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S&R O-licence suspended for “serious failings”

  • 26 February 2013
  • By Roger Brown

Wolverhampton-based SR Construction has had its O-licence suspended for three months after a Vosa investigation uncovered “serious systematic failings” with its transport operations. 

Following an October public inquiry in Birmingham, traffic commissioner for the West Midlands Nick Jones also refused an application from the utilities specialist for an extra six vehicles, saying he had “no hesitation” in finding that it should not be allowed to run them.

Vosa began an investigation into the firm after officers stopped one of its three authorised vehicles in May 2012. The vehicle was not displaying a licence disc, while the driver also appeared to have had his driving licence revoked.

A Vosa traffic examiner also found that the company had been using a premises to park its vehicles without the TC’s consent, and was not aware of the need to monitor employees under the working time regulations.

The examiner concluded that the business had been using additional vehicles without authority and warned director Steven Sankey that the firm could face prosecution for the offences.

A Vosa vehicle examiner, who carried out an assessment of the firm’s maintenance regime, said it was unable to produce paperwork relating to vehicle inspections.

The firm’s three vehicles were found to have mechanical defects and the examiner prohibited them.

During the hearing, Sankey admitted that his knowledge and training relating to O-licensing was poor and that he had not put new systems into place when Vosa last visited in 2008. He also accepted that he had not told the truth to Vosa on at least one occasion.

The company presented evidence relating to vehicle maintenance checks and made representations after the public inquiry that it was now operating to a good standard of compliance.

However, the TC said that he had “only just” drawn back from revoking the firm’s O-licence. He added: “It is clear that the operator has obtained financial advantage compared with competitors by virtue of the many failings identified, including a lack of proper maintenance systems and running in excess of authority.

“A shorter suspension wouldn’t reflect the serious systematic failings, including being less than open and honest with Vosa at all times. I recognise the business will shed staff – those who are made redundant should blame Sankey.”


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