GSAG: lifting the lid on FORS’ advisory group

Steve Agg, chairman of the Governance and Standards Advisory Group (GSAG), explains the group’s pivotal role in ensuring that FORS remains the UK’s leading fleet accreditation scheme.

What is GSAG and why was it established?

The Governance and Standards Advisory Group, or GSAG as it is more commonly known, exists to be a credible and technically competent industry representative body that performs a core role in developing the FORS Standard. GSAG is the ultimate body overseeing the scheme’s governance and is a key element in maintaining the integrity and relevance of FORS on behalf of fleet operators, specifiers and the public we serve.

Part of GSAG’s role is to recommend changes, improvements and additions to the FORS scheme where appropriate, and to provide guidance to ensure that the FORS Standard is subject to continuous improvement, remains relevant to industry needs and is compatible with all relevant legislation. Finally, members of GSAG are encouraged to promote the development and growth of FORS to suppliers, customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

Does GSAG have a role in the day-to-day running of FORS?

No, it doesn’t. GSAG exists to provide advice and guidance on the development of FORS to ensure it remains fit for purpose, but the day-to-day running of the concession is the responsibility of Sopra Steria.

It’s also worth noting that GSAG plays a role in hearing any appeals made by FORS Accredited Operators relating to compliance action taken by Sopra Steria.

Who are the members of GSAG?

The GSAG membership is made up of FORS Accredited Operators, Specifiers, trade associations, and industry-relevant public and professional bodies. We strive to build a diverse membership of stakeholders who are supportive of the scheme’s aim to improve all aspects of fleet operations for the benefit of society at large.

How are members appointed?

Organisations that are interested in joining GSAG are required to write to [email protected] and give an explanation as to why they’d like to join.

The process from there is managed by Steer Group, the FORS Governance and Standard service provider. Steer has responsibility for managing various working groups, including GSAG and FORS Executive Group.

For more information, visit the FORS website (

What is your career background and how did you come to be involved with FORS and GSAG?

I’ve been involved in the logistics and transport industry for my entire working life. I started as an apprentice vehicle electrician, but my ambition was to become a fleet engineer. Once I had achieved that goal, I moved into mainstream logistics where I held distribution director positions at several food companies. Later in my career, I was managing director for Business Services at the Freight Transport Association, before assuming my final role as chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).

Steve Agg, chairman of the Governance and Standards Advisory Group (GSAG)

It was during my time at CILT that I became more involved with FORS and its early development, which I suppose led me down the path to my current position as chairman of GSAG. As the professional body for everyone involved in logistics and transport, CILT aims to raise the profile of the industry and everyone working within it. It seemed to me that FORS offered an opportunity to champion best practice and to give both fleet operators and specifiers a tangible means of communicating their commitment to operating to standards above the legal minimum requirement.

What did you set out to achieve when you joined GSAG?

When I engaged with FORS and with GSAG I wanted to help generate a more positive profile for the logistics profession – both in terms of the businesses and the people working within it. FORS offers a publicly visible means for fleet operators and transport specifiers to show that they care passionately about our environment and the safety and efficiency of all that they do.

FORS has become an established mark of quality, recognised within the industry and beyond, and as such remains an essential component in enabling users of transport to select the very best fleet operators.

What is your response to the recent news that Transport for London has granted ‘equivalency’ to rival schemes?

I understand the rationale because competition is essential to any business in driving innovation and combatting the complacency that a monopoly can breed.

What I disagree with, however, is the catch-all term ‘equivalency’ being used in respect of schemes that are only truly ‘equivalent’ to FORS in specific areas – in this case as they pertain to compliance with TfL’s Work Related Road Risk initiative. To me, this causes confusion in the marketplace and doesn’t serve the overall aim of raising standards in fleet operations.

Truly equivalent competitor schemes are welcome, as any initiative to improve standards should be, but only FORS offers the comprehensive operational standard that fleet operators and specifiers have demanded since 2008. There is no doubt in my mind that FORS remains unparalleled for those operators who want to clearly demonstrate that they hold themselves to the most rigorous standard across a broad range of operational areas.