D & A Recruitment

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by D & A Recruitment's best practice article

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 D & A Recruitment is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.da-rec.co.uk

49D & A RECRUITMENT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Dan Davis, founder
Driver shortage
Dan Davis founded D&A Recruitment in 2012; after buying
a business partner’s half of the company a couple of
years later, he became its sole owner and director. Their
head office is located in Cambridge, where they employ ten
operational staff, but they are active nationwide. The majority
of work they recruit for is in the industrial, logistics, production
and manufacturing sectors, but a high percentage of their
candidates within that majority are placed as drivers. Across
the country, over 100 people work through D&A every day
on temporary contracts, often driving vans or heavy goods
vehicles (HGVs). Their recruitment and registration processes are
vigorous and thorough but, above all else, D&A seek to place
their candidates in ideal job opportunities with their end-user
clients, and ensure that everyone involved is satisfied.
What really sets us apart from the market leaders in recruitment is that we are a
smaller, more personal company. Being independently owned and independently
run means that we can remain customer-focused while still covering a comparatively
large geographical area, and dealing with massive household names such as
Jewson’s and Hotel Chocolat. This customer service is and has been integral to our
progress and success; if any of our clients should call, we have a 24-hour phone
line available, which goes straight through to a direct representative. Our specialist
operation allows us to offer competitive rates while ensuring profitable margins.
When it comes to candidates, however, our service is not lacking. We don’t register
thousands and try and pour them all into one vacancy – every deal we make is
FACTS ABOUT
D & A RECRUITMENT
»Founder: Dan Davis
»Established in 2012
»Based in the southeast with
their head office in Cambridge
»Services: Recruitment agency
»No. of employees: Over 100
»Multiple offices across the
country
D & A Recruitment
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
50 | D & A RECRUITMENT
unique, and tailored to the experience
they want. We provide an option for
traditional, face-to-face meetings, or
we allow them to deal with things
online, making the entire process
efficient if that’s what they want.
As such, for our candidates, many
of whom stay with us for years, the
feeling of the company is versatile,
and down to them; whether their
D&A experience is streamlined or
personalised, we will still find the right
placement for them.
Growing and expanding
Since 2012, our workforce has
increased massively, and our turnover
has increased from £400,000 six
years ago, to £3.5 million. We work
on margins of somewhere between
20 and 22 per cent. Thanks to this
success, however, we have been able
to establish other companies under
the D&A umbrella, namely D&A
Training. This provides candidates with
appropriate courses and education for
HGV and driving certifications.
Margins were originally higher, up to
almost 30 per cent. Our operational
cost, however, has increased, and
as such, we have seen the margins
naturally decrease. Additionally, when
it comes to agreeing contracts with
larger companies, your rate naturally
sees a reduction through a long-
winded discussion process. Beyond
it all, however, we have seen D&A
steadily become a more lucrative
business with every year that passes.
One of the highlights of this growth
has been the Hotel Chocolat contract
we won in 2016. Originally split
between two agencies, over a period
of time, we fought hard to win it in
full, and eventually did. As of last
year, it has been renewed, and we
have fashioned the relationship into
a mutually beneficial and lucrative
partnership. As we have aided
them not just with their recruitment
needs, but also with certain logistical
requirements, we have enjoyed the
benefits of our partnership with them.
Crystal-clear, high-quality
service
Part of what has helped us enjoy our
success over the past six years has been
the provision of customer service calls.
Every week, we call a few random
candidates working on the contract
and ask them for feedback – we check
they have been paid appropriately and
treated fairly, for example. A number
of our consultants review the situation,
and if there have been more than
The D&A Cambridge team
Whether a
candidate’s
D&A
experience is
streamlined or
personalised,
we will still
find the right
placement for
them
51D & A RECRUITMENT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
three issues, we address them with the
client. We listen to our candidates at
D&A, whether they have complaints or
praise to offer, and as a result, we can
see our end-user clients benefit, too.
We ensure that we offer competitive
rates to customers, and also that
we secure above-average wages for
candidates. Although this does cause
margins to suffer, we retain candidates,
often for years. Clients appreciate this
focused, personal relationship, and
also the similar services we offer for
them – they enjoy regular contact,
visits and reports on satisfaction
with regards to individuals we have
placed with them. Tying together
everything we do to offer the highest
quality of service possible, there is one
thing that underpins everything else:
our communication. With modern
technology, sending an email, even
off-site, can take a matter of seconds,
and we have found this helps no end
with our end-user clients’ satisfaction.
The national driver deficit and
other obstacles
Our journey to this success has not
been an easy one. Obtaining the
appropriate funding for the buyout
was difficult, and we have seen some
other periods of company debt. Clients
have, in the past, endured a financial
collapse in the form of a voluntary
agreement, for example. We have
learnt from these mistakes and now
have credit insurance.
The biggest struggle, however, is
the massive driver deficit the nation
presently endures. As a driving
recruitment agency first and foremost,
obviously, part of the challenge is
trying to fill these some 150,000
vacancies across the country, one
driver at a time. With Brexit on the
horizon and a great many drivers
returning to Europe as a result, we
may see this figure increase.
The most frustrating element of this is
an embedded, nationwide attitude for
a great many companies who require
drivers: they are often unwilling to
employ younger drivers. Recently, the
legal age for HGV driving was lowered
from 21 to 18, and, as a result, there
are a significant number of qualified
and certified young drivers who simply
cannot find work. These companies
will not provide work until these
drivers amass a body of experience –
but with this approach, they often find
themselves unable to even get their
foot in the door.
Looking ahead, we want to expand
our national presence further with
the opening of more D&A sites across
the country. Our year-on-year growth
has been a steady, upward climb –
and as someone who is personally
meticulous about figures, I want to
see this trend continue. We continually
monitor and compare results, week
on week, month on month. We spot
trends, keep growing and identify why
certain things are happening. There is
a five-year plan to hopefully see D&A
become a national supplier across the
country while retaining our celebrated
non-corporate company atmosphere,
and this is something all of my staff,
and I, personally, really do want to see.
Tying together
everything we
do to offer the
highest quality
of service
possible, there is
one thing that
underpins
everything else:
our
communication
A new recruit

www.da-rec.co.uk

This article was sponsored by D & A Recruitment. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

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.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy