Public Inquiry & Traffic Commissioner Decisions

It is the Traffic Commissioner who makes the final decision at any Public Inquiry. In most cases, the Traffic Commissioner will decide on the day. That decision is based on the evidence presented in terms of written submissions, documentation, & verbal evidence given by all attending parties. It is vital to make sure that as an Operator Licence Holder or CPC Holder acting or has acted as the nominated Transport Manager attending the Public Inquiry. That every effort is made to prepare for the Public Inquiry, as there is only “one shot” at getting it right & getting the best result possible.

The Traffic Commissioner may also decide to inform the Operator Licence Holder or the Transport Manager CPC Holder in writing. If this is the case, the wait for the decision can be between twenty-eight to forty-five days.

The Traffic Commissioner will always write a letter to the concerned parties confirming their decision. The level of detail of this letter will depend on the complexity of the case. Public Inquiry decisions can involve intricate parts of the law; the decision will be based on common law & the powers given to a Traffic Commissioner under the Operator Licensing Legislation. Please see below the possible outcomes from attending a Public Inquiry.

Types of Traffic Commissioner Decisions 

Formal Warning: This is the most moderate of all possible sanctions available to the Traffic Commissioner. It does not mean it should be seen by an Operator Licence Holder or a Transport Manager receiving the formal warning as “getting away with it or getting off lightly.”

If either the Operators Licence Holder or a Transport Manager, after receiving a formal warning, then carries out further breaches of the Operators Licence Regulations of any type. The Traffic Commissioner’s Office is made aware that they have previously been given a Formal Warning.

The most likely result is the Operator’s Licence Holder or a Transport Manager CPC Holder having to attend a further Public Inquiry. The possibility of sanctioning a more severe nature could be imposed on Operator Licence Holder or a Transport Manager CPC Holder. The effects of which will most likely be far more reaching than those of a formal warning

When the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry issues formal warnings, they often go hand in hand with additional requirements or conditions, known as undertakings. These undertakings are attached to the Operator’s Licence original conditions of use. Undertakings can also be placed against the Operator Licence Holder, Transport Manager, or even Drivers.

Also, any Holder of any Operator’s Licence which given a formal warning. Can expect a record of the issuing of a curtailment against the Operators Licence they hold. It may affect their “Fitness.”

In regards to Standard Operators’ Licence then there is the possible effect of a formal warning on both the “Professional Competence” & “Good Repute” of both the Standard Operators Licence Holder & that of the Certificate of Professional Competence Holder, acting or has acted as the nominated Transport Manager.

A record will be made against them as part of the Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s information, as they are named parties on an Operator’s Licence receiving a curtailment. All information held by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner will be used by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office, as it sees fit.     

Curtailment: As the name suggests, it involves a reduction of some sort, in the case of attending a Public Inquiry. It is the number of vehicles permitted to be operated under the authority of the Operator’s Licence. The curtailment may be for a limited or indefinite period. If the curtailment is not time-limited, then if the Operator Licence Holder wishes to increase.

The effects of curtailment on the Operator Licence Holders commercial operation can be very little or massive. It usually depends on the number of the vehicles in operation & the size of the authority (Number of vehicles the Operator’s Licence Holder is allowed to operate at any one time) held under the Operator Licence at the time of the curtailment taking place.

Therefore, if the Operator Licence Holder uses the full authority of the Operators Licence held for the commercial operation’s proper running, any curtailment of that authority will have a substantial commercial effect on the Operator Licence Holder’s business.

It goes without saying that if the Operator Licence Holder is not using the Operator’s Licence’s full authority, then the commercial effect on the Operator Licence Holder’s Business may not be as significant.

Curtailments, when issued by the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry, may often lead to additional requirements or conditions. These requirements or conditions are known as undertakings; these undertakings are attached to the Operator’s Licence original conditions of use. Undertakings can also be placed on the Operator Licence Holder, Transport Manager CPC Holder, or even Drivers.

Any Holder of any Operator’s Licence with a curtailment place is receiving a can expect a record of issuing a curtailment against the Operators Licence they hold. It may affect their “Fitness” as Operator Licence Holders.

Regarding Standard Operators’ Licence, curtailment is possible on both their “Professional Competence” & “Good Repute” of both the Standard Operators Licence Holder & the nominated Transport Manager.

A record will be made against them regarding the Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s information, as being named parties on a Standard Operator’s Licence receiving a curtailment. All information held by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner will be used by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office, as it sees fit.

Suspension: This is where the Operator’s Licence is suspended, usually for a specified period. The suspension is not only applied to those vehicles operated under the authority of the Operators Licence that is suspended. Plus, those vehicles specified under the Operator Licence cannot be used under a different Operators Licence authority for the suspension period.

The effects of a suspension on the Operator Licence Holders commercial operation mainly depends on the suspension’s length & when the suspension is to start & finish. If the suspension period is small & started on a Friday at 00:00 & was to end on a Sunday at 00:00. Then it is most likely to be none or minimal effect on the Operator Licence Holder’s Business.

However, if the suspension was for a period such as Sunday 00:00 to the following Sunday 00:00 or even longer, then the Operators’ Licence Holder may find that their business’s effects could be on a large scale. I.e. the Operator Licence Holder may have to use sub-contract transport, which depending on the length of the suspension period, could be very expensive for the Operator Licence Holder’s business.

When the Traffic Commissioner at Public Inquiry issues a suspension, it often leads to additional requirements or conditions. These requirements or conditions are known as undertakings, and these undertakings are attached to the Operator’s Licence original conditions of use. Undertakings can also be placed on the Operator Licence Holder, Transport Manager CPC Holder, or even Drivers.

Any Holder of any Operator’s Licence that receives a suspension place can expect a record of issuing a suspension against the Operators Licence they hold. It may affect their “Fitness” as an Operator Licence Holder.

Regarding Standard Operators’ Licence, there is the possible effect of a suspension on both their “Professional Competence” & “Good Repute” of both the Standard Operators Licence Holder & that of the nominated Transport Manager.

A record will be made against them by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, named or nominated parties on a Standard Operator’s Licence receiving the suspension. All information held by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner will be used by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office, as it sees fit.

Revocation: This is the most extreme action that the Traffic Commissioner can take due to a Public Inquiry. In most cases & to put it simply, the Revocation of an Operator’s Licence will almost certainly result in putting the Operator Licence Holder out of business.

It will also make it very difficult for both the Operators Licence Holder to be a holder of any operator’s License of nature in the future. As they will most likely be considered as not being of either “Fitness” or “Good Repute” & not holding “Professional Competence.” For not only an extended period but most likely indefinitely one.

Because he/she was the nominated Transport Manager on the Standard Operator’s Licence, at the time of being revoked, or because when acting as the nominated Transport Manager, their actions are part of the reason the Standard Operators’ Licence has suffered revocation.

The Certificate of Professional Competence Holder acting or has acted on the Standard Operator’s Licence, suffering revocation. Will most likely find it very difficult to find work as a nominated Transport Manager or Transport Consultant on other Operator Licences, or have work/association with a business which holds an Operator’s Licence. Were that work involves interactions with the Operators Licence.

They will have most likely will lose both their “Professional Competence” & “Good Repute.” For not only an extended period but most likely indefinitely on. A record will be made against the named parties on the Operators Licence suffering revocation by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office. All information held by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner will be used by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office, as it sees fit.

The Importance of Undertakings & Public Inquiry Decisions

It is not fair to presume that the Traffic Commissioner’s will immediately stop individuals or commercial entities from operating vehicles due to non-compliance with the Operator Licensing Regime. Which the Office of the Traffic Commissioner is a part of.

The Operator Licensing Regime is in place to regulate the transport industry, ensuring vehicles are operated safely & there is fair competition within the transport industry. It is not in place to stop it from running. If the Traffic Commissioners were to revocate every party that came in front of them at Public Inquiry, it would not take long for the transport industry to have serious problems affecting the greater economy. Therefore a balance needs to be struck between the Operator Licensing Regime needs & the needs of the commercial world

This required balance is found when viewing many of the decisions taken at Public Inquiry by a Traffic Commissioner. In many cases, a Traffic Commissioner has taken a lesser course of regulatory action; but has made sure through undertakings that the Operator Licence Holder & others associated with maintaining the Operators’ Licence level of compliance. I.e. a CPC Holder acting as the nominated Transport Manager on a Standard Operator’s Licence. That adherence to the Operator Licensing Regime must be maintained.

Therefore an undertaking can be seen as a legally binding promise made by parties. Thus, in the Operator Licensing Regime case, those parties would be those name or nominated on an Operators Licence. Who are legally responsible for making sure compliance with the Operator Licensing Regime is maintained. Are given the option of making an undertaking(s) to ensure adherence to the Operator Licensing Regime in the future.

Those undertakings made to the Traffic Commissioner must be maintained. If not, those that have made those undertakings, such as an Operator Licence Holder or CPC Holder nominated on a Standard Operators Licence as the Transport Manager. Will very likely have to appear at another Public Inquiry on this basis alone. A Traffic Commissioner will take a much more hasher view, with those called to Public Inquiry on more than one occasion due to a failure to comply with undertakings.

Conclusion on the Effects of Public Inquiry Decisions

The types of decisions shown previously will also be connected to a failure in “Fitness“, “Good Repute” & “Professional Competence“, or a combination of the three against the Operator’s Licence Holder, or CPC Holder acting as a nominated Transport Manager. Due to a decision from attending a Public Inquiry.

It can be seen to be very serious for any of the parties mentioned. They would be wise to have a basic understanding & requirements of “Fitness“, “Good Repute“, & “Professional Competence” not only before attending Public Inquiry. But before becoming a responsible party for compliance with the Operator Licensing Regime.

Can Decision Made at Public Inquiry be Overturned

Decisions made at Public Inquiry by the Traffic Commissioner are not easily overturned because the reasons for having a Traffic Commissioner decision set aside are not many.

You would need to persuade an appeal hearing that the Traffic Commissioner had made an error on the law, acted unfairly, or was so plainly wrong that the decision cannot be justified.

Anybody wishing to appeal a decision made at Public Inquiry. Need to appeal with the Administrative Appeal Chamber (Transport) of the Upper Tribunal. Is an independent judicial body set up to hear and determine appeals against the Traffic Commissioners’ decisions.

If your public Inquiry does not turn out well, you should get advice quickly as there is a time limit by which appeals need to be lodged, which is no later than twenty-eight days; from the date of the Traffic Commissioners’ decision.

Because decisions are not easily overturned. The Public Inquiry should be looked at by those attending as their only chance to put their case forward & getting a favourable decision.

How can Oplas Transport Consultancy Help with Your Attendance at Public Inquiry?

Oplas Transport Consultancy has understood that formal legal representation & professional transport knowledge & experience both have a part to play in Public Inquiry Process, making up the best combination & achieving the best possible results for clients. Who has been called to attend a Public Inquiry?

Therefore, Oplas Transport Consultancy Public Inquiry service has a range of solutions, giving its clients access to both professional transport experts & qualified legal representation. In delivering the best possible results for our clients, when having to attend a Public Inquiry.

Oplas Transport Consultancy offers a full Public Inquiry Service for Operators Licence Holders, & Transport Managers called to Public Inquiry. This service includes consultation, public inquiry preparation, & representation.

Please remember that access to those professional service & solutions does not have to stop once the Public Inquiry has finished?

For more information on this service & you are an Operator’s Licence Holder, please go to our Contact Page.

For more information on this service & you are a Transport Manager CPC Holder, please go to our Contact Page.

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This Website and the information shown on it, has been produced as a basic guide, to show the relationship between a CPC Holder, & the Operator Licence Regime. Therefore, it cannot be considered as formal legal advice.