During the lifetime of an operator’s licence, it is likely that you will need to correspond with either the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, DVSA or both. The importance of getting this right could be more than what you initially think.
There is an undertaking given by each applicant that the Traffic Commissioner’s office will be kept informed of any changes that affect the licence. There is a time scale attached to this of 28 days; fail to notify significant changes or fail to notify them within that time scale and it is likely that questions will be asked as to why the notification was not made or why it was late. In certain circumstances, this could be sufficient to trigger the Traffic Commissioner questioning whether or not you are fit to hold a licence or of good repute.
However, the manner in which you reply could also affect your repute or fitness to hold a licence. Obviously, replies to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner should be written in a polite and courteous manner but if you fail to comply with statutory legislation on the content of business letters, this could also call into question your good repute or fitness to hold an operator’s licence.
The Companies (Trading Disclosure) Regulations 2008, state that every company shall disclose its registered name on business letters and any other form of business correspondence and documentation. This would include correspondence with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and also correspondence with the local DVSA testing station or local DVSA officers. The information disclosed has to include where the company is registered, its registered number and the address of the registered office.
There is a temptation to send off replies to DVSA by email, enclosing attachments. In one example an operator did just this. Although the email gave the operator’s name and mobile number, it didn’t have a footer, containing the information, which complied with the Regulations. Some months later, the operator was called to a public inquiry and one of the issues questioning the company’s fitness was the format of the email. Schedule 3 of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 states that when considering repute, the Traffic Commissioner can have regard to any information in his possession which appears to relate to the company’s fitness to hold a licence. This example shows how wide ranging that information can be.