A transport manager who incorrectly applied for an Acquired Rights certificate has been told he can no longer rely on it.
Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, Richard Turfitt, took action to prevent Peter Dobney from relying on Acquired Rights after finding that he did not meet the criteria.
Removing his professional competence, the industry regulator said that Dobney would have to obtain a certificate of professional competence by examination before he could apply to be a transport manager again.
Dobney, who previously worked under Grandfather Rights, had failed to read guidance when he applied for the Acquired Rights certificate.
Applicants were required to have continuously managed a road haulage or road passenger transport operation in a member state for a period of ten years before 04 December 2009.
At a public inquiry into Hanby Farms Ltd, the licence on which Dobney was nominated transport manager, the Traffic Commissioner heard that he had not realised what was required to meet Article 9 of EC Regulations 1071/2009.
The firm was called before the Traffic Commissioner following a maintenance investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in March 2014.
A vehicle examiner reported that the business had no vehicle safety inspection records, routine inspections had not been planned in advance and no driver defect reporting system was in place. The business had also failed to notify the Commissioner of a change in maintenance provider, as required.
A vehicle operated under the licence had also been issued with a prohibition for a brake related defect.
Operators are required to specify how frequently routine safety inspections will be undertaken on their fleet and ensure they happen on time.
During the inspection, Dobney was not available to assist the examiner.
He asked a driver to provide paperwork to the DVSA officer but the documents did not give an accurate record of time between planned safety inspections.
After hearing evidence from the business, Turfitt made an order to revoke the operator’s licence from 23:59 on 02 September. The order against Dobney also led to an automatic disqualification from acting as a transport manager. The rehabilitation measure set by the Traffic Commissioner will have to be satisfied before that disqualification can be lifted.
Turfitt said: “If someone received an Acquired Rights certificate they should have been continuously managing a transport operation for 10 years before 04 December 2009. If someone has obtained an Acquired Rights certificate in error or fraudulently they can expect to have that certificate taken away.
“It is important for transport managers with acquired rights – and their operators – to check that they meet the necessary criteria.
“This case also demonstrates the responsibility transport managers have for the continuous and effective management of a transport operation. They are accountable for compliance standards and should be available to assist examiners. It should not be left to drivers or other staff. The statutory duty is with the named transport manager. An operator’s transport manager should be present when enforcement authorities, especially the DVSA, come to inspect vehicle and driver records.
“Failing to meet the most basic requirements of an operator’s licence is a cause of serious concern. It is important for all operator licence holders – including those in industries where a vehicle may be seen as consequential to the business – to recognise and support the commitments they have made when applying for a licence.
“These are the basic elements of compliance and without them traffic commissioners will always have real concern about an operator’s future.”