Transport Manager Public Inquiry

Transport Manager: If called to public Inquiry, things to consider, & what actions to take? 

All nominated transport managers must now appreciate that if called to a Transport manager Public Inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner (or their Deputy) can and will investigate the role the transport manager has played in connection with any relevant breach of undertaking or non-compliance. Also, a transport manager can now be called to a Transport Manager Public Inquiry, or Transport Manager Hearing. At either mentioned processes, the Traffic Commissioner will investigate the role that the party acting as a formal recognised transport manager, on an operator’s licence has played. In connection with any relevant breach of undertaking or non-compliance, to the operator’s licence regime.

There is potential for a transport manager to be disqualified from acting as a nominated transport manager on any future operator’s licence within the EU. At either a Public Inquiry, or Transport Manager Hearing, there will be main areas which are investigated, as no two Public Inquiries, or Transport Manager Hearings are the same. But in relation to for transport managers there are normally two main areas of consideration for the Traffic Commissioner, before making any such decision.  

One such area of consideration for the Traffic Commissioner will consider at either a Public Inquiry, or Transport Manager’s Hearing. Is the transport manager’s ability to be holder of a Certificate of Professional Competence, this is often known as being a CPC Holder. Being CPC Holder basically means, that the transport manager has obtained a formally recognised level competence in the managing of transport operations, this is also known as “Professional Competence”. Therefore, if a transport manager is found not to have the required level of professional competence, then their ability to be a CPC Holder is no longer valid. In practical terms this means the transport manager Certificate of Professional Competence is not valid.

Professional Competence can in some cases be restored. This normally means the transport manager having to retake the required Certificate of Professional Competence examination, & the new Certificate of Professional Competence, being issued to the transport manager. Plus, the newly gain Certificate of Professional Competence being recognised, by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.   

The other main area of consideration for the Traffic Commissioner, is what is known as the “Good Repute”. Good repute is an area of the operator’s licence regulations were much has been written, & there are many opinions. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters, is that of the operating licensing regime. Therefore, it is the advice of Oplas Transport Consultancy, that any party looking to become, or is a Certificate of Professional Competence holder, & looking at being a nominated transport manager on an operator’s licence should take the time to be familiar with the guidance available from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner website, in relation to “Good Repute”

The Traffic Commissioner at any Public Inquiry, or Transport Manager’s Hearing, would expect the Transport Manager to be fully aware of what is expected of a transport manager in the area of “Good Repute” in regards to operating licensing regulations.

In regards to the operator’s licensing regulation’s, “Good Repute” has no strict definition; In many cases a transport manager receiving a conviction, in an area which may not seem related to their work as a nominated transport manager, can have a possible adverse effect on their “Good Repute”. In a lot of cases it is the Traffic Commissioners interpretation of the formal guidance on “Good Repute” that determines their opinion of what effects “Good Repute”. But the concept “Good Repute” is far reaching and can include many areas. Examples of those areas are:

  • Failure when acting as a nominated transport manager to keep continuously and effective control of the road transport undertaking’s operations
  • Where said transport manager has had a conviction for road traffic offences such as drink driving, or road transport offences a tachograph infringement.
  • A current or previous history of involvement, with Operator’s Licences where they are deemed under operator’s regulations, as having control in relation to compliance to the operator licensing regime. When the said mentioned operator’s, licences have an adverse history. Examples of an adverse history would be warnings from the enforcement body, the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), prohibition notices. Any history of attendance at public inquiry, were there was orders for revocation curtailment or suspension.
  • Where the transport manager has been made bankrupt, (Personal or Business), or involved with sequestration, administration or liquidation cases under certain circumstances.

Transport Manager Public Inquiry: So, what actions to take, if called to Public inquiry

  1. Do not panic! Read your call-up letter so you know the reason why you are being called and whether or not the licence holder is being called to the same public inquiry (or whether it is just a transport manager public inquiry).
  2. Talk to the licence holder themselves. This is important, as even if you the only person being called, this will still have an effect on the licence holder. Even if you feel your relationship with the licence holder is strained you should make the effort to talk (see the comments, below) as this will vied by the Traffic Commissioner as your having taken a proactive approach. Remember to document the conversation itself, so that all parties understand their position in relation to the upcoming hearing.
  3. Should the nominated transport manager consider resigning his or her position if they feel the operator is being uncooperative? This is a difficult question to answer, but if the licence holder continually refuses to operate in a compliant manner – even after the transport manager has highlighted legal shortcomings, the transport manager must seriously consider their resignation from the operator’s licence. This does run the possibility of them being labelled as a whistle blower, by certain parties connected with the operator’s licence, they have been nominated on.

Frequently asked questions about a Transport Manager Public Inquiry

What are the rights of a transport manager at public inquiry?

Any party who is the holder of a Certificate of Professional Competence, & is acting as the nominated transport manager. Is no different from any other induvial, facing possible legal action against them. They have the right to be legally representation at the legal process, which they are required to attend. Therefore, the attendance at Public Inquiry, or a transport manager’s hearing, is no different. This goes hand in hand with the right to a fair hearing.

The Transport Manager, & their representative are able to present their case to the Traffic Commissioner. This entitlement includes, the give evidence, making submissions, & representations, along with the opportunity to speak, & to ask questions. The Traffic Commissioner will then decide if the evidence given in the forms mentioned, on behalf of the Transport Manager is appropriate, for the purposes of the Public Inquiry, & its proceedings.

Any party giving evidence to the public inquiry, such as a DVSA officer, can expect to be asked questions by the Transport Manager, or by a representative acting on behalf of the Transport Manager. The Traffic Commissioner will also put questions to all parties, at the Public Inquiry. This would also be the same at a Transport Manager Hearing.

What are the transport manager obligations at a transport manager public inquiry?

Any CPC Holder who has been acting as a nominated transport manager, & has been called to a Public Inquiry, or a Transport Managers Hearing to give evidence is not given under oath, as required when in a court of law. However, there is a requirement to be candid when giving their evidence. If the transport manager is found that they have not been truthful, when giving evidence at the hearing. They face the real possibility losing their fitness/professional competence, & their good repute. Plus, any evidence they have given will most likely hold little weight at the hearing. Furthermore, giving false evidence at a Public Inquiry is a criminal evidence. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner has the right to refer any transport manager, or any party giving false evidence, to the police for them to investigate. If after the police investigating it is found that a party, has been lying or producing false documents. The matter could lead to prosecution.

How should a transport manager handle himself / herself at Public Inquiry?

All parties not just transport managers, should be honest with their evidence. Telling the Traffic Commissioner everything they did or did not do, in attempting to make sure that compliance was maintained with the operator licensing regime. I.E the actions they took as the nominated transport manager, when facing problems causing problems none compliance. Examples of this would be, was any such refresher training undertaken by the Transport Manager, or did they organize any training for any other members of staff, involved with the maintaining of compliance of the operator’s licence, any example would be the organizing of driver’s cpc training. 

The above questions, & the answers given are helpful to those reading them. They are important & will be questions, & answers that any transport manager facing a Public Inquiry, or Transport Managers Hearing will need to consider. But the most pressing question a transport manager will need to consider is whether he or she requires separate representation from the operator, then the above questions can be look at & answers found before appearing at the Public Inquiry, or Transport Managers Hearing.

Hopefully it has become plan to see to any the transport manager who is a Certificate of Professional Competence. Needs to think very carefully about safeguarding and protecting his or her own position, i.e. their professional competence, & good repute. To this end, they need to be aware of all available tools to them. One such tool which any transport manager, facing a Public Inquiry, or Transport Managers Hearing. Is the finding, & instructing of representation, in helping them to both prepare, & represent them at. Either Public Inquiry, or Transport Managers Hearing.  

Instructing an experienced transport solicitor or transport consultant will help the transport manager in a very difficult and stressful situation. One of the ways in which separate representation can help the transport manager, is by attending the meeting with the operator licence holder, (If the operator’s licence holder is part of the public inquiry in order to discuss the public inquiry). This is especially true if the professional relationship between the transport manager and the operator licence holder has become strained, and it may actually help to repair the relationship, which in turn may help to restore the compliance of the operator licence before the public inquiry is held. The repute of both parties will be at risk, so ensuring that all systems of work are fit for purpose, before the public inquiry. Is in the best interests of both the Transport Manager, & operator’s licence holder.

From the information contained on this page, you feel that you need more formal advice then please use the contact form on this site, or click the link shown, to our website with more information on the public inquiry process.

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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.