Parties to operator licensing may seem obvious but it is important to remember the roles which these parties play and what each person expects from the other.
The two principle parties are the Traffic Commissioner and the Operator. In addition to this your nominated transport manager is also a consideration as they play an important role in your business especially when it comes to your operator licence compliance.
The Traffic Commissioner
This party is responsible for regulating road transport businesses (HGV and PSV). They ensure that you are a person of good repute, that your transport business is set up in a way that so that road safety will be maintained at all times and that you will remain safe and legal.
They also have powers to amend your licence, to take your licence away altogether, temporarily suspend your licence or reduce the number of vehicles which you are authorised to operate.
Any business of any type and size can apply to the Traffic Commissioner for an operators licence. it is essential that the business which applies for the operator is the business which is going to be running the vehicles. In the event that this is not satisfied and the Traffic Commissioner becomes aware that it is an unknown operator using a third party operators licence, this will have extremely serious consequences on those operating and the licence will more than likely be revoked.
The company owners must ensure that the licence is managed correctly and that includes managing the transport manager. This is one of the key issues which is identified at public inquiry that company owners rely too heavily on the transport manager and they must be able to manage the transport manager to know if they are succeeding or failing in their role.
The Transport Manager
All standard licences have to have a CPC qualified transport manager in place for their licence. The transport manager is responsible for ensuring that the requirements for the licence are met and any issues are dealt with or reported to the Traffic Commissioner without delay.
The transport manager will ensure that the operator licence undertakings are adhered to and they are responsible for ensuing that the company directors are aware of their duties in respect of the licence and its compliance.
If they fail to do this both the transport manager and the company owners or directors can have their good repute taken away from them and this would prevent them from operating vehicles in the future unless they took a relevant step to restore their good repute.
Good repute for a transport manager and business owners are separate so it is possible to lose one without the other. This was the case at a public inquiry which we attended and supported the company with. The partnership had had a sleeping partner for some years and the party had not been disclosed to the Traffic Commissioner. It was a genuine error but one which ended their licence at the time. The Traffic Commissioner allowed them to apply for a new one and they are now trading successfully and they had no break in trading history at all which was a real success for them. However, the father of the business agreed that he would not oppose losing his goods repute as a transport manager as his son was then qualified and was happy to fulfil the role but the father retained his good repute as a company owner/director.
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