Transport Managers – Legal Entities

Unfortunately, as a partial result of the 2011 regulations, an increasing number of nominated transport managers find themselves in a difficult position i.e. what to do when he or she is doing their best to maintain compliance but has run into difficulties with the ‘boss’ (i.e. the operator licence holder) who takes their responsibilities less seriously. Under such circumstances, the transport manager could be placed in a potential conflict of interest with his or her employer. Naturally, transport managers will not wish to undermine their employer, but all transport managers will now need to safeguard and protect their own legal position as a matter of priority.

This situation has been recognized by the Senior Traffic Commissioner, Mrs. Beverley Bell, who says, “That to be effective, transport managers have to manage upwards, as well as downwards, and not allow operational pressures to take precedence over legality and safety. It was important that transport managers took care to protect their own good repute, even if that meant potentially upsetting their employer. If as a transport manager you are not being taken seriously by your employer then e-mail your directors and set out your concerns. Keep a copy of the email. If you find you don’t know what you are doing then again email your employer with a request to go on a suitable course. And if you are incompetent, go and find another job that suits your skills and competences.”

Transport Managers – Maintaining Compliance

It is plain from the wording of the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s statement, combined with the legislative changes which have been made, that a nominated transport managers should view themselves as being one of two parties legally responsible for the maintenance and compliance on any operator’s licence they are named on. In other words, transport managers must recognize that they are a separate legal entity, responsible for the compliance of the operator’s licence.

The practical effect for all nominated transport managers taking the above stance would be limited, i.e. the day to day work of maintaining compliance would remain the same. However, under certain circumstances, the relationship between nominated transport managers, and the operator licence holder could become more adversarial in nature and might lead to a breakdown in their professional relationship i.e. in a situation where one party is failing to discharge their legal duty, & the possible effect this has on both i.e. attendance at  Public Inquiry.