DfT to launch £9m campaign to help trucks cope with no-deal Brexit
Contract signed as DfT says disruption caused by "lack of trader readiness" could slow down imports of medicines via some ports
Photo: Johan BEN AZZOUZ/Maxppp/PA
The Department for Transport is planning to spend up to £9m over the next year on a communications campaign to help truckers to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
DfT has signed a contract with Identity Holdings Ltd, an events agency, to run up pop-up stands across the UK and the EU where staff will hand out leaflets telling hauliers what they need to do to continue transporting goods between the two in a no-deal Brexit.
The stands will be placed at up to 100 sites in the UK, including ports, truck stops, ferries and “relevant industry locations”, as well as up to 50 similar sites and border crossings in the EU. Staff at the stands will be trained to answer questions about the documents hauliers will need in a no-deal scenario and direct people to further information.
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The stands are “part of DfT plans to adequately prepare hauliers for a no-deal scenario”, the department said in a client brief. “Hauliers are impacted by policy areas across [the Department for Transport, HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] and Borders,” it added.
The government has estimated that around 20% of the 10,000 trucks arriving at the port of Dover each day may not have the right papers to pass new customs checks in France, while a document leaked earlier this month showed DfT expected up to two-thirds of trucks arriving at some other ports to be "non-compliant". Hauliers without the right paperwork could be turned away, causing import and export delays and long queues, the document said.
DfT has said it expects such severe disruption at some ports that freight services contracted by government to import medicines after Brexit will avoid them altogether. "The risk and impact of disruption at these ports and terminals caused by a potential lack of trader readiness could affect the flow of vital goods," it said.
DfT's contract with identity is worth up to £9m, excluding VAT, and runs until September 2020, with the option to extend for another year. DfT will pay for services as they are delivered, so it may not spend the full budget.
Identity will recruit and train staff, as well as managing the delivery of stands and other equipment, but branding and training materials will be left to DfT and the Government Communications Service.
Staff will be expected to memorise a standard “EU exit script”, which DfT said would be updated as needed and “must be communicated speedily to all staff”.
As well as running the stands, Identity will be tasked with collecting non-personal information about the conversations between staff and “levels of haulier readiness” each day, which will be used to improve the campaign, DfT said.
The stands will be modelled on those used by Royal Mail and other organisations, as illustrated in the brief (left). The departments will also provide 4G-enabled tablets and the content of materials to be handed out at the stands.
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