Cyclescheme is the UK's most popular cycle to work benefit, creating more cyclists than any other provider.

Cyclescheme meets benchmark standards for management, information security, and data processing. Here’s why that matters.

First the “too long, didn’t read” version: you can relax – you and your employees are in safe hands with Cyclescheme because it follows internationally recognised best-practice procedures. That’s critical for any company that deals with personal data and financial information.

The standards that Cyclescheme are certified for were created by ISO, the International Organisation for Standardisation. Agreed by experts, ISO standards are, its website says, “a formula that describes the best way of doing something”. As of January 2021, there were 23,610 ISO standards covering everything from Covid ventilators to freight containers, environmental management to business management.

You might already be aware of some of the standards from the world of cycling. For example, ISO 5775 is the international standard for labelling bicycle tyre and rim sizes. A tyre’s ISO designation looks like this: 28-622. It describes the width of the tyre and the diameter where it sits on the rim, both in millimetres. It tells you that our example tyre is compatible with a 622 millimetre diameter rim. So you know that it will fit your wheel – that the tyre is literally fit for purpose. That’s the whole point of ISO standards.

Cyclescheme is accredited to three ISO standards

Higher standards

Cyclescheme is certified to three ISO standards – and has been for some years now. They are:

ISO 9001:2015 

ISO 27001:2013

ISO 27701:2019 

The numbers don’t tell you anything by themselves. What’s important, as with ISO 5775 for tyres and rims, is the standards they reference. Let’s unpick those.

ISO 9001:2015 is a set of criteria for quality management. Its purpose is to ensure that customers – you and your employees – receive consistently high services. The principles it requires that organisations follow include: customer focus; the motivation of top management; and continual improvement. Cycle to work providers such as Cyclescheme aren’t obliged to be certified to ISO 9001:2015. The certification is essentially a guarantee that you’re working with an organisation that will go the extra mile for you, because it has procedures in place to ensure it does so.

ISO 27001:2013 deals with information security management. While it too isn’t obligatory for cycle to work providers, certification to this standard offers reassurance that the financial information, employee details, and other information you submit to Cyclescheme will be kept safe and secure. Anyone can assert that information will be kept secure; a company certified for ISO 27001:2013 has procedures in place to ensure that information is kept secure.

ISO 27701:2019 is a recently published standard that governs privacy information management. It essentially extends the scope of ISO 27001:2013. You’ll have heard of GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. This standard helps companies comply with GDPR. An organisation that’s certified for ISO 27701:2019 can demonstrate that it has excellent data privacy information management systems in place. In other words: you can trust it with your data.

It’s possible to sign up with a cycle to work provider that isn’t certified for these standards, just as it’s possible to buy a bicycle tyre without any ISO markings. But why would you? You don’t want to hope that a product or service is fit for purpose: you want to know it.

The sky’s the limit

As well as being certified for the above ISO standards, Cyclescheme also has full credit broking permission with FCA, the Financial Conduct Authority. “It underpins our ‘Freedom to ride’ scheme,” Cyclescheme’s Senior Product Manager Laurence Boon explained. “'Freedom to ride’ enables employers to offer schemes with limits in excess of £1,000, meaning that their workforce can save money and spread the cost on more expensive items like e-bikes or cargo bikes.”

The default limit for cycle to work is £1,000. That’s not because of the scheme itself, which doesn’t specify a maximum value, but because of consumer credit rules.

Cycle to work is a tax-exempt loan scheme. Any employer offering it must be covered by a consumer credit licence authorised by FCA. Some employers, such as banks and local councils, have a licence of their own. As such, they’ve always been able to offer their employees cycle to work packages in excess of £1,000. The vast majority of employers have traditionally depended on the cycle to work Group Credit Licence issued by the Government – which has a limit of £1,000.

Because Cyclescheme has FCA authorisation, employers who sign up to ‘Freedom to ride’ don’t require their own consumer credit licence. ‘Freedom to ride’ thus makes it possible for others to enjoy the same cycle to work benefits as employees of banks and local councils.

“Employers can utilise our 'Freedom to ride' service without needing to complete any additional paperwork,” said Laurence Boon. “All they need to do is follow our simple implementation guide that makes clear how they should and shouldn't promote the scheme.”

For any employee wanting or needing a bike and/or equipment that costs more than £1,000, ‘Freedom to ride’ is a big deal. And it’s not something that all cycle to work providers offer. “Not all providers have gone through the procedure of gaining Full Authorisation,” Laurence Boon added.

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