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TC warns transport managers: take duties seriously

  • 15 April 2014
  • By Roger Brown

South East of England traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) has warned transport managers who fail to appreciate the importance of their duties and refuse to attend public inquiries that they are in danger of losing their repute and professional competence.

Denton’s remarks follow four recent public inquiries where operators’ transport managers failed to attend. In one case, Alan Thurgood told the TC he had work commitments. Denton said: “Mr Thurgood’s avoidance of responsibility by refusing to attend the public inquiry does not speak of a person who appreciates the importance of a transport manager’s duties.”

In another inquiry, Michael Mahoney, who was a named partner on the company’s O-licence, asked for an adjournment due to “shortage of notice and family commitments”,  which Denton granted. However, when the case was relisted, Mahoney wrote to say he would not be attending.
In the third case, Roy Manning failed to appear at three preliminary hearings and a public inquiry.

The TC concluded that Manning had “provided no evidence that he is professionally competent”.
In the fourth case, Terence Allen told his operator that he was not going to attend the PI into the firm’s complete failure to keep maintenance records or ensure observance of drivers’ hours rules.  But he did not bother to inform the TC of his decision.

In each case, there had been severe doubts about whether the transport manager had been truly involved in the business and whether they were professionally competent. Denton said that if they had attended the inquiries and owned up to their failings he would have been more impressed than by them not showing up at all.

In all four cases, the TC ruled that the transport managers had lost their repute and professional competence. He disqualified them for an indefinite period of time. Denton said the cases acted as a reminder to all transport managers about the powers given to TCs in 2011. Since then, under EU regulations, CPC and acquired rights holders can be called before regulators as individuals.

The TC added: “Traffic commissioners have spent a lot of time emphasising to the industry how significant the role of transport manager is and how vital it is that he or she be exercising continuous and effective management of the transport activities of the business.

“Some are simply still phantoms on a licence and, if their operator is called to an inquiry, prefer to bury their heads in the sand rather than come and face the music.

“Such behaviour will almost certainly result in loss of professional competence and repute and that means the end of their time as a transport manager. It’s that serious.”


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