If you are an aspiring commercial Transport Manager and need the Operator CPC qualification then the following information should be of use.
Operator licensing background
Most goods vehicles that weigh more than 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and are used commercially on the public highway are subject to the conditions of the Operator Licensing Scheme.
The Operator Licence scheme was introduced in the 1968 (Road Traffic Act) to control the quality of commercial vehicle operations. In 1979 EU Directive 74/561 required Operator Licence holders to have sufficient financial standing, be of good repute and demonstrate professional competence. The CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) was born.
Having an Operator Licence entitles you to transport goods (either your own or your customers) on the public highway for hire or reward. What type of Operator Licence you need will depend on a number of factors: Are the goods you’re transporting your own or “other people’s” and are you transporting the goods in the UK only or internationally? Knowing this will determine which of the following licences you will need to apply for.
There are 4 types of Operator Licence.
Restricted Operator Licence.
Also known as “own account”. This type of Operator licence is required if you are moving your own goods in a goods vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes GVW. A good example of a restricted licence holder could be a scaffold company who use a vehicle to transport their own scaffold equipment to and from site. No CPC holder is required.
Standard operator national licence.
A standard Operator licence is needed if you transport other peoples goods for hire or reward in a goods vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes GVW. A good example of a Standard National Operator Licence holder would be a general haulage company who transport other people’s goods from one location to another within the UK. A CPC holder is required for this type of licence.
Restricted national operator licence.
Also known as “own account”, this type of Operator licence is required if you are moving your own goods in a goods vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes GVW, internationally. A good example of a restricted international licence holder could be an events logistics company moving their own equipment from London to Madrid. No CPC holder is required.
National and International Standard Operator Licence
This is required if you intend to transport “other people’s” goods for hire or reward internationally in an LGV vehicle (over 3.5 tonnes.) A typical example would be a general haulage company who transport goods internationally, i.e. London to Paris.
Whether you need a Restricted or Standard Operator licence you will still have to go through the same application process (subject to being granted an Operator licence) and adhere to similar criteria*. Including
Adhering and complying with drivers’ hours regulations (including recording, analysing and retaining)
goods vehicle maintenance contract (vehicles must be kept in roadworthy.)
Have an operating centre / off street parking ((where necessary) written permission to park vehicles)
Advert in local paper (local residents may have and can voice objections)
Have financial resources 900 Euros for 1st vehicle, then 5,000 Euros per extra vehicle)
Be of good repute
(*) For restricted Operator licence applications no CPC holder is required. For Standard National or International Operator licence applications a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) holder is required. A CPC holder, (typically The Transport Manager) is responsible for day to day running of the goods vehicles.
The CPC holder is appointed to ensure the organisation adheres to the conditions of the operator licence scheme, and all that goes with that (i.e. Drivers’ Hours, maintenance of vehicles, as above.) Each Operator’s Licence is valid for life, but is subject to five yearly reviews. A licence can only be terminated if the operator surrenders it, if he fails to pay the correct fees on time, or if it is revoked by the Traffic Commissioner.
Applications for an Operator licence are made in writing to The Traffic Commission using form GV 79 and TM1(G) (for Standard Operator National or International licence applications.) In the 1st instance all Operator Licence applications must be sent to the Traffic Commissioner in Leeds.
VOSA Licensing Application Services
386 Harehills Lane
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
The Traffic Commissioner will decide if your application is successful or not. Your application must include all the supporting evidence required, for example vehicle maintenance contract, sufficient evidence of funds, advertisement in local paper, permission to park vehicles at operating centre (where required) etc. If you need an Operator Licence you should apply at least 9 weeks before the date when the licence is needed. The Traffic Commissioner can refuse the use of an operating centre on road safety, parking and environmental grounds.
There are seven Traffic Commissioners who are appointed by the Secretary of State for the Transport and have responsibility in their area for: The licensing of the operators of goods vehicles and of buses and coaches. Traffic Commissioners are independent from Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA.) Traffic Commissioners when required, hold Public Inquiries and implement disciplinary action against operators who have not observed the conditions of the Operator licence scheme. VOSA are the government agency responsible for ensuring Goods vehicle Operators and Drivers comply with Operator licence legislation.
Operator CPC Training
Being a CPC holder confirms you have the required skills and knowledge to carry out the role of a Transport Manager competently. To become a CPC holder you must pass the relevant OCR examinations which are currently held 4 times a year. The OCR is presently the only awarding body to offer the CPC exam. This may change in the future as OCR no longer has exclusivity over CPC testing and marking. The exam is the equivalent to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3.
The CPC National and International examination syllabus is wide ranging and comprehensive. It covers all aspects of road transport and business management. Currently if you pass and obtain a CPC it is yours for life and need not be renewed. Studying to pass the CPC exams is no easy task and suitable tuition and preparation is required.
Late 2011 saw the end of the CPC National only examination. New entrants wanting to gain CPC must now pass the CPC National and International combined examinations. This consists of two tests: R1 and R1.
R1 Multi choice examination
60 questions, multi choice exam based on the National and International OCR syllabus. Students are given 2 hours. Must get at least 70 percent (42 out of 70) correct to be awarded a pass.
R2 Case study examination
5-8 questions based on a case study and the OCR National and International syllabus. This 2 hour examination is open book meaning you can take whatever study notes you want in with you. We advise less is more. Taking quality notes rather huge reams of paper is the recommended option. You will be tested on application of knowledge. This is designed to prepare you better for the real world.
R1 and R2 exams will normally be taken on the same day however are independent of each other, i.e. you pass the R1 exam and fail the R2 then you only need come back and resit R2. Your course study notes and 3 VOSA publications would certainly help in the case study test.
International CPC examination
It’s worth noting those who gained National CPC licence entitlement only (after 2000 and before 5th December 2011) and now want to add International CPC entitlement only can do so. OCR will be (for at least 2012) offering the CPC International examination.
It is essential you source and receive the best training available to ensure you get the result you want. EP Training Services, based in Leatherhead Surrey and members of the HGV LGV Training network has been delivering high quality training to the transport and associated industries for over 30 years.
They provide expert CPC National & International training via home study or classroom tuition. If you’re not based in Surrey you can also find other Operator CPC training providers all over the UK by using our CPC training provider search page.
Having an Operator CPC qualification is deemed as being the “golden ticket” within the transport industry. It gives the holder many options to enhance and progress their career. For example they could become an owner driver and run their own transport business. They could be a Transport Manager (transport companies can never have enough CPC holders.) They could also be a CPC consultant (become the CPC holder for someone else.)
Having an Operator CPC does not exempt you from needing Driver CPC. If you are an operator CPC holder and drive a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes professionally you will still need The Driver CPC qualification. Unlike the operator CPC qualification, the Driver CPC card is valid for only 5 years.
We hope this information has been of use. Updated 10th March 2012.