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 two important factors: Are the goods you’re transporting your own or “other people’s”? Are you transporting the goods in the UK only or internationally? There are 3 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 would be a scaffold company who use a vehicle to transport their own scaffold equipment to and from site.
Standard Operator Licence
A standard Operator licence is needed if you transport other peoples goods for hire and reward in a goods vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes GVW. A good example of a Standard Operator Licence holder would be a general haulage company who transport other people’s goods from one location to another within the UK.
International Standard Operator Licence
required if you intend to transport “other people’s” goods for hire or reward internationally in a vehicle in excess of 3.5 tonnes GVW. A typical example would be a general haulage company who transport goods internationally.
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 to drivers’ hours (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 (9 Euros for 1st, then 4,500 Euros per extra vehicle)
Be of good repute
(*) For Standard National or International Operator licence applications you will also need a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) holder. 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, bank statements, 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.
Becoming a CPC Holder
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 held 4 times annually. The CPC examination syllabus is wide ranging and comprehensive. It covers all aspects of road transport and business management. Studying to pass the CPC exams is no easy task. The exam is the equivalent to a National Vocational Qualification NVQ level 3. 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 have been delivering high quality training to the transport and associated industries for over 30 years.
They provide expert CPC National & International training via either home study or classroom tuition. Currently if you pass and obtain a CPC it is yours for life and need not be renewed. The EU will be changing this from early 2012 so if you are considering attaining CPC it is highly advisable you do it sooner rather than later. Having an Operator CPC qualification is deemed as being the “golden ticket” within the transport industry. It gives you many options to enhance and progress your career. You can become an owner driver and run your own transport business. You can be a Transport Manager (transport companies can never have enough CPC holders.) You could also be a CPC consultant (become the CPC holder for someone else)