A recent case has highlighted the importance of providing VOSA and the Traffic Commissioner’s office with requested information. The case involved the request that was made to all transport managers prior to the implementation of changes in the operator licensing regime which allowed Traffic Commissioners to take direct action against transport managers at a public inquiry.
The transport manager had been a nominated transport manager since 2009. He was asked by the Office of the Traffic Commissioner to complete a new TM1 form prior to the implementation of Regulation 1071/2009 in December 2011. He submitted the new form but without the company director’s counter signature. As a fully completed form had not been received, the Traffic Commissioner’s office sent a letter to operator saying that it was minded to revoke its operator licence. The transport manager maintained that there was no legal requirement for the director’s counter signature.
The transport manager wrote to his local Traffic Commissioner who advised him that the new TM1 form required additional information to the old one. He also wrote to the Senior Traffic Commissioner who advised him that failure to complete a new TM1 would result in questions being asked and that these may be undertaken at a public inquiry. Failure to complete and return the form would be a matter to be taken into account when considering whether he was professionally competent. The Senior Traffic Commissioner urged him to take specialist legal advice.
As it happened the transport manager was subsequently called to a public inquiry on the matter of falsification of tachograph records. The issue of the failure to complete the TM1 was not discussed. However at a subsequent appeal, the Upper Tribunal stated that it should have been dealt with at the Public Inquiry and that the refusal of a transport manager to provide a compliant document is highly relevant to the issue of professional competence and good repute. The transport manager was warned that if the matter is not resolved it may well be an issue should the appellant wish to become a transport manager in the future.
If you are not sure as to what effect actions may have on the requirement to be of professional competency and good repute, then, as the Senior Traffic Commissioner recommended, seek specialist advice.