Lesley O’Brien OBE FCILT is an award-winning business professional with over 40 years’ experience in the transport industry. She is an advocate for women in the industry and the small transport operator. As well as running haulage company Freightlink Europe and consultancy Freight Train, Lesley is a Trustee of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) Benevolent Fund, a member of the RHA Security Committee and Regional Council and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT).
She is a tireless ambassador of the transport industry and served 9 years as an RHA Main Board Director. In 2020 she launched transport forum, Freight People, to unite and encourage those working in the transport industry to support one another in addressing industry issues and to discuss hot topics. Lesley uses her voice whenever possible to support and encourage those underrepresented in the industry, to raise standards, improve road safety and change industry perception.
In 2020 she was awarded the OBE for services to diversity and inclusion in the transport industry and in 2022 was elected to the Motor Transport Wall of Fame and voted Northern Transport Personality of the Year by Transport News. She is a regular contributor to the Commercial Motor Legal Panel, Motor Transport Vox Pop and is invited by the BBC and other media to discuss topical and transport related issues.
Managing Driver Agencies and Protecting Compliance
Drivers can be a company’s biggest asset or weakest link! The relationship between hauliers and driver recruitment agencies is strained at the best of times, and yet driver recruitment agencies provide a vital and necessary link in the logistics supply chain. Agency drivers get bad press, yet whose fault is this? Close collaboration and understanding between recruitment agencies and hauliers is essential but is often missing. Sadly many agencies do not understand the basics of a driver’s role and industry regulations, yet they are employing our drivers. Are hauliers too failing to provide agencies with the job criteria and driver specifics? When something goes wrong on the road, liability falls at the door of the Operator Licence Undertaking, but should agencies hold some responsibility and be answerable to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner?