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In Name Only

In a recent case in the West Midlands, Terry Northwood had his Standard national licence revoked for effectively not having a transport manager for 15 years

The commissioner heard that the nominal transport manager, Alan Austin, never had a contract with the operator, and had not received any payment for his services. Nor had he performed any of the duties and responsibilities of a transport manager, continually failing to download tachograph data, failing to ensure that vehicles were given safety inspections at the stated six-week intervals, failing to ensure that brake tests were carried out and failing to ensure that the safety inspection records were completed correctly. By remaining on the licence as a transport manager he had enabled the operator to display the outward sign of professional competence when in reality no such professional competence existed.

The operator was found to lack professional competence since 2007, as ever since then it has not had a contract with its supposed transport manager, had not paid that transport manager and that transport manager has failed to carry out any transport manager functions.

Maintenance practices appeared stuck in the 1970s and do not reflect modern day requirements. There was a complete lack of drivers’ hours supervision, and the transport manager did not understand the need to check driver entitlement, as Mr Northwood was “a friend”.

The commissioner said “In the end I cannot ignore the fact that he [Mr Northwood] has in essence operated without a functioning transport manager for many years, thereby gaining an unfair competitive advantage over those operators who bear the cost of professional competence.

“Mr Austin’s good repute cannot possibly survive such negligence and deception. I find that his good repute is lost and I am thus obliged to disqualify him from acting as a transport manager under any operator’s licence. Mr Austin’s ignorance of the role of a modern-day transport manager is such that the mere passage of time will not suffice for him to re-establish his repute.”

Further details can be found here.


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