Whitby Specialist Vehicles

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Whitby Specialist Vehicles'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 Whitby Specialist Vehicles 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


Operations Director
A Whitby Morrison ice cream
van in Stratford-on-Avon
The sound of an ice cream van chime is synonymous with
the feel-good factor of childhood and helps generate a
sense of Britishness. Based in Crewe, Cheshire, Whitby
Specialist Vehicles are recognised as the world’s leading
manufacturer of ice cream vehicles and the sector is thriving in
their local area. Operations Director Edward Whitby discusses
the sector in more detail and explains that it is quite likely that
the last 99 flake most people enjoyed was purchased from a
vehicle manufactured by Whitby.
Founded by my grandfather Bryan Whitby, we’re proud to produce custom-built
vehicles that combine the perfect blend of nostalgia and modern technology.
The early days of the business were focused on undertaking the jobs that others
deemed impossible and saw the manufacture of vehicles covering everything from
agriculture and security through to ice cream sales vehicle.
With the coachbuilding industry thriving during the 1960s and 1970s, it was time
for the business to become increasingly specialised. Fresh from completing his
apprenticeship at nearby Rolls-Royce, my father Stuart walked away from a quite
incredible career opportunity to join forces with Bryan and in his words “to produce
the Rolls-Royce of ice cream vans”.
Family values
That ethos of producing the very best through a process of continuous
improvement remains as prevalent today as ever. Of equal value to the company
»Operations Director:
»Established in 1962
»Based in Crewe, Cheshire
»Services: World-leading
manufacturer of ice cream
vehicles, trailers and kiosks
»No. of employees: 45
»In 2018, the company helped
to set a new Guinness World
Record for the world’s largest
parade of ice cream vans,
which was 84 end-to-end
»At any time of the day,
somebody somewhere is
smiling because they’re
enjoying a cool treat from a
Whitby-built vehicle
Whitby Specialist
Highlighting best practice
and its future is the element of family.
Today, we as a business are now
represented by the third generation
of the Whitby family through myself
and the support of my brothers
Kristopher and Nicholas. And this is
not just restricted to the management
team – several father-and-son, uncle-
and-nephew, brother-and-brother
teams work side by side in the
To produce such a bespoke product
and continually improve it is not a
simple task. From the early days, Bryan
and Stuart recognised the importance
of investment in staff. In an era of
regular job change, we as a company
are proud to have team members who
have served more than 20 or even
30 years. Just recently a longstanding
colleague retired having completed 50
years’ service.
We recognise that the quality of the
product and strength of the Whitby
brand would be nothing without
the support of our team. Investment
in staff has been truly key to our
sustainable growth.
The value of Britishness
Ice cream vans are a truly British icon,
similar in impact to red telephone boxes
and double-decker buses. Ichallenge
you to find anyone who hasn’t enjoyed
purchasing an ice cream on a summer’s
day. In the 1980s, it became clear that
the value of Britishness should not be
underestimated and became an added
extra to the quality product. Export
opportunities began to arise with
vehicles being manufactured for the
selling of ice cream in locations such as
Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Today, that value remains as strong
as ever and has continued to play
a part in our success. There are
Whitby-built vehicles operating in
more than 60 countries around the
world, locations including Libya, the
USA and Kazakhstan. The diversity of
these locations is proof of the value of
Britishness. As a company we are very
proud to say that at any point in time,
somebody somewhere in the world is
smiling because of an ice cream they’ve
purchased from a vehicle we have built.
The ability to adapt to change
and build a prosperous future
In what can be a traditional industry,
change is often viewed as an obstacle
and something to shy away from.
We view change, whether enforced
or not, as an opportunity. Change
brings about a challenge to make
things better. The simplest form of
change is brought about through
communication. As a relatively small
business with a hands-on team, we
pride ourselves on being able to
respond immediately. Listening to
the needs of our customers is key in
Traditional signwriting
Investment in
staff has been
truly key to
creating the exact product suited to
their business.
Communication is key in all elements
of business and listening to the needs
of your customer is imperative. If you
don’t, it is likely that your competitors
will. Listening is also necessary in the
macro environment. The ice cream
industry in particular has been subject
to vilification in areas as diverse as
healthy eating and vehicle emissions.
As a team we use such an opportunity
for further improvements.
In terms of healthy diets, we have
worked with our client base to
help build relationships with local
schools and authorities and through
community engagement. It is very
easy to tar such a product with an
unhealthy brush, but it is a brush that
has been formed through opinion and
not fact. Talk to those affected and
explain the positives and benefits on
offer and quite often you can turn
things around. My grandfather taught
me the importance of always giving
back a little more than you take.
Vehicle emissions are a global concern
and something which cannot be
solved by a company as small as
ourselves; this once again presents an
opportunity. We are in the process of
developing an electric system that will
facilitate the production and sale of
freshly made ice cream without the
need for a vehicle engine. We believe
this will increase our opportunities as
a business and will open up further
markets and opportunities, both in the
UK and beyond.
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit
is cause for concern for all but
is also beyond the grasp of our
control. Regardless of the outcome,
opportunities will arise. For ourselves,
we are optimistic that Brexit will
present improved export opportunities
beyond Europe and this is a key
growth area for us.
I am extremely proud of my family and
the business that we have. To make a
product that generates so many smiles
and is synonymous with Britishness is
something about which I often have
to pinch myself. If we all recognise the
good that surrounds us and embrace
the challenges as opportunity, the
future will be prosperous.
taught me the
importance of
always giving
back a little
more than you
World record parade


This article was sponsored by Whitby Specialist Vehicles. 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