ACFO and ICFM have announced that they have merged their operations to create the Association of Fleet Professionals.
The new organisation brings together industry campaigning and lobbying and fleet operator and fleet service provider training and education into a single organisation.
The move is aimed at giving “increased voice through combined strength” to fleet decision-makers – fleet operators.
It will also include those with fleet responsibility working in HR, finance and procurement roles and the fast-emerging mobility function – membership of the Association of Fleet Professionals will also appeal to companies supplying a wide range of services to fleets.
The board of AFP will comprise: Caroline Sandall, current ACFO chairman; Paul Hollick, current ICFM chairman; Stewart Lightbody, current ACFO deputy chairman; and Peter Eldridge, current sales and marketing director of ICFM.
The Association of Fleet Professionals will oversee fleet training through a newly established Fleet Academy with a number of committees launched to take responsibility for organising more webinars and seminars and an annual conference and other events as well as campaigning/lobbying.
The organisation will also exhibit at other events organised across the fleet industry.
The AFP board will oversee the continuation of the work of both ACFO and ICFM, whose respective boards will continue in situ, while also managing subscriptions and sponsorship.
ACFO, founded 48 years ago, will continue to represent the interests of fleet operators in the UK promoting their views to Government and its agencies, local authorities, motor manufacturers and industry suppliers.
ICFM, founded more than 25 years ago, will continue to provide fleet managers, administrators, fleet service providers and those whose job responsibilities include fleet with the highest standard of education and training programmes which foster and promote best practice in all aspects of vehicle fleet management.
Additional fleet decision-maker benefits will include an AFP website – www.theafp.co.uk – featuring white papers on key issues and informative blogs; an online members’ forum; and thought leadership and guidance on major taxation and legislative changes;
There will also be additional online training and educational content on a wide range of business-critical issues.
What’s more, the new organisation will provide enhanced support to the Fleet and Mobility Management Federation Europe and the Global Fleet Consortium Network. ACFO is already a member of both organisations.
Creation of the AFP builds on existing close links between ACFO and ICFM. Four years ago, the two organisations forged closer ties to promote the benefits of professional fleet management and the importance of training and education, coupled with the implementation of best practice.
That move built on an initial tie-up announced in 2010 when the two not-for-profit organisations agreed to work in association with one another on areas of mutual benefit and promote their respective organisations to their membership bases.
ACFO chairman Caroline Sandall said: “We believe that both organisations are two-sides to the same coin and will deliver an increased fleet industry voice through their combined strength.
“Bringing both together creates a true fleet body for the industry – giving fleet operators a true voice via the lobbying of ACFO with the training and education of the ICFM.
“The combined Association of Fleet Professionals unites the two organisations in both structure and leadership teams.”
ICFM chairman Paul Hollick added: “Both organisations have been in active dialogue for a few years on this topic and now is definitely the best time to join forces.
“As the fleet industry is going through significant challenges with changing legislation, tax regulations, new technologies and Clean Air Zones the merger seems to be a great time for the ACFO team to focus on the fleet manager’s voice within Westminster, Whitehall and UK cities.
“The ICFM team can then devote its time of being a true Fleet Academy to educate and develop the current and future leaders within fleet and those coming into fleet from other areas of business.
“Both organisations are well run and organised for a sustainable future. That said, a united Association brings more resilience and scale that can improve the lobbying and training needs of members of both organisations, now and in the future.”
Billing itself as ‘the organisation for fleet professionals’, AFP aims to recruit anyone that works within the industry and is looking to achieve a membership of around 1,000.
It is focused on two key mandates:
- To give a voice to policy setters for fleet managers and corporates operating vehicle fleets within the UK, protecting their interests and driving their agenda to ensure organisations can adequately run fleet vehicles within the UK and abroad
- To train, educate and develop fleet professionals, to raise the standards of corporate fleet operators and associated support service providers, promoting best practice and developing the current and future generation of fleet professionals.
Fleet operator membership of the Association of Fleet Professionals will cost £299 a year. However, it will be possible to join the ICFM only at existing membership rates – £60 a year for associate membership, £70 a year (member level) or £80 a year (fellowship level).
Corporate membership of the Association of Fleet Professionals is at three levels: Platinum costing £2,000 a year per annum and providing eight employee memberships; gold at £1,000 for four employee memberships; and silver at £500 for two employee memberships.