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The Salvage Code of Practice needs all industry parties on board to really succeed

By 10th March 2017No Comments
By Andy Latham, Guest Blog
The Salvage Code of Practice may launch on 1st October but it needs all industry parties on board to really succeed
It’s less than 15 days until the updated Salvage Code of Practice comes into force but following a recent announcement from the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association (MVDA), it’s clear it does not have the full support of all stakeholders.

The previous Salvage Code of Practice was reviewed after concerns were raised about the its operation, including the manipulation of salvage categories for financial gain and large fleet operators not categorising damaged vehicles. The review also factored in recent changes in vehicle design, construction and advanced safety systems.
The Association of British Insurers announced the new code a few months ago and many stakeholders indicated their reluctance to agree the updated version, which comes into force on Sunday 1 October. The British Vehicle Salvage Federation stated on 12 September that their stance was not to support the code for a variety of reasons including “the perceived and potential danger to both salvage dealer staff and indeed the general public”. They then issued a statement agreeing to the code. The MVDA, however are still refusing to endorse the code, saying “at this stage MVDA will not be becoming a named stakeholder”.
Complications like this are not unprecedented. Steve Fletcher, head of Auto Recycling Canada recounted recently how they were encouraged to sign up to a repair code that they did not approve. “Ontario brought in Wrecked Vehicle Branding laws about 10 years ago. At that time we were told to hold our nose and sign on and they would address our concerns in a 5-year review of the project. We forced them to have the review meeting…they reviewed the recommendations and have done nothing with them since. As some wisely (and painfully) said after – they agreed to a review but omitted to say they wouldn’t do anything with the review”.
Where does this leave the industry? 
The associations that represent the vehicle salvage and recycling industry have taken differing decisions, one to support the code, the other not to support the code. Both are keen to continue dialogue to update the code because they both want to see changes. The MVDA would like to support the code; everyone in the industry wants to see the code succeed and provide a full and proper level of protection for all motor salvage operators, insurers, repairers and consumers.
The MVDA’s reluctance has been clearly outlined in a statement to members that is available from their website but this doesn’t mean that their members will refuse to abide by the code. In fact, many will have to follow the code because of their contracts with insurers and other suppliers of damaged vehicles.
The code can ONLY succeed if it is agreed by all stakeholders, and through being constantly updated and enforced. All previous versions of the code were well written and relevant, but their ultimate failing was lack of enforcement. The Association of British Insurers needs to appoint an experienced engineer, respected by the insurance, repair and salvage industries who can check and audit all salvage decisions, suggest changes and highlight areas of improvement to the Code.
This enforcement is critical. If the UK Government can see that the code is working and that the industry is self-regulating then the issues will be left alone. The opposite will result in legislation that could harm the vehicle recycling industry through the influence of the vehicle manufacturers and insurers in the legislative process that could result in the re-sale of some parts being banned completely.

Article care of

Tim Kelly

Tim is a highly qualified Independent Engineer with over 20 years experience as an Engineering Assessor of damaged vehicles.

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