Story – how SPS began

The origins of the Specialist People Services Group stretch right back to 1983 when two Bradford-based entrepreneurs, Mark Lawn and John Bussey, opened the first Driver Hire recruitment office. The business specialised in providing relief drivers to local firms when a regular driver was not available, for example due to holidays or sickness.

The Driver Hire business model proved to be extremely successful and the business expanded rapidly, through a network of mainly franchised offices. By the end of the 1990s there were Driver Hire offices throughout the UK.

Two core attributes of the business were by now well established – and remain true to this day. The first was a commitment to delivering extremely high standards of customer service and legal compliance, in an industry that was becoming increasingly regulated.

The second was Driver Hire’s position as the only specialist transport and logistics recruiter with a truly nationwide network. The company faced competition from national generalist recruiters and from local specialists, but no other business combined the two.

A New Era

The next stage in Driver Hire’s development came in 2004, with new investment from Aberdeen Asset Management (later Spirit Capital). Since the founders felt that their work at Driver Hire was done, there was also new management, led by current CEO, Chris Chidley.

Over the past decade Driver Hire’s core business has continued to grow, and at the same time, innovative new products and services have broadened the customer base. These have included training services, a broader range of recruitment services and an increasing range of services delivered online. Every new product or service is developed with the needs of the customer in mind.

When Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) replaced Spirit Capital as the company’s primary investor in 2011, the rate of development at the business accelerated, with the launch of Driver Hire Australia, the rapid growth of Driver Hire Training, and the launch of eServices as a stand-alone business.

The acquisition of ISS Labour in November 2013 confirmed the evolution of the small company that started out in Bradford 30 years earlier into the diverse but intrinsically linked group of successful businesses that today comprise Specialist People Services.

A Strong Future

Resting on laurels has never been part of the nature of this business. Proud as we are of our past, the desire to innovate and to build on our achievements is as strong as ever.

We will be pursuing growth opportunities in every area of our business, in the UK and abroad, and both organically and through possible future acquisitions.

The Specialist People Services Group draws its strength from its people – from their dedication and sense of common purpose. Throughout our business, confidence is high and we are looking forward to a strong future together.