Public Inquiry: Operator Licensing & Fitness, Good Repute, Professional Competence   

No Operators Licence Holder wishes to attend a Public Inquiry. As it means how they manage compliance with the Operator Licensing Regulations is being brought into question. By the regulatory & enforcement bodies, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner & DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency).

Therefore, those associated/named on that Operators Licence. Like Directors of a company or a partner of a partnership that holds an Operators’ Licence. All need to be aware of the possible actions taken against them for failures in compliance with the Operator Licensing Regime; when attending a Public Inquiry

If the parties mentioned have failed to keep the Operators Licence, they are named compliant to the Operators Licensing Regulations. It will mean that what is known as their “Fitness” & the possibility of their “Good Repute” & “Professional Competence” will be brought into question. Depending on the type of Operators Licence that they are named on.

What is met when an Operators’ Licence Holders “Fitness” or “Good Repute” and “Professional Competence” are being brought into question, or maybe suspended or even taken away? & what makes these terms so important when it comes to the Public Inquiry process.

Going back to the original application for the Operators Licence helps interested parties understand the importance of “Fitness, Good Repute” & “Professional Competence.”

Please Note: A Certificate of Professional Competence Holder acting as the nominated Transport Manager on a Standard Operators’ Licence would have the same legal liabilities, maintaining compliance to the Operator Licensing Regime. As of that of the Standard Operator’s Licence Holder.

Public Inquiry: Operator Licensing Regulations & the Definition of Fitness

Firstly, the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, on which the Operators Licence Regulations are based. “Fitness” is not defined in the “in the truest sense of the word.” It is more accurate to say that the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 contains guidance on what might affect the “Fitness” of a party. Who is applying for an Operators’ Licence, such as a certain number & type of convictions?

Along with certain types & number of convictions, The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 states. That when an Operators’ Licence application is under consideration, the applicant can be considered unfit to hold an Operators’ Licence. If they have been known to have been involved in “previous relevant activities” & be unfit to hold an Operators’ Licence.

Again, there is only guidance as to what classes as “previous relevant activities.” So, “previous relevant activities” are any activity in which the applicant has partaken in. Whilst working in any trade/business & those activities are considered relevant to their “Fitness”.

The result of this guidance is that an applicant’s activities may not have led to them being prosecuted & then receiving a conviction. But those same activities can be considered when determining the “Fitness” of an applicant to be a holder of an Operators’ Licence.

Therefore, all Operators Licence applicants need to understand that the Traffic Commissioner & their interpretation of “Fitness” play a critical role in their decision. Either with an Operators’ Licence applicant or an Operators’ Licence Holder are called to Public Inquiry. To decide whether they hold the required level of “Fitness” to be an Operators’ Licence Holder.

So, “Fitness” is the first test applied by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner to all Operator Licence applicants & which they need to pass, whether they are applying for a Restricted/Standard Operators Licence.

Many Operator Licence applicant/holders find themselves attending a Public Inquiry, not understanding the reason(s) why they are attending a Public Inquiry concerning their Operator Licence application. Or their ability to hold an Operators Licence.

Public Inquiry: Fitness & The Granting & Holding of an Operators Licence

When any party applies for an Operators’ Licence of any type & nature, their application is considered by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s Office (The Licensing Department is in Leeds). Part of the application process is confirming that the applicant has the required level of “Fitness.”

As previously stated, all Operator Licences applicants need to be considered as holding the required “Fitness” before the Operator’s Licence application. Will be granted by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

When an Operator’s Licence is granted, the requirement of “Fitness” needs to be maintained at all times, whilst the Operator’s Licence is considered as being valid. By those named/nominated on any Operators’ Licence, i.e. the Operator Licence Holder.” Fitness” is not regularly checked by either the regulatory or enforcement bodies. Such as the Office of the Traffic Commissioner & DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency), However, if information comes to the addition of one of the bodies mentioned, i.e., the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. An example of this would be information not declared on the original Operator’s Licence application. Then the Traffic Commissioner’s Office may wish to consider the Operator Licence Holder’s “Fitness”, & a Public Inquiry may be called to consider the Operator Licence Holder’s “Fitness.”   

However, the Office of the Commissioner does check whether there have been material changes to Operator Licences. An example of this would be a sole trader holding an Operator’s Licence & then trading as a Limited company. Licence holder’s circumstances and if, for instance, convictions have been incurred, conditions breached, prohibition notices issued, or undertakings not fulfilled, action can still be taken.

As “Fitness” is the basic requirement for an Operators Licence, it is associated with the granting of Restricted Operator Licences in the main. Because the Operator’s Licence Holder does not have to be considered as being of “Good Repute” or demonstrate “Professional Competence”. Either by holding a Certificate of Professional Competence themselves or employing/engaging a CPC Holder’s services.        

Public Inquiry: Good Repute & Granting & Holding of a Standard Operators Licence

When an applicant is applying for a Standard Operators Licence, their application is considered by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office.  As previously stated, part of that application process is the applicant’s requirement to confirm if they have the required level of “Fitness”.

But there is a further requirement known as “Good Repute”. Both the applicant for the Standard Operators Licence & the nominated Transport Manager. Must be considered as being of “Good Repute” for any Standard Operators Licence application to be successful.

Therefore just as previously mentioned with “Fitness.” Part of the process to confirm that a Standard Operators’ Licence applicant must have the required level of “Fitness.” The applicant must also be considered as being of “Good Repute,” along with the Certificate of Professional Competence Holder. Whose nomination as the Transport Manager is part of the applicant, Standard Operator’s Licence application.

The applicants & their nominee for Transport Manager need to report any relevant prosecutions & convictions they may have obtained to the Traffic Commissioner’s Office. Which are considered as affecting their “Fitness.” But also their “Good Repute.” Failure to declare any such relevant prosecutions & convictions at the Standard Operator’s Licence application stage can lead to the Standard Operators Licence being refused. It is also common for such a failure to trigger a Public Inquiry to consider the Operators’ Licence application.

When a Standard Operators Licence is granted, the requirements of “Good Repute” just as the with “Fitness.” Good Repute” not only applies to the Standard Operator Licence application process. “Good Repute” must be maintained at all times by those who are named/nominated on any valid Standard Operators’ Licence. Such as the Operator Licence Holder & the CPC acting as the nominated Transport Manager 

Failure to maintain “Good Repute”, which includes making sure that the Standard Operators Licence they are named/nominated on, is compliant with the Operator Licensing Regulations. Just as with “Fitness”, it is one of the main reason Standard Operators Licence Holders. Find themselves having to attend a Public Inquiry.

If it appears to the Traffic Commissioner that the Standard Operator Licence Holder is no longer of “Good Repute”, they have a statutory obligation to revoke the Standard Operator’s Licence. The revocation, in most cases, will be done via a Public Inquiry.

However, as previously stated in regards to Standard Operator Licensing, it is not only the Standard Operators Licence Holders that need to be of “Good Repute.” But as the CPC Holder acting as the nominated Transport Manager. So if the nominated Transport Manager is no longer of “Good Repute”, there is no statutory obligation to revoke the Standard Operators Licence, as the Standard Operator Licence Holder is still considered as being of “Good Repute”.

What needs to be considered is as the nominated Transport Manager is “No Longer of Good Repute.” Then the Standard Operators Licence would, in most cases. No longer can demonstrate “Professional Competence” & would be at risk of being revoked if the Standard Operators Licence Holder could not quickly demonstrate “Professional Competence”.  

But it would be reasonable to expect that the Standard Operators’ Licence Holder “Good Repute” would be at significant risk of being taken away & the Standard Operators Licence they hold being revoked. Due to them not taking action if they were aware of a reasonable period. That the nominated Transport Manager did not have “Good Repute” & therefore association with a Transport Manager CPC Holder, who is considered “No Longer of Good Repute.

Public Inquiry Definition of Good Repute & The Operators Licence Regulations

With “Good Repute”, the Goods Vehicle (Licencing of Operators Act), 1995 states that an applicant for a Standard Operators Licence must be of “Good Repute.” Just as with “Fitness”, Good Repute” has not been defined. It leaves what is considered “Good Repute.” to the Traffic Commissioners who have discretionary powers to determine whether individuals or companies are of “Good Repute”. Either when they apply for a Standard Operators Licence or at any time whilst the Standard Operators Licence is considered as being valid.

As per previous comments on “Fitness”, The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, the Operators Licence Regulations are based. It does not define “Good Repute,” it only guidance on what might stop a party from being considered as “being of good repute.”

Just as with “Fitness”, there are a certain number & type of convictions indicated. The scope of convictions that can affect “Good Repute” is a lot wider than what is used for the “Fitness” requirement.

Again, as with “Fitness”, along with the types & number of convictions. The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 states a Standard Operators’ Licence applicant “Good Repute” can be affected. If they have been known to have been involved in “previous relevant activities.

Once more, there is only guidance as to what classes “previous relevant activities” So, “previous relevant activities” are any activity which the Traffic Commissioner considered as being relevant to the determining of the “Good Repute” of any applicant/holder of a Standard Operators Licence.

If an applicant/holder has been involved with an activity that has not led to a prosecution. It is still possible for those same activities to be considered when determining their “Good Repute,” therefore their ability to be a holder of a Standard Operators’ Licence.

Many Standard Operators Licence applicants have found themselves having to attend a Public Inquiry. Concerning their “Good Repute” & unsure of the reasons, their “Good Repute” is being brought into question.

Therefore, it is essential to understand that the Traffic Commissioner & their interpretation of “Good Repute” play a crucial role in the decision. For their Standard Operators’ Licence application being granted, or if they are already the holder of a Standard Operators’ Licence & being called to Public Inquiry.

Public Inquiry: Operators Licence Holder & Loss of Fitness or Good Repute

If an Operators’ Licence Holder does not meet the test of “Fitness” or is considered “No Longer of Good Repute” by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office. Then the Operators Licence Holder needs to be aware that it is typical for the Office of the Traffic Commissioner to consider the loss of either “Fitness or “Good Repute” as a serious matter, which has led in many cases. To the revoking of the Operator’s Licence they hold.

The loss of “Fitness” or “Good Repute” can be either a limited or indefinite period. The length of time that the loss of “Fitness” or “Good Repute” will be in place for. Will be decided at Public Inquiry by the Traffic Commissioner chairing the Public Inquiry.

Tarnish “Good Repute” is when a Standard Operator Licence Holder has come very close to losing their “Good Repute”, but it has not been lost in the Traffic Commissioner’s opinion. Tarnish is used only concerning “Good Repute” matters.

Tarnished “Good Repute” should be looked at in the following manner by the Standard Operators Holder as they have had a warning. Also, they are on notice as receiving their first & final regarding their “Good Repute.”

Both “Fitness” & “Good Repute”, when lost, can be restored. It is typical for restoring “Fitness” or “Good Repute” to be associated with the Operator’s Licence Holder or Transport Manager CPC Holder agreeing to an undertaking, such as retraining. Or going before the Traffic Commissioner presenting relevant evidence. They show that they have the required level of “Fitness” or still are to be considered as being of “Good Repute.”

Therefore, if you are an Operator’s Licence holder with concerns over what part “Fitness” or “Good Repute” could play when attending a Public Inquiry, Oplas Transport Consultancy can help you. By using its experience from the information, you give us. We can provide you with some guidance to help you as an Operator’s Licence Holder. On the possible effects on the “Fitness” or “Good Repute”, you hold.

Public Inquiry: Operator Licence Holders & Professional Competence  

For Operator’s Licence Holders, the requirement of “Professional Competence” must be met by those who wish to hold a Standard Operator’s Licence. A Standard Operator’s Licence can be for either Goods Vehicles (HGV) or Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV). Within each of the two types of Standard Operators Licence mentioned.

There are a further two designations, sometimes known as the nature of the licence. The nature of an Operators Licence is whether the Standard Operators Licence held. It is for national operations only (operating vehicles within the UK only) known as a Standard National Operators Licence. Those licences allow international operations (operating vehicles both within & outside of the UK) known as a Standard International Operators Licence.

“Professional Competence” is required by all Standard Operator Licence Holders, along with the nominating of a suitably qualified person to be the Transport Manager. The appropriately qualified person must be a Certificate of Professional Competence Holder/CPC Holder.

There is no statutory requirement for Restricted Operator’s Licence holders to demonstrate “Professional Competence”. Either at the application stage or when being the holder of a Restricted Operator’s Licence.

Public Inquiry: Demonstrating Professional Competence

For any application for a Standard Operators Licence to be successful, the applicant (Proposed Operator’s Licence Holder) must demonstrate “Professional Competence”. There are three ways a Standard Operator’s Licence applicant or holder can demonstrate “Professional Competence”.

The Operators Licence Holder can demonstrate “Professional Competence”, as they are the holder of a Certificate of Professional Competence. Therefore, they can carry out the role of being the nominated Transport Manager. Under these circumstances, the Transport Manager is considered as an Internal Transport Manager.   

An Operator’s Licence holder can demonstrate “Professional Competence” by directly employing (PAYE) a person who is formally recognised as holding “Professional Competence,” i.e. a CPC Holder & can act as the nominated Transport Manager. Under these circumstances, the Transport Manager is considered by the Traffic’s Office as an Internal Transport Manager.

Thirdly the Operator’s Licence holder can demonstrate “Professional Competence” By employing a person under sub-contract or freelance conditions. The person must be formally recognised as holding “Professional Competence” & then they can act as the nominated Transport Manager. Under these circumstances, the Transport Manager is considered by the Traffic Commissioner’s Office as an External Transport Manager.

In all the cases shown above, the person undertaking the role of the nominated Transport Manager. They would be demonstrating their own “Professional Competence” through the holding of Certificate of Professional Competence. They also the “Professional Competence” of the Standard Operators Licence, they are acting as the nominated Transport Manager on.

Leading to many individuals carrying out the nominated Transport Manager’s role on a Standard Operator’s Licence, being known as the Transport Manager CPC Holder.

Public Inquiry: Effects of Losing Professional Competence

Maintaining “Professional Competence” by a Standard Operator’s Licence holder is fundamental to holding a Standard Operators Licence. If “Professional Competence” is not maintained by a Standard Operators’ Licence Holder for a valid reason, deemed acceptable as per the Operator Licensing regulations. Then the revoking of that Standard Operator’s Licence is almost inevitable.

Within the Operator Licensing regulations, there are a number of criteria concerning the failure of maintaining “Professional Competence”, which are considered as valid & the Standard Operator’s Licence held can remain valid for a limited period only.

An example of which is the nominated person acting as the Transport Manager, unable to carry out the nominated Transport Manager’s role & duties due to serious illness.  

If the Standard Operator’s Licence holder fails to maintain “Professional Competence”, & the reason is not considered a valid one. Or the Standard Operator’s Licence holder has not followed the correct procedure of informing the Office of the Traffic Commissioner the reason for not being able to demonstrate “Professional Competence.”

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner’s Office has a statutory obligation to revoke the Standard Operator’s Licence.

In most such cases, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner will give the Standard Operators Licence Holder an opportunity & time to demonstrate “Professional Competence” has been regained. So the Standard Operators’ Licence Holder needs to take the opportunity & time given & not waste it by gaining the ability to demonstrate “Professional Competence” as soon as possible.   

If a Public Inquiry is called concerning the failure to maintain “Professional Competence”, In that case, the Standard Operator Licence Holder needs to be aware of maintaining “Professional Competence” as a Standard Operator’s Licence Holder.

Failure to maintain “Professional Competence” is considered a serious failure of compliance with the Operator Licensing Regime by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has a statutory obligation to revoke a Standard Operators Licence not having the ability to demonstrate “Professional Competence.”

The above should indicate to any Standard Operators Licence Holder that if they have failed to maintain “Professional Competence” for no good reason & have found themselves attending Public Inquiry. Then the revocation of the Standard Operator’s Licence held will be very difficult to stop.

Public Inquiry & Operator Licensing Summary

Any Operators Licence Holder after reading the above, that the loss of either their “Fitness “Good Repute” or “Professional Competence.” It is a serious matter, which can seriously damage if not end their ability to be involved with transport in any business & the holding of an Operators Licence is required.

Public Inquiry: How to Contact Oplas Transport Consultancy

The Public Inquiry Service for either Operators Licence Holder’s & Transport Manager/CPC Holders called to Public Inquiry, Offered by Oplas Transport Consultancy. In the following areas: consultation, public inquiry preparation, & representation services.

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.