As transport manager regulations have change, the role and responsibilities of a nominated transport manager have been placed under increased regulation and scrutiny following the introduction of the legislative changes in December 2011, this has taken some in the transport industry being taken by surprise with a significant number operator licence holders and their nominated transport managers facing investigation but being left with little idea as to the reasons why! This is a pity, as an indication that change was coming were there for all to see. From 2009 onward, the regulatory bodies were demanding more and more information concerning nominated transport managers, be it on a standard national or international operator licence. Next came a major questionnaire in 2010, which all operators were required to complete as a statutory requirement, and was connected to their continued ability to hold an operator’s licence. The main focus of this questionnaire was the operator’s management structure and how it related to their operator’s licence compliance.
The regulatory authorities viewed the non-completion of these questionnaires very seriously and there were a number of operator licence holders who had their operator licence revoked as a direct result. Unfortunately, the transport managers who were nominated on these licences had their names placed against an operator licence suffering revocation, and as per the transport manager regulations this would require the transport manager to declared on any licence applications that the transport manager might make in the future.
Transport Manager Regulations – The 2011 Changes
Under the changes to Transport Manager regulations in December 2011, all nominated transport managers had to be categorized as either “internal” or “external”. An “internal” transport manager will have a genuine link to the operator being a full-time or part-time employee, a director or an owner. An “external” transport manager will be a person hired by an operator under contract (i.e. a ‘consultant’), usually on a on a part-time basis, and who is permitted to work for a maximum of 4 operators with a combined total fleet of 50 vehicles (although Traffic Commissioners remain an authority to set lower limits in individual cases). These new requirements had a direct effect of creating new set of transport manager regulations for those working under self-employed terms. A further effect was that operators who hired transport consultants to act as their nominated transport manager, with a number of licence holders and external transport managers becoming non-compliant, because of a breach of this ‘4/50 rule’.
Transport manager examinations also changed under the legislation that was introduced in December 2011. Transport manager examinations are now required to test knowledge of both national and international operations. However, if a transport manager holds a national Certificate of Professional Competence (“CPC”) issued prior to December 2011, this qualification will remain valid and should the transport manager wish to update to an international CPC, he or she will only to be required to pass an additional international module of the CPC examination.
The rules regarding ‘grandfather rights’ changed too. Since December 2011, grandfather rights will only be granted to a transport manager if he or she is able to provide proof that they have ‘continuously managed’ a road haulage undertaking or a road passenger transport undertaking for a period of 10 years before 4 December 2009. Perhaps more importantly, new claims by transport managers for grandfather rights will not be permitted on or after 4 December 2013. An operator seeking to rely on ‘grandfather rights’, will need to ensure that their transport manager is capable of providing evidence of his or her exemption. Transport managers who are currently nominated on an operator licence through grandfather rights will maintain those grandfather rights and will be issued with new certification automatically (i.e. a new ‘acquired rights’ certificate). In addition, the Office of the Traffic Commissioners will keep a master list of all transport managers with acquired rights.
Transport Manager Regulations – The Effects of 2011 Changes
Transport manager regulations now made the transport manager far more a central & important figure in the operator licensing regime, than was the case only a few years ago. The transport manager now is seen in the eyes of the regulatory body, as being the first line of defence in stopping none compliance, by not only the drivers, but the operator licence holder as well. No longer is it the case of “checking tachographs & Booking MOT tests”; Now a transport manager must manage upwards as well as downwards (Quote from Beverley Bell Senior Traffic Commissioner). Therefore the case can be made that the transport manager regulations in place today, mean that all transport managers need to view themselves, inrelation to compliance as being seperate legal entity, if their actions as a transport manager is brought into question by either the enforcement or regulaory bodies, at public inquiry.