The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has secured access to Security-related repair and Maintenance Information (SERMI) on behalf of UK independent workshops, helping to secure the future of the UK market.
The industry body has been working with key stakeholders, including the UK government, vehicle manufacturers and other aftermarket associations, to ensure that appropriately audited garage operators and their authorised employees will have access to SERMI to the same level as those working in the European Union, using the same framework as the EU SERMI scheme.
The IGA will oversee the UK scheme on a not-for-profit basis and will make sure that access is affordable for all garage businesses.
The SERMI scheme is embedded in EU law and will launch on a rolling basis, country by country beginning on 1 October. The RMI’s ISO company, RMI Standards and Certification (RMISC) is also planning to launch the scheme in the UK on that date.
SERMI scheme offers reassurance
The solution is based around mirroring the system being delivered across Europe, and all operational delivery will adhere to the same precise rules.
“After many years of negotiations over access to security-related information, progress has finally been made,” said IGA Chief Executive Stuart James. “The IGA has broken through the barriers to secure access to the SERMI scheme in a post-Brexit Britain.”
The SERMI scheme will accredit vetted independent garages and their vetted employees to access manufacturer technical information on security systems such as keys and ECU coding, through one central audit and certification process.
Accredited garages will gain access to manufacturers’ security level information without the complexity of having to be accredited by each individual manufacturer.
The accreditation scheme will protect the identity of the accredited companies and individuals – whilst the individuals accessing the information will be anonymous to the manufacturers in order to protect their privacy.
“For many years we have worked to make this solution become a reality,” added James. “Being able to deliver this level of access on a not-for-profit basis is what a leading trade body should be doing on behalf of the sector it represents. By delivering the scheme at a price affordable to any garage business, we are safeguarding the future of the independent garage sector.”
Low cost freedoms
In a Q&A published on the IGA website, James stated that garages signing up to the scheme would pay £25 a month for a five-year contract or licence, which would cover the business owner and one of their technicians. Each additional technician can be enrolled for £75 for the full five-year period.
“This will give [garages] access to all vehicle manufacturers through one login,” he added. “It will allow freedoms we have never seen before in the UK, to access the information needed to repair a car. Obviously that information has to be paid for – downloads will be costed – but that cost can be passed on to the customer and they would have to pay that in a franchise garage as well.”
While ‘right to repair’ legislation is in place, stating that manufacturers must provide information to an independent garage on behalf of customers and therefore giving them a choice of who repairs their vehicles, there is nothing that states security elements of that information need to be provided.
“The SERMI scheme will provide clarity, choice and peace of mind for the consumer,” James continued. “If a consumer wishes to have anything that is linked to the security element of their car repaired in an independent garage, there is no obligation on the manufacturer to provide that information, which makes it very difficult for the consumer.
“For the garage too it is difficult to know whether changing a wiper blade or even a battery is linked into a component that is on the security system, so it makes it difficult for both parties to understand whether they can fix that car or not. This is all going to change now.
“For good, reputable garage businesses, a long-term solution to accessing vital security-related information is now here. We are inviting any garage interested in taking part in the scheme to get in touch with the IGA to register their interest.”