Transport Managers for Standard Operator’s Licences

Transport Managers are relied upon to ensure that operators are operating safely and compliantly.  As such, all licence holders, aside from those holding restricted licences, are required to have an appropriate Transport Manager be in place.

A professional competent person, more commonly known as a Transport Manager, must be nominated on a standard licence. This can either be the person holding the licence or a person employed by the operator.


Internal or External Transport Manager

Transport Managers are now categorised as ‘internal’ or ‘external’, but in order to perform this role they must be resident within the European Community.

Internal Transport Managers should effectively and continuously manage the transport activities of the operator.  They also must have a genuine link to the licence holder or the applicant.  There are a number of ways in which a genuine link can be established, these include the Transport Manager holding the licence in their name or being an employee, either full or part-time of the operator.

An external Transport Manager, rather than committing to effectively and continually managing transport activities, must confirm that they will perform their work within the interests of the licence holder or applicant.  Additionally, external Transport Managers can only perform that role for a maximum of 4 operators, where the combined fleet of authorised vehicles is 50 or less.


Requirements of a Transport Manager

Transport Managers have a variety of responsibilities which include:

  • “The making of arrangements to ensure that drivers comply with drivers’ hours and tachograph rules and with speed limits;
  • The making of arrangements to ensure that the vehicles are maintained properly, including the inspection of vehicles at the appropriate time and the action taken to remedy defects found;
  • The reporting and recording of vehicle defects by drivers;
  • The method of compilation and the accuracy of all records, which must be kept for a period of not less than 15 months;
  • The making of arrangements to ensure that the vehicle/s are not overloaded;
  • Ensuring that authorised vehicles will be kept at the authorised operating centre(s) when not in use;
  • Where appropriate, notifying the relevant Traffic Commissioner (in writing) of all prosecutions and convictions concerning the operator, the drivers and himself within 28 days of the court hearing; and
  • Notifying the relevant Traffic Commissioner of his resignation.
  • Be of good repute;
  • Be professionally competent;
  • In the case of an external Transport Manager, is not prohibited from acting as a transport manager by a Traffic Commissioner, and is not designated to act in that capacity for more than 4 operators or be responsible for more than 50 vehicles (or such smaller number as the Traffic Commissioner considers appropriate).

The level of involvement of a Transport Manager within the business is particularly important in assessing whether the Transport Manager exercises continuous and effective control over the transport activities.  This will be assessed in part through the time that is spent with the business.   Even where there are only two vehicles on a licence, it will still be expected that a Transport Manager will spend 8 hours each week in this role.  For a licence with 15 – 29 an operator is expected to have a full time Transport Manager.  Therefore, a Transport Manager who lives abroad may struggle to demonstrate to the Traffic Commissioner that they are able to satisfy this role.


Guideline Hours of Work Required by a Transport Manager

Motor vehicles Proposed Hours (per week)
2 or less 8
3 – 5 15
6 – 10 20
11 – 14 25
15 – 29 Full time
30 and above (Full time) Additional assistance required

Additional hours may be required for trailers.

The requirements on a Transport Manager should be carefully considered before being entered into.  A Transport Manager may be disqualified from acting as a Transport Manager by the Traffic Commissioner and this prohibition would apply across the whole of the European Union.  Therefore, Transport Managers need to be alive to their obligations and ensure that they are satisfying them.  For instance, if a Transport Manager’s working hours are reduced, they should notify the Traffic Commissioner.  Additionally, if a Transport Manager becomes aware of activity that they feel is inappropriate and they are uncomfortable with, they should seek advice as soon as possible.  Transport Managers should also resist being added to a licence in name only and having no connection with the Operator.  The alternative is action being taken directly against the Transport Manager.


Replacing a Transport Manager

If a Transport Manager is changed at any time, then the Traffic Commissioner needs to be notified immediately using the correct form.


Declaration of Unfitness

Information on Transport Managers and operators is now shared between EU Member States.

Just as with Operators, there is a degree of trust between Transport Managers and Traffic Commissioners.  Therefore, Transport Managers need to be proactive in managing their obligations and should update the Traffic Commissioner as appropriate in order to ensure there can be transparency and confidence within this working relationship.

Traffic Commissioner’s now have the power to take direct regulatory action against a Transport Manager and to potentially declare him or her ‘unfit’. This declaration of unfitness would be entered into the UK national register of operators and the declaration would be shared with licensing authorities in other Member States. In other words, an EU wide ban would be imposed until the Transport Manager’s repute was restored

At a Public Inquiry, a Traffic Commissioner can and will investigate the role a Transport Manager has played in connection with any breach of undertaking or non-performance as regards the Operator’s Licence. This could potentially lead to a Transport Manager’s disqualification from being a Transport Manager.

The Transport Manager has a right of appeal of this decision to the Upper Tribunal.

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