Another update to the Senior Traffic Commissioner's COVID-19 guidance to goods and passenger vehicle operators has been published, with the new version of the document being uploaded on 14th May 2020 - please click here to view.

The latest addition includes guidance on the provision of 'virtual' training courses.  This will be relevant to operators and transport managers who are due to attend courses during the currency of the Government's Covid-19 related restrictions - either in compliance with an O-licence undertaking, or for the more general purpose of continuing professional development.

The Guidance

The guidance is aimed in particular at training providers and is designed to give a steer on the sorts of adaptations providers should consider making in order to ensure the efficacy and validity of online courses that they offer.  Whilst the guidance stops short of explicitly stating that courses which do not meet the criteria listed will be held to be invalid, it is assumed that this will be the case, especially if they are being completed in order to comply with an O-licence undertaking.

The criteria listed in the Senior Traffic Commissioner's guidance are that:

  1. the instructor and all course participants should be visible to each other and audible throughout the training;
  2. participants should participate by means of a tablet, laptop or PC with the necessary camera/microphone capability.  Participation by smartphone is unlikely to be acceptable unless it has the full functionality of the larger devices;
  3. the course provider should be able to verify the identity of all participants and should do so before the course commences;
  4. the instructor(s) should be able to interact with participants, display materials and discuss it simultaneously;
  5. the number of people on the course should be such as to allow the instructor to ensure that all are sufficiently engaged and interacting on the course.  Six is regarded as the maximum number of attendees to allow this to be effective;
  6. the course should replicate as far as is possible the training which would have been delivered in person;
  7. there should be some element of assessment at a point or points during the training, to verify that participants have actively engaged in the course;
  8. while the virtual element of the course need not last seven hours (or 14 in the case of a two day TM CPC refresher course), total participation time for each attendee (including prior reading, completion of "homework" modules etc.) should be in this region.

Any operator or transport manager that has a requirement to attend a course in order to comply with a licence undertaking should check with the course provider that the course delivered will meet these criteria.

If you have a requirement to attend a training course and have queries or concerns about whether it will be valid, please get in touch with us on 07912 073994.

Correct at time of writing: 14th May 2020

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