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6th April 2020 – Latest Update to Traffic Commissioner COVID-19 Guidance

Once again, the Senior Traffic Commissioner has updated his guidance to goods and passenger vehicle operators, with the latest update being issued on 6th April 2020.  The complete and up to date document can be found here.

The 6th April update focusses exclusively on the position relating to furloughing Transport Managers. In particular, the additional detail recognises that there may be a number of scenarios which may lead to an agreement to furlough a Transport Manager, and that an individual operator’s position – and what is expected in terms of notifying the Traffic Commissioner – may differ, depending on the facts.

Most fundamentally, the update makes clear that the conditions of an operator’s licence require that the Traffic Commissioner should be notified of material changes to any operation, including a change to the operator’s ability to demonstrate professional competence.

However, the update goes on to provide some helpful worked examples:

  • In some circumstances, an operator may have been forced by the circumstances to lay up an entire licensed fleet.  Plainly if no vehicles are in operation, there is no requirement for a Transport Manager to exercise continuous and effective management – so a Transport Manager furloughed in these circumstances (i.e. when there are simply no vehicle operations to manage) is not something that the Traffic Commissioner would expect to be advised about.
  • Where operations have been reduced with the effect that some vehicles have been parked up and therefore some Transport Managers are furloughed (most likely to be the case in much larger operations), then the Traffic Commissioner would expect to be notified and details of the alternative present arrangements must be set out.
  • Where an operator intends to continue operating, but attempts to furlough its only Transport Manager (or all of its Transport Managers), then the Traffic Commissioner must be notified immediately and the operator must apply for a period of grace or seek a temporary exemption, in order to continue to operating without a Transport Manager – the default requirement for standard licence holders to demonstrate professional competence remains in place.

If you have any queries or concerns relating to furloughing Transport Managers, or any other aspect of operator’s licensing in these unprecedented times, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 01279 818280 or clicking here to send an email.