Why you should not prepare for a Public Inquiry!!

(you should do far more)

This headline in bold may currently have Traffic Commissioners, DVSA Officers and those in the legal profession reaching for a cloth to mop up the tea splutters created from reading the headline. Mostly because it flies in the face of everything, they tell you to do.

But, this has been done deliberately so, read the small print.

Our Managing Director, Andy Miles, outlines why simply preparing for a Public Inquiry is not good enough and any company and its directors should be looking in far more detail into the business, its failings and how to prevent future issues as well as being able to satisfy the Traffic Commissioners that this is the case.

Ultimately the Traffic Commissioner is looking for answers to a number of questions, one of those is ‘Can I trust this operator going forward?’

What causes a call to Public Inquiry?

There can be a number of reasons, but the bottom line is that when the business applied for an Operating Licence, and that may be many years ago, the applicant signed and agreed to the 11 undertakings. They may have also agreed to a number of other conditions or undertakings too.

In signing for those, they agreed that they understood that failure to comply with the 11 undertakings is a criminal offence.

So, if you then fail to follow those undertakings you are setting yourself and the business on course for a Public Inquiry.

What are the issues?

The issues themselves can be many and varied but in our experience, breakdown to the following reasons:

  • The business grows and is successful, but the systems and staff required to support this are not recruited. The staff in place become over worked and things get missed.
  • A complete lack of systems at all.
  • Lack of leadership by the owner or Directors of the business. Who checks everything is being done?
  • The owner is also a driver and the Transport Manager. How do you do it all in a 48 hour week?
  • Profits are put before safety or compliance.
  • Owners and Directors get no advice or worse get very poor advice. – ‘My mate told me’, ‘So and So down the road does the same’, ‘The DVSA told me’. We have heard them all.

 Our questions in these circumstances are simple;

 ‘Did they give you that in writing and can you prove it?’

 And ‘what makes them competent to give that advice?’

So, what should you prepare for?

You should prepare, if necessary, to completely change the way the business is run and organised.

Get Trained

The Senior Traffic Commissioner issues statutory documents which outline what they expect of an operator, the Transport Manager, and the Driver.

You need to make sure everyone is trained and knows how to do their jobs, how to report problems, to come to you if there are concerns or issues (that does not happen if you are still driving a truck 60 hours a week).

When did the Owners / Directors last go on an Operator Licence Awareness Course? At A S Miles Consulting we run these courses every month and there is always responses like ‘That’s changed… I didn’t know….’

What about the Transport Manager when did they last get some refresher training?

Policies and Procedures

Make sure you have the correct policies and procedures that suit your business. Organisations such as Logistics UK and the RHA have some good driver handbooks etc. but make sure that they give you everything that YOUR business needs, and if not make the necessary changes.

At A S Miles Consulting we make sure that the handbooks and policies that you have are correct for your business, and then that your staff know how to use them correctly.

A change in culture

The whole culture of the business may need to change. That change is never easy, which is why you will need to have the support of experienced Consultants who are trained and have experience of these processes before, in a range of different companies.

At A S Miles Consulting we have years of experience in bringing in changes to companies, from those with 1 – 3 vehicles to those with 9000+ with operations in the UK, but also Europe and the USA too.

This will then bring increased compliance, reduce downtime and in the end increase profits.

So, this is why we recommend that you do not prepare for a Public Inquiry, because you should do far more and change your business to make it better forever.

For more information on changing and improving your business before you get an invite to a Public Inquiry call our Managing Director Andy Miles in confidence on 07957 812267 or email andy@asmileconsulting.com

by Paul Evanson

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