Driver Require

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Driver Require'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 Driver Require 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

CEO Kieran Smith
Going beyond the
extra mile
Driver Require is a multi-award winning specialist
recruitment agency. Established in 2000, it follows a
simple philosophy based on trust, professionalism and
high-quality customer service. It owns an extensive branch
network across the home counties and from the south coast
to the Midlands and provides both temporary and permanent
drivers to a range of industries, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
CEO Kieran Smith tells
The Parliamentary Review
Our tagline “Beyond the Extra Mile” captures our desire to deliver excellence to
everyone we interact with. Many of our staff have a background in the transport
and logistics industry and they are passionate about what they do. Our experience
brings integrity and insight to the art of providing agency drivers within a tough,
demanding sector.
The road to success
Driver Require has been on a remarkable journey, going from a thriving business
to one facing complete financial crisis when the recession hit, reducing sales by 50
per cent. This was a defining moment in our history and we took tough strategic
decisions to stay in business, despite formidable debt repayment plans, and worked
our way out of the recession. We drastically reduced our overheads, to the point
that our CEO made himself redundant for a year and remortgaged his house to
fund the company through this challenging period. In the process we gained
HMRC’s permission to defer VAT, PAYE and NIC payments, while renegotiating
bank loans, to stabilise the company’s short-term cash position, enabling us to
survive the recession and rebuild the business.
»CEO: Kieran Smith
»Founded in 2000
»Located in Stevenage, with six
regional branches
»Services: Specialist driver
recruitment agency
»No. of employees: 40
»Top 30 fastest growing
recruitment agencies in UK
Driver Require
Highlighting best practice
We emerged stronger, with our values
and principles intact and retaining our
loyal, core customers and drivers. By
the end of 2010 we had returned to
break-even point and by 2012, despite
still being in the midst of the recession,
we had exceeded pre-recession sales
levels. We have since gone from
strength to strength: revenues have
grown rapidly from £2 million in 2012
to £13 million in 2018, with a target of
£20 million by 2020, from one branch
to seven; now, with a team of 40, we
are still growing at a rate of over 25
per cent each year.
We are a purpose-driven organisation
with a loyal team of employees whose
collaboration creates something
special. We focus on driver recruitment
and we aim to be the best at it.
Alongside our commitment to building
long-term partnerships with our
clients, we are committed to providing
a personal service to our drivers.
Above all, we ensure that our values of
integrity, excellence and commitment
are at the heart of everything we do,
steering our behaviour and defining
our standards.
A perfect storm
We have overcome many hurdles and
not least the last recession. We are
now facing more challenges with Brexit
and planned regulatory changes, such
as the new IR35 regulations due to be
applied to the private sector in April
2020, which could drastically impact
the agency sector and specifically the
road haulage industry. These events
will potentially bring to crisis level
the shortage of LGV drivers that has
been growing steadily over the past
ten years. Demand is estimated at
370,000 drivers with only 320,000
currently working, leaving a shortage
of 50,000. The UK has been able to
avoid the shortage becoming critical
due to a combination of recession and
Eastern European immigration, which
coincided with increased demand.
During this time the recession-struck
hauliers cut back on costs, depressing
agency charge rates and imposing
insurance constraints on agencies
that effectively prevented new British
LGV drivers joining the sector. The
result is a permanent workforce that is
disproportionately skewed towards the
older end of the age range. Hauliers
are increasingly dependent on agency,
and particularly foreign drivers, which
goes beyond the level that is needed
to cope with seasonal requirements
and that is now necessary to sustain
For the first time since 2005 we have
increased LGV driver requirements
with no continental EU nationals
to make up the deficit. Meanwhile,
IR35 is likely to throw
the haulage sector into
We emerged
stronger, with
our values and
retaining our
customers and
drivers and are
still growing
at a rate of 25
per cent each
the UK has become a less attractive
place to work for foreign LGV drivers
due to a combination of Brexit, the
associated drop in the exchange rate
and the government’s crackdown on
limited company operators via the IR35
legislation, which comes into effect in
April 2020.
The only way to avoid a short-term
crisis will be for the haulage operators
to accept increased agency charge
rates so that agencies can pass the
uplift on to the agency drivers to
prevent them returning to continental
Europe or quitting driving. This won’t
solve the systemic issue, however,
of an overall shortage of LGV drivers
that can only be addressed by a
combination of improvements to
remuneration and working conditions
that are sufficient to attract qualified
LGV drivers back onto the road.
The haulage sector is hugely
competitive and margins are so thin
that they won’t increase costs until
forced to do so. Our primary concern
is that, as happened in the public
sector, unscrupulous agencies and
umbrella companies resort to tax
avoidance schemes to avoid significant
increases to agency driver costs and
consequently client charge rates. If this
is permitted, the ethical agencies will
be put at a competitive disadvantage
while agency rates will not rise quickly
enough to prevent a potential exodus
of drivers from the sector, possibly
causing good agencies to go out
of business. If the driver shortage
worsens, pay rates will be inflated
above the market rate until enough
drivers return to the market to restore
supply. The effect will be disruption to
the supply of goods and over-inflated
costs to hauliers, which will inevitably
be passed on to the end consumer.
We appeal to the government, HMRC
and regulators to strictly enforce
the IR35 legislation. If they were to
make clear examples of end clients,
agencies and umbrella companies
who conspire to employ tax avoidance
schemes, we might stand a chance
of an effective implementation of
the new regime in April 2020. It is
important that all parties go into the
new tax year convinced that they
must comply quickly with the new
regulations, especially the end clients
who must absorb a significant increase
in agencycosts.
We believe the temporary recruitment
sector provides a critical service to road
haulage and logistics operators by
enabling them to cost-effectively cope
with substantial variations in demand
throughout the year. The driver
supply shortage, combined with Brexit
and impending regulatory changes,
represents a threat to the continued
supply of temporary drivers and to the
haulage sector. We will do our best
to avert a driver shortage crisis but in
reality, it is only the government and
HMRC that can intervene and achieve
a successful outcome.
We appeal for
action by
HMRC, the
and regulators
to avert a
shortage crisis
Improvements to drivers’
pay, health and welfare
must be made in order
to attract qualified LGV
drivers back to the road

This article was sponsored by Driver Require. 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 Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster