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A brief guide to compliance

Do I need an Operator’s Licence?

You need an operator’s licence to carry goods in a vehicle such as a lorry or van if the loaded weight will exceed 3.5 tons (3,500kg).

Types of O-licence

There are 3 types of licence;

Restricted licence

This allows the carriage of goods, but only on own account, within Great Britain and abroad.

Standard licence

This allows the carriage of goods for hire or reward in Great Britain (and also permits own account movements in GB and abroad).

Standard international licence

This allows the carriage of goods for hire or reward (and on own account) within Great Britain and abroad.

What do I need to know about running my own vehicles?

There are numerous requirements which must be obeyed if you’re running your own fleet covering such things as the Operating centre(s) and vehicle maintenance. If you fail to satisfy these requirements your licence could be revoked at any time and you could face prosecution.

Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicles must always be thoroughly maintained and in good condition. It is required that records of all servicing and safety inspections are kept for a minimum of 15 months. You may do your own maintenance or use a maintenance provider, if the latter option is taken a contract must be issued and a copy provided to the traffic commissioner.

Safety inspections must be pre-planned, usually on a time based schedule but sometimes mileage is more suitable. Six weeks is a fairly typical frequency but it can vary depending on the age, condition and use of the vehicle. There are specific criteria which must be captured in the report from every safety inspection detailing such things as the owner, inspection date, vehicle details and findings. Full details can be found here;

Vehicle Defects & Reporting

A driver must complete a walk around check before using a vehicle for the first time each day. The purpose of this check is to identify any vehicle defects and confirm it is fit for use. If a vehicle defect is found, it must be reported and rectified before departure. If no defect is found, “Nil Defects” should be recorded.

Records must be maintained of all daily checks and retained for 15 months if they are positive. Proof of rectification must also be maintained.

Traditionally paper-based systems were used but there are now many electronic systems which run via a smartphone or tablet app. These also allow for pictures to be and for the process to verified and electronically stored, such providers include Microlise, the RHA and Checked Safe.

Applying for an o-licence

When you apply for your licence, you’ll need to state the number of vehicles and trailers you intend to keep along with the location you intend to use. You will also need to prove that the location is large enough and has safe access.

Full information and guidance can be found at the below website.

What is a CPC?

CPC or Certificate of Professional Competence

Driver’s CPC – required by all current and prospective professional LGV drivers.

Transport Manager CPC – required for anyone wishing to hold an operator’s licence of the Standard National or International variety. If you are carrying only your own goods and materials on a restricted operator’s licence a CPC is not required.

What is a tachograph and what is it used for?

A tachograph records details of the vehicle activity such as speed, start time, finish time and rest. Their primary use is to ensure compliance with the law, records must be kept for a minimum of 2 years and they may be investigated at any time by an auditor.

Fleet operators have a duty to download tachographs at least every 28 days and check for driver infringements (acts which contravene the law). Infringements must be recorded and dealt with by a manager.

If you require further advice on any of the points covered or related matters please get in touch.

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