BSM retains high street centres

Article date: 20 June 2007

BSM, the UK's largest driving school, has decided against closing its network of high street centres, as announced in September 2006. The decision follows a review of the planned introduction of new technology to replace some of the work undertaken at the centres across the UK.

In September last year, BSM announced that the 107 centres would close by the end of December 2007, with a net reduction of 220 jobs. To help BSM driving instructors to manage their business, it was planned that a new IT system, including personal handheld devices, would replace the need for a network of centres. BSM has decided not to roll-out the handheld devices and will instead retain a network of high street centres to provide support to the instructors.

Of the 107 original centres, eight centres have already closed and a further nine will close as a result of centre mergers. Around 280 employees who were previously at risk of redundancy will now remain with the business. 

Commenting on these changes, Frank Wilson from BSM said: "We continuously look for ways to improve our service, but after an extensive review we felt that the handheld element of the system would not provide an enhanced service to learners and instructors.

"In hindsight, the decision to close all the centres was wrong and we would like to apologise for the uncertainty that this has caused for our employees, instructors and learners. We believe we can better serve our learner drivers in future by keeping a national network of centres and offering them the choice of contacting us in person, by phone or via the internet. Our centres will also be able to provide support to our network of driving instructors, a service other national driving schools do not provide."

To help BSM's instructors to manage their business and focus on the customer, some work - such as diary management and administration - will be carried out by a central contact centre team in Bristol.

New managing director
BSM is also announcing the appointment of a new managing director. Mike Hutter joins BSM from Kall Kwik UK Ltd, where he was managing director of the 160 franchise business centres. Prior to that, Mike worked in several senior positions in european marketing and HR at Mars inc. Mike joins BSM on 25 June, and will report to Frank Wilson, director of individual sales.

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RAC Press office contact:
Liz Kennett on (01603 688263/07800 699667) or Adam Cracknell on (01603 684916/07800 699517)

Notes to editors:

About BSM
Founded in 1910, BSM is the UK's most experienced national driving school. Each year it teaches over 160,000 learners how to drive. It has over 3,000 driving instructors across the UK.

While BSM is best known for teaching learner drivers, it is also one of the largest providers of training for driving instructors. It is a founding member of ORDIT (Official Registry of Driving Instructor Training) and plays an active role in lobbying the government on road safety and learner driver-related issues. 

About RAC
With around seven million members, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, windscreen repair and replacement, learning to drive, vehicle inspections and checks, legal and financial services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information - RAC is able to meet motorists' needs. RAC incorporates BSM, RAC Auto Windscreens, RAC Direct Insurance and HPI.

Aviva bought RAC in May 2005. The acquisition brings together RAC's powerful brand and customer base with the expertise and leading position in motor insurance of Norwich Union Insurance (part of Aviva). Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer, insuring one in seven motor vehicles and with a market share of around 15 per cent.

RAC's news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at www.racnews.co.uk.

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