generally have to
deal with – for example, banks can
be too demanding in terms of their
requirements for loans. This can
hamper some of our plans, but not
insurmountably so. Indeed, in spite of
the issues listed in this article, we have
an optimistic view of what the future
holds for us.
Looking to the future
The future will contain challenges,
but in the same way it will also bring
us opportunities – opportunities
that we hope to take advantage of.
For instance, with the government’s
increasing commitment to phasing in
electric vehicles, we can expect more
and more of these vehicles to come
into our premises. We have therefore
prepared for this change in the motor
landscape by vastly improving our
IT skills and by spending roughly £1
million on a new body shop venture.
Staying ahead of the curve in this
way will secure us a strong future – a
future that I and ARC Coachworks
look forward to.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.