The current system of goods and passenger vehicle operator licensing is due to change. EC Regulation 1071/2009 comes into force on 4th December 2011, and makes a number of changes to the rules on O licensing that will affect how the requirements to apply for and hold an O-licence will operate in future.
The Dept. for Transport is currently going through a consultation process on the interpretation of the new regulation but certain points seem to be inevitable.
1. Two types of Transport Manager.
The requirement for a standard, hire or reward, licence holder to have a professionally competent person in a position to oversee the daily running of the vehicles will recognise two types of transport manager:
An internal transport manager
Continuously performing their role for the operator in question and having a genuine link to the operator, such as being employee, director or owner. It will be possible however for the same person to act as a part-time, internal transport manager for more than one operator.
Traffic Commissioners would need to be satisfied that the person had a genuine link to the operators and satisfied the requirements for effective and continuous management for each of them.
An external Transport Manager
The operator may hire in the transport management on a consultancy basis. This will require
A written contract with the operator specifying the tasks to be performed.
The individual only to work for a maximum of four operators with a combined maximum total fleet of fifty vehicles.
Member states will have the freedom to lower the 4, 50 maximum, so Traffic Commissioners will be able to set lower limits in individual cases.
Further to confuse the issue, it will be possible for an internal transport manager to act as an external transport manager on a part time basis for other operator under contract.
The 4⁄50 limit would therefore apply to this individual.
O licence applications will in future require the transport manager to sign up to their individual responsibilities and declare their competence and good repute on the application form.
2. Professional competence
Currently, proof of professional competence is by means of either:
gaining a Certificate of Professional Competence, CPC, by passing an examination, or
obtaining one of a number of specific exempting qualifications.
Under the new regulation, the CPC will remain the normal method. The specific subject areas to be tested remain largely the same as now. However, instead of continuing to appoint one awarding body, OCR, it is proposed that more than one body should be allowed to run examinations and award the CPC, subject to each body going through a formal approval process.
The big change for the candidate is that the regulation also requires all new CPC examinations to test knowledge in both national and international operations. This means that the national only CPC will be abolished from 4th. Dec. 2011.
However, national CPCs issued before that date will remain valid indefinitely and holders wishing to upgrade to an international CPC will continue only to be required to pass an additional international module. Individual member states may continue to allow exempting qualifications available prior to 4.12.2011.
To summarise, from 4th. Dec. 2011 all standard national licence holders must have a transport manager with:
the new national, international CPC, or
a national CPC gained before 4th. Dec. 2011, or
an exempting qualification gained prior to 4th. Dec. 2011.
3. Financial standing
For a standard, hire or reward Olicence, the financial standing requirements are €9000 for the first vehicle and €5000 for each subsequent vehicle. This has to be demonstrated on initial application for the licence. Currently, non-Eurozone countries set their financial standing figures every five years, based upon the then-current exchange rate.
This will change to not only initial but also annual proof by operators that they continue to meet the financial standing requirements, by means of certified annual accounts. New businesses, who may not have access to annual trading accounts, may submit a certified opening balance statement. As an alternative, an operator may prove financial standing by means of a financial guarantee, which could be as simple as an attested overdraft facility.
Non-Eurozone countries will be required in future to reset their financial standing figure every year, as opposed to every five years.
4. National Register
In the interests of improving co-operation between the licensing authorities in each member state, the new regulation requires each state to establish and interconnect a national register of licensed operators. The register has to be established by 4th. Dec. 2011 and interconnected by 31st. Dec. 2012.
Most of the information required on the register is already stored by Traffic Commissioners on the Operator Licensing Business System, implemented in 2001. However, the EC says that one of the items that must be included as part of the national register requirement is the number, category and type of serious infringement that have resulted in a conviction or penalty in the last two years.
These are not currently captured electronically by the Traffic Commissioners, but must be included by 31st. Dec. 2015. These serious infringements are:
Exceeding weekly or fortnightly driving times by 25 percent or more
Exceeding daily driving time by 50 percent or more
Not having a tachograph, speed limiter or having a fraudulent device able to modify the tachograph speed limiter
Driving without a current roadworthiness certificate or driving with a very serious deficiency of brakes, steering, suspension, wheels, tyres leading to a decision to immobilise the vehicle
Transporting prohibited dangerous goods or transporting DG in non approved containment or without identifying them on the vehicle, thus endangering life⁄the environment, leading to a decision to immobilise the vehicle
Carrying passengers goods without holding a valid driving licence or operator licence
Driving with a falsified driver card or someone else’s card or one falsely obtained
Exceeding maximum weight by 20 percent or more for vehicles over 12 or more for vehicles up to 12t.
You can get an overview of the current Operator Licence by viewing our O Licence Resource page.