Benefits of Hiring a Transport Manager Consultant for Restricted Licence Operators

Benefits of Hiring a Transport Manager Consultant for Restricted Licence Operators

Running a transportation business as a Restricted Licence Operator comes with its fair share of challenges, from navigating complex regulations and compliance issues to overcoming operational hurdles. However, the path to success becomes clearer with the invaluable support of an experienced Transport Manager Consultant. In this blog, we will delve into the advantages of enlisting the services of a Transport Manager Consultant, uniquely equipped to address the specific needs and requirements of Restricted Licence Operators.

Qualified CPC Transport Manager

A Transport Manager Consultant is a seasoned professional in the field of transport management, holding a coveted Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This certification is earned through a rigorous training program, affirming that the consultant possesses the essential expertise and skills to oversee transportation operations. With their CPC qualification, the Transport Manager Consultant brings a wealth of knowledge and proficiency to effectively navigate the complexities of the transport industry and compliance.

Experience is Everything

An experienced Transport Manager Consultant brings insights into regulations encompassing crucial aspects like driver hours, vehicle maintenance, tachograph rules, and load securing. Working with a Transport Manager Consultant ensures you will be better able to adhere to all necessary requirements, minimising the risk of penalties and potential compliance entanglements. Their wealth of knowledge serves as a shield, safeguarding the smooth and compliant operation of your business.

Expert Guidance and Industry Insights

Transport Manager Consultants are experts at what they do. They bring a wealth of industry knowledge to the table. They possess a deep understanding of the transport sector and its regulatory requirements. By leveraging their expertise, a Transport Manager Consultant can provide valuable guidance, helping Restricted Licence Operators navigate complex challenges to help make informed business decisions.

Systems implementation

Establishing comprehensive systems in the form of policies and procedures is paramount when operating a Restricted Operator Licence. The assistance of a Transport Manager Consultant is instrumental in effectively implementing these essential frameworks.

By working with your consultant, you can create a clear and robust policy framework that leaves little room for misunderstandings or debates regarding appropriate courses of action in specific situations. Fostering transparency and consistency throughout your organisation, ensuring a cohesive approach to operations and decision-making. Having well-defined policies and procedures sets the stage for a streamlined and harmonious operation, bolstering your business’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management

Compliance with transport regulations is crucial for restricted licence operators. However, keeping up with the ever-evolving rules and requirements can be overwhelming. Transport Manager Consultants specialise in regulatory compliance and risk management. They stay updated with changes in legislation, ensuring that the business adheres to all legal obligations. By conducting audits and assessments, consultants can identify potential risks, implement effective mitigation strategies, and minimise the chances of a DVSA visit or Public Enquiry.

Operational Efficiency and Cost Optimisation

One of the primary goals for Restricted Licence Operators is to maximise operational efficiency while minimising costs. Transport Manager Consultants can assess the existing operational processes, identify any shortfalls, and recommend improvements. They bring fresh perspectives and industry best practices, helping operators streamline workflows and improve fleet utilisation. By identifying cost-saving opportunities, such as fuel efficiency measures or outsourcing options, consultants can help businesses operate more efficiently and improve their bottom line.

Enhanced Safety Measures

Safety is a top priority in the transport industry. Employing the services of a consultant demonstrates a commitment to the Traffic Commissioner you are maintaining high safety standards. By implementing comprehensive safety measures, consultants can reduce the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and damage to goods, protecting both the company’s reputation and the well-being of employees, and the public.

In Conclusion

Employing the services of a Transport Manager Consultant can be a game-changer for Restricted Licence Operators. By leveraging their expertise, industry insights, and network, they can guide businesses towards sustainable growth and improved operational efficiency. From providing help on regulatory compliance and risk management to optimising costs and driving performance, consultants offer a comprehensive approach to help overcome challenges and unlock your full potential.

However, it is important for Restricted Licence Operators to conduct thorough research, seek recommendations, and choose a consultant with a proven track record in the transport industry. With the right consultant by their side, Restricted Licence Operators can navigate the complexities of the industry, stay ahead of the competition, and pave the way for a successful and profitable future.

If you have any questions about hiring a Transport Manager Consultant for your operation or would just like to chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!

operator licence

How to apply for an Operator Licence

(2018 revised post). I often get asked “How do I apply for an operator licence” and questions relating to the application process. This is mainly because it can seem like a daunting prospect as there are many detailed aspects to the process, which will need thoughtful consideration. There are many pitfalls and if you don’t get it right first time, could delay the granting of the licence or worse, the application could be rejected. It’s also worth noting (nearly) all applications must now be carried out online, with very few exceptions. As information prior to application is now almost nonexistent, here is my helpful guide on how to apply for an operator licence and (to hopefully) speed up the process for you.

Step 1. Get it together, be prepared

Ensure you have all the requisite information/documentation required before you start the application. For an overview of the vehicle operator licensing system and to ensure you are applying for the correct licence, you can view/download a copy of the GV74 guide here. This is dated 2011 and makes references to ‘vosa’. Don’t be put off as the information is still relevant.

Specifically you will need:

  • Forms/Information
    • Main application (old GV79 form)
    • Advertisement (old GV81 form)
    • Transport Manager (old TM1 form)
    • Current financial levels – See below but ensure you view the online guidance as this is where most applications can fail
    • Scale of fees – so you know how much to pay
    • Signed maintenance contract
    • Supplementary environmental information.
  • Guidance notes – All guidance (old GV79G, old TM1G) is now online see Step 2
  • Contact Information – This is the main person dealing with the application. They must be available to be contacted during the weeks after the application has been submitted
  • Contact address – This is the address used for correspondence. It can not be a PO Box or third-party address and must be an address in Great Britain
  • Establishment address – This is the address in which the business keeps its core business documents, specifically relating to the operator licence. This can be the same as the contact address
  • Company information – What is your trade and are you a Limited Company, Sole Trader, LLP, partnership, sole trader etc. You will need to provide company information as it appears on the Companies House website. You will also need to provide names and date of birth of all Company Directors
  • Type of licence – Do you require a Standard, Standard International or a Restricted Licence? Click here for more information on types of licence
  • Transport Manager – If you are applying for a standard or standard international operator licence, you will need to employ the services of either a full-time or external transport manager to demonstrate professional competence. The old TM1 form is now part of the online process. You will need the TM1 form and guidance notes (included in the online version) and your TM’s original CPC certificate. Restricted licence holders do not need to employ the services of a transport manager. However, I can not stress the importance of ensuring you do at least have access to professional advice and or consider employing the services of a professional consultant. It is worth noting that where compliance is concerned, restricted licence holders are subject to exactly the same legislation as standard licence holders. If you in need of a transport manager, do get in touch as we can help you find one.
  • Vehicles – How many vehicles and trailers are you going to use? If you’re planning to expand the business in the not-to-distant future, it may be worth adding in a margin. You’ll also need the details of your vehicles if you know them. If you’re hiring/leasing for more than one month you will still need to provide the vehicle(s) details, if you have them
  • Safety inspections – You’ll need to state the maximum number of weeks between safety inspections, and details of who will be carrying out the inspections. There are a number of factors to consider here. What will the annual mileage be, what kind of work will the vehicles be subjected to. If you’re unsure get advice. You’ll need to get a signed contract between you and your supplier if you are out sourcing your maintenance
  • Operating centre details – This is where your vehicles and trailers will normally be kept. You must ensure that you have enough off-street parking spaces at your operating centre(s) for all of your vehicles and trailers. You will need to state whether the premises is owned by you, leased or rented. If rented or leased you’ll need to get a letter of permission from the landlord
  • Advertisement – You will need to advertise your intentions via a local paper. Make sure you use the correct format and wording. This will be at your expense, usually around £300 to £450
  • Financial evidence – You need to show the traffic commissioner that you have sufficient financial resources to maintain your vehicles and run your business. Make sure you provide original evidence of financial documentation. Note the rates change every January! This is very detailed by nature so familiar yourself with the guidance to ensure you get this right first time
  • Previous licences – Gather information relating to anyone named on the application (including partners, directors and transport managers) who:
    • Currently or have previously held a goods or public service vehicle operator’s licence in any traffic area
    • Has had a licence refused, revoked, suspended or curtailed in the EU
    • Have attended a Public Inquiry before a traffic commissioner
    • Have been disqualified from holding or obtaining an operators licence by any traffic commissioner
    • Within the last twelve months, have you, your company or organisation or your partners or directors purchased the assets or shareholding of any company that, to your knowledge, currently holds or has previously held an operator’s licence in any traffic area
  • Convictions – Get information and background details on anyone named or has any connection with the application who has been convicted of any relevant offence. So that’s partners, directors, transport managers, any company named on the application, parent company if you are a limited company or any employees or agents
  • Payment information – You can pay by card online or by cheque/postal order and card via the paper version. You’ll need the signature of who the person paying. For current rates, you will need to either request them from the central licensing office or start the online application.

Step 2. Apply for your operator licence

It is now only possible to apply for your operator licence online. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible to apply using the old paper version. That is if you don’t own a computer and or you are unable to use a computer. If you do want to apply using the paper version make sure you use the most up-to-date versions of the GV79, GV81 and TM1 forms. The only way to do this is to call the central licensing office (DVSA) on 0300 123 9000 and request the requisite documentation.

To apply online go to the website here and follow the instructions. It’s actually very intuitive and easy to use. It’s in pretty much the same format as the old GV79 form with all the same criteria, just online. You can pay the fees and upload all the requisite documentation, all from the comfort of your computer. Signatures are still required, the difference being it will be an ‘e’ signature. You will need to register with GOV.UK Verify first to be able to complete this part of the application.

Step 3. Complete the operator licence application

For the online application, you’ll need to register with the Government Gateway. You’ll also need to register with Verify which is a way to prove who you are online for online signatures. Make sure you have all the requisite documents beforehand, see Step 1. Once you have completed the form, there will be an online checklist and paper applications will be included on the GV79.

Check list

  • You have completed all applicable questions on the form
  • You have checked that the declaration is signed and dated by an authorised person
  • You have provided the whole page of the newspaper for each advertisement placed. The date and the full title of the newspaper are shown on the page holding my advertisement
  • You have provided original financial evidence. You understand that photocopies are not acceptable
  • You have enclosed a cheque or provided payment details to cover the application fee and you understand that this fee will not be returned, even if the application is withdrawn or refused.

All applicants for either a Standard National or International operator licence must supply the following information.

  • Original Certificate(s) of Professional Competence in Road Haulage Operations or evidence of qualification(s) giving exemption, for all Transport Managers listed on the application
  • Completed and signed the online TM1 form for all Transport Managers listed on my application. You may need to supply the following information depending on your answers some of the questions.

Depending on your answers to these questions further information may be required for some applicants.

  • You answered stating that an external contractor would carry out the safety inspections for the licence and you have enclosed a copy of the maintenance contract with that contractor
  • You answered ‘Yes’ to part regarding insolvency and have enclosed the relevant documentary evidence of the relevant insolvency history
  • You answered ‘Yes’ regarding convictions and have enclosed full details of the background circumstances of all convictions declared.

Step 4. Undertakings and Declaration

You will need to read and digest the operator licence undertakings. Once understood you can sign the declaration. This must be either the owner, partner or director. As mentioned for the online system, you’ll need to prove who you are via the Verify service as well.

I have provided these below so you have a prior understanding of an operators’ responsibilities.

Operator Licence Undertakings

I understand that by signing the application I am accepting the undertakings below; that they will be recorded on the licence; that failure to comply with the conditions or undertakings recorded on the licence may result in the licence being revoked, suspended or curtailed; and that failure to comply with these conditions is also a criminal offence.

  • The laws relating to the driving and operation of vehicles used under this licence are observed
  • The rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs are observed, proper records are kept and that these are made available on request
  • Vehicles and trailers are not overloaded
  • Vehicles operate within speed limits
  • Vehicles and trailers, including hired vehicles and trailers, are kept in a fit and serviceable condition
  • Drivers report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could prevent the safe operation of vehicles and/or trailers, and that any defects are recorded in writing
  • Records are kept (for 15 months) of all driver reports which record defects, all safety inspections, routine maintenance and repairs to vehicles, and that these are made available on request
  • In respect of each operating centre specified, that the number of vehicles and the number of trailers kept there will not exceed the maximum numbers authorised at each operating centre (which will be noted on the licence)
  • An unauthorised operating centre is not used in any traffic area
    Furthermore, I will notify the traffic commissioner of any convictions against myself, or the company, business partner(s), the company directors, nominated transport manager(s) named in this application, or employees or agents of the applicant for this licence and, if the licence is issued, convictions against the licence holder or employees or agents of the licence holder
  • I will ensure that the traffic commissioner is notified within 28 days of any other changes, for example a change to the proposed maintenance arrangements; a change in the financial status of the licence holder (e.g. if placed in liquidation or receivership), or a change to Limited Company status or partnership, that might affect the licence, if issued.

Step 5. Get it checked

I can not stress the importance of getting a second set of eyes to check over your application for an operator licence. The devil is in the detail and you simply can’t afford to leave anything out. This could be a colleague who understands transport or if it’s just you, you could use the services of a professional consultant.

Step 7. Interim or not

It is possible to apply for an interim licence. This means you can operate in the interim while your application is in process. However, it is worth noting that your application will need to essentially be ‘pre approved’ for the interim to be granted. So, if there are any complications or question marks regarding the main application, it is unlikely an interim licence will be granted.

Step 6. Apply (send)

For the online system, once you have completed the above steps, just click to send. For the paper version, collate all your documents and importantly do make sure you send your operator licence application via ‘signed for’ post or special delivery.

Remember, if you do not send all the information needed it will lead to a delay in the granting of the licence, or the application could even be refused.

Top tips

  • Make sure your financial evidence is in the name of the applicant or licence holder
  • Provide original documents with your application
  • If you’ve only just opened your account, get an opening statement from the bank showing the required level of money for your licence
  • Make sure you have enough surplus finances to support the number of vehicles you have applied for
Operating Centre and Maintenance
  • If you don’t own the site, get written permission from the person who does
  • Make sure your advert is published in a newspaper that can be purchased in the area where your operating centre is located
  • Check the advert wording is correct before sending it off to the newspaper
  • Make sure your advert is placed in the newspaper within the required timescale
  • If maintenance isn’t in house, then complete a formal contract signed by you and the contractor
Transport Manager
  • Make sure your transport manager’s original CPC is provided with your operator licence application. It will be returned
  • Complete the TM1 form with your transport manager
  • If your transport manager will be specified on more than one licence, set out how they will meet all their responsibilities in a separate letter. This will need to include:
    • Days and intended time spent visiting each operating centre
    • How they will travel
    • Addresses and distance to travel
    • Duties to be carried out
    • Detail any other work including how much time is spent on said work
    • If there is a TM assistant carrying out day to day duties. How the duties are distributed. If the assistant is qualified, make sure you sent the original version of their TM CPC certificate. This will be returned.
Previous history
  • Tell the Traffic Commissioner about any operator licences you’ve previously held or been involved in
  • Make sure you disclose any adverse financial history of other businesses you’ve owned (not just transport)
  • Tell the Traffic Commissioner about any convictions and penalties for you or the business

Main reasons for delays and rejections

  • Forms not being completed in full (including TM1 from for standard applications)
  • Incorrect information on forms
  • Incomplete documentation
  • Financial standing not being met
  • Maintenance contracts not being submitted
  • Not submitting further information relating the TMs other work
  • Not declaring any insolvency or conviction history. They will check!

In conclusion

In conclusion, make sure you have all the required information and you have the correct information ready for your application of your operating licence prior to your application. Make sure you have the correct types of documentation, be methodical and get it checked!

For further reading and information, I have complied the definitive list of .gov and DVSA downloadable guides and forms.

Need a Transport Manager or an External Transport Manager?

Here at TMconsultant we hold a database of transport managers covering the whole of the UK. So if you’re in need of a transport manager, simply complete the employers application form. We also provide all the requisite policy manuals, forms, and tools to get a new operator up and running which you can find in our shop. Alternatively just get in touch! Here to share the knowledge!



The complete list of links to DVSA publications guides & forms

The complete list of links to DVSA publications guides & forms

I often get asked about which forms to use and what operator compliance publications the operator and driver should be utilising. So I’ve put together a rather helpful, regularly updated complete list of links to DVSA publications, guides, forms and tools for you. A one stop definitive place to find those all important DVSA publications, guides & forms, operator compliance legislation & other very helpful information.

Last update 24/07/18

Goods Vehicles Operators Guides

The Guide to maintaining roadworthiness 2018

Guide to Goods Vehicle Operators Licensing 2011 (GV74)

Guide to graduated fixed penalties and financial deposits 2013

GV262-03 Drivers’ Hours and Tachograph’s guide 2015

Updates to Drivers’ Hours rules 4th March 2016

Working time regulations for mobile workers 2013

Staying legal heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers 2011

Load securing: vehicle operator guidance 2017

HGV overloading: the basics 2013

The safe Operators Guide 2009

Categorisation of Defects 2015

MOT testing guide (6th edition) 2004

VOSA Safe Operators Guide

Working time regulations for mobile workers:

The role of the traffic commissioners

A guide to representations, objections and complaints

Senior Traffic Commissioner’s statutory guidance and statutory directions – How traffic commissioners approach the exercise of their statutory functions

Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS)

International Road Haulage

Running a fleet of vans

Towing small trailers guides

Recovery operations guide

Horsebox and trailer owners

Driver CPC overview

Driving licence categories

Driving licence codes

Guide to graduated fixed penalties and financial deposits

Guide to vehicle immobilisation:

Digital drivers cards (DQC)

Enforcement sanctions policy

Lorry types and weights:

HGV inspection manual (2013 consolidated version)

HGV brake test

Braking connections when using a trailer:

Automatic slack adjusters – maintenance guide

Dangerous and hazardous goods vehicles inspection

Seat belt installations

Maintenance software and computer storage of maintenance records

Individual Vehicle Approval manuals (IVA)

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) for lorries help to get a pass

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) for vans help to get a pass

Categorisation of defects

HGV operator licensing forms

All operator licensing applications and changes are carried out now online. See refer to my guide on ‘how to apply for an operators licence’.

Other helpful Links

Stoneridge Tachograph Simulator – great tool for practicing the use of a digital tachograph

Find your nearest Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) or DVSA test station:

Check MOT test history

HGV driver daily walkaround check poster

Moving on – Official advice and information for lorry, bus, coach and van operators and drivers

I hope you found the complete list of links to DVSA publications guides & forms, operator compliance legislation & other helpful info useful. If you did then please share by clicking the social icons below.

Or if you have any questions please do just get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!

Apply & manage your vehicle operator licence online!

So the office of the Traffic Commissioner and the DVSA has finally caught up with the 21 century and it is now possible to apply & manage your vehicle operator licence online!

For the first time, online applications for vehicle operator licences can now use the shiny new online system, replacing the Operator Self Service System.

Mr Kevin Rooney, Traffic Commissioner for the west of England and for the northeast of England stated that “We wanted to change the system because we recognise that the old system isn’t very user friendly, we want to encourage operators to do things digitally and to transact digitally both with government and with us”.

Main addition

The main addition to the new system is a service allowing new operators to apply for a licence online. Existing licences can still manage their licence by adding more vehicles, applying to increase vehicle limits and adding a transport manager, so no change there. Existing users of the Operator Self-Service System can log in to the new service using the same username and password. For more information, and to access the new service, visit the .gov website. To apply go here.

If you would like more information about Managing your Operator Licence, or our Operator Licencing, services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!

Since the launch of the Manage Your Operator Licence, I have written a new updated post. You can view that post here.

external transport manager

The External Transport Manager and What You Need to Know

The External Transport Manager and What You Need to Know

The External Transport Manager, also known as ETM and often abbreviated as ETM, is an indispensable figure when it comes to ensuring compliance with legal obligations and upholding safety standards in the transportation industry. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into everything you need to know about the role of an ETM and the essential factors to consider before employing one.

What is an External Transport Manager?

An External Transport Manager is a designated contracted competent qualified professional who works part-time, usually for small to mid-sized operators. They ensure that your vehicles are roadworthy and your drivers comply with traffic and drivers’ hours rules. They must hold a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). The Transport Manager CPC is a Level 3 Qualification and is the minimum qualification required for holding an Operator’s Licence. This qualification requires the ETM to pass examinations and can cover both National and International operations.

ETMs are responsible to the wider public, through the Traffic Commissioner, to ensure that an operator is compliant. That is to say, if the Operator is not doing what the External Transport Manager is asking of them, they have a responsibility to inform the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OtC).

What are the requirements for an External Transport Manager?

Let’s have a look at what the Senior Traffic Commissioner has to say in Statutory document no. 3: Transport Managers. “A designated transport manager must meet the requirements of Article 4 i.e; be of good reputebe professionally competent, and is not prohibited from acting as a transport manager by a traffic commissioner.

An ETM of ‘good repute’ is someone who is with a good reputation and is known to be honest, true, and forthright. The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995, Schedule 3, states that “before an individual can be nominated as a transport manager on an operator’s licence they* themselves must be of good repute”. Traffic Commissioners have the power to remove an individual’s repute, so they can no longer fulfil the role of an ETM. Under paragraph 17B(2) of Schedule 3 (as amended by the Road Transport Operator Regulations 2011), “where a traffic commissioner determines that a transport manager has lost their good repute, the traffic commissioner must order the person to be disqualified from acting as a transport manager”. However, under certain circumstances, a traffic commissioner can also reinvoke a transport manager’s good repute.

Always check, when employing the services of an ETM their ‘good repute’ is still intact!

How many operators can an ETM work for?

The Senior Traffic Commissioner in Statutory document no. 3: Transport Managers states that “an individual 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”.

Always check with your prospective ETM that they have enough margin to manage your operator licence. Further, the Traffic Commissioner will need to be satisfied the ETM can carry out their duties


The guidelines refer to starting points only and give indicative weekly hours of work which might be specified by a transport manager, but the traffic commissioner will consider all relevant factors in determining whether the starting points should be departed from. The level of hours required for any other employment, self-employment, or activities in which the proposed transport manager is engaged must also be taken into account as they may restrict their ability to devote sufficient time to the duties of a transport manager on any operator’s licence. The suggested amounts of time are a starting point as to what traffic commissioners might expect in terms of hours worked. They are intended as a prompt to operators/applicants and the nominated CPC holder to discuss what time is actually required.

TM1G statutory guidelines for the number of hours transport managers should work

Further, the Traffic Commissioner may also require information about the location of the operating centres for which a Transport Manager has responsibility, and whether travelling time will have an impact on thier ability to provide effective management. External Transport Managers should therefore include a breakdown of their working week at the point of application, including details of visits to the operating centres and of travelling time, as this may be requested.

How does employment work?

The operator and the ETM will have an initial meeting to discuss each other’s requirements. Once they reach an agreement, the operator will fill out a form on the online application. Subsequently, an email containing a link to the operator’s application will be sent to the ETM. The ETM must then complete the TM1 form, upload their TMCPC qualification, and, if required, provide evidence of their two-day refresher course. Additionally, at this point, the ETM must upload a cover letter explaining their other employment commitments and travel time to the operating centre.

TMs typically operate as independent contractors, and their services are billed on a monthly basis. Once both parties sign the agreement contract, their employment will commence.

Your ETM is expected to conduct site visits at least once a month to fulfil their responsibilities, especially during the initial stages of employment or if your Operator Compliance Risk Score is unfavourable. It is essential to maintain regular communication to ensure smooth operations, so keep the lines of communication open at all times. Additionally, you should have someone designated to handle day-to-day transport-related tasks.

Can an ETM be a volunteer?

No. Richard Turfitt (TC) pointed to a ruling made by the Upper Tribunal in 2015, stating that “a transport manager cannot be a volunteer as they often cannot establish a genuine link to the operator.

Beware of name-only ETMs

This is an ETM that offers their services without doing any of the work.

The Upper Tribunal has emphasised the “need for a proper, active transport manager is not a mere formality but a serious requirement.” 8 It follows that a transport manager should not be one in name only but should actively discharge their duty to exercise continuous and effective management.

If you find an ETM who offers their services in name only, then I would politely decline. Services in name compromise road safety and can also put your Operator’s Licence in jeopardy.

What should you be looking for when employing an ETM?

When selecting an External Transport Manager, several key factors should be considered:

  1. Qualifications: Ensure the ETM holds the appropriate TM CPC qualification, and if operating abroad, verify if they possess the International CPC qualification
  2. Good Repute: Confirm that the ETM maintains good repute, as it is a critical element of their credibility and trustworthiness
  3. Work Ethics and Experience: Consider the ETM’s work ethics and assess the additional value they can bring to your operations.
  4. Robust Policies and Procedures: Check if the ETM can provide pre-compiled, robust policies and procedures that can be immediately implemented. If they don’t you can purchase our compliance pack from our shop.
  5. Experience with FORS: If relevant, determine if the ETM has experience with the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS)
  6. Frequency of Visits: Ensure the ETM commits to regular site visits to fulfil their responsibilities
  7. Cost: While cost is a factor, prioritise quality and expertise over the cheapest option

The Senior Traffic Commissioner has also identified some general indicators of effective transport management including:

Knowledge and skills – As indicated this requires more than just the formal qualification

Impact – Where the individual CPC holder is recognised as a key person within the organisation so that s/he can influence decisions relevant to compliance and authority to deal with external contractors. Their position should reflect the professional and personal responsibility vested in the individual

Decision making – Where the individual CPC holder is sufficiently close to drivers to be able to influence their behaviours and senior enough to influence the deployment of resources and to inform the decisions of the owner/directors/partners.

How experienced will the ETM need to be?

If you are a new Operator, a new ETM might be just the ticket as you can both grow together. A newly qualified ETM is always really enthusiastic and raring to go. If you are an orange or red operator, however, you will need a more experienced ETM who can offer a tried and tested more robust service.

Will I need someone in place to look after day-to-day duties?

Yes, you will. As your ETM won’t be with you full time you will need to have someone in place for running day-to-day duties on behalf of the External Transport Manager. You will need to work as a team to ensure you are compliant 100% of the time.

What are an External Transport Manager’s responsibilities?

The five key responsibilities include:

  1. Compliance: The primary responsibility of an ETM is to ensure that the Operator complies with all relevant laws and regulations. This includes keeping abreast of changes in legislation and implementing necessary adjustments to maintain compliance
  2. Driver Training and Management: ETMs are responsible for driver training and ensuring that all drivers are appropriately licensed and qualified. They also monitor driver performance and implement corrective actions when needed
  3. Fleet Maintenance and Safety: ETMs ensure that the Operator’s fleet is well-maintained and meets all safety standards
  4. Record Keeping: Accurate record-keeping is crucial in transport operations. ETMs maintain records of drivers’ working hours, vehicle inspections, maintenance logs, and other essential documentation
  5. Incident Management: In the unfortunate event of accidents or incidents, an ETM will handle the situation promptly and appropriately. This involves conducting investigations, reporting incidents to relevant authorities, and implementing preventive measures.

What are an External Transport Manager’s tasks?

The Senior Traffic Commissioner identified the following non-exhaustive list of the types of activity which would be expected of an External Transport Manager.

General Tasks

  • Manage and review compliance systems to ensure that they are effective
  • Address any shortcomings such as prohibitions and/or annual test failures
  • Ensure that relevant changes are notified to the Traffic Commissioner in accordance with operator licence requirements
  • Keep up to date on relevant changes in standards and legislation

Driver Admin

  • Ensure that drivers hold the appropriate licence for the vehicle they are driving (including non-GB vocational drivers from EU member states who are required to register their driving licences with DVLA within 12 months of being resident)
  • Ensure that regular checks are carried out on the drivers’ licences
  • Ensure that vocational drivers hold a valid driver CPC qualification (DQC)
  • Ensure that all driver hours records are kept for a period of no less than 12 months
  • Ensure that all working time records are kept for a period of no less than 24 months

Driver Management

  • Ensure compliance with driving hours rules (EU or Domestic Hours rules)
  • Ensure that drivers are recording their duty, driving time and rest breaks on the appropriate equipment or in drivers’ hours books and their records are being handed back for inspection as required
  • Where appropriate, download and store data from the vehicle digital tachograph unit. This should be at least every 90 days and from the drivers’ tachograph smart cards, at least every 28 days
  • Ensure that driver hours records are retained and are available to be produced during the relevant period
  • Ensure that records are retained for the purposes of the Working Time Directive (WTD) and that they are available to be produced during the relevant period
  • Ensure that drivers are adequately trained and competent to operate all relevant vehicles and equipment
  • Contribute to relevant training and subsequent disciplinary processes as required.

Driver Operations

  • Ensure that drivers are completing and returning their driver defect reporting sheets and that defects are recorded correctly
  • Ensure that all drivers and mobile workers take adequate breaks and periods of daily and weekly rest (as per the relevant regulations which apply).

Vehicle Admin

  • Ensure that vehicle maintenance records are retained for a period of no less than 15 months and are made available upon request
  • Ensure that vehicles are specified as required and that operator licence discs are current and displayed correctly
  • Ensure that vehicle payloads notifications are correct, height indicators are fitted and correct, and tachograph calibrations are up to date and displayed
  • Ensure that there are up-to-date certificates of insurance indemnifying company cars, commercial vehicles, and plant
  • Ensure a suitable maintenance planner is completed and displayed appropriately, setting preventative maintenance inspection dates at least 6 months in advance. This should include the Annual Test and other testing or calibration dates.

Vehicle Management

  • Ensure that vehicles and trailers are kept in a fit and roadworthy condition
  • Ensure that reported defects are either recorded in writing or in a format that is readily accessible and repaired promptly
  • Ensure that vehicles and trailers that are not roadworthy are taken out of service
  • Ensure that vehicles and towed equipment are made available for safety inspections, service, repair, and statutory testing
  • Ensure that safety inspections and other statutory testing are carried out within the notified O-licence maintenance intervals (ISO weeks)
  • Liaise with maintenance contractors, manufacturers, hire companies, and dealers, as might be appropriate. They also make certain vehicles and trailers are serviced in accordance with manufacturer recommendations

In addition to ensuring your compliance, the External Transport manager plays a vital role in reducing your fuel costs, assessing your current drivers’ Health and Safety policy status, and assisting with implementing training programs.

Where can I find an External Transport Manager?

An internet search is a good start and social media are good resources. You could also try our ETM Finder Service. This service connects External Transport Managers with Operators. We hold a comprehensive database of ETMs across the UK, so it is likely we can find someone near you. We will also ensure your ETM meets all the criteria we have looked at previously.

How much does an External Transport Manager cost?

For most reputable ETM suppliers, the rates start at £450.00 for one vehicle on the licence, plus £100.00 per additional vehicle per month.

Will there need to be a contract in place?

Yes, you will need an External Transport Manager Contract. This is a legally binding agreement between you and the External Transport Manager. The contract outlines the terms and conditions of employment and the roles and responsibilities of the ETM. You and the ETM will need a contract in place when completing the online TM1 form.

The contract should include the following:

  • Appointment/Termination
  • Duties
  • Fees, invoicing, and expenses
  • Confidentiality
  • Delivery up documents
  • Tax liabilities and indemnity
  • No employment
  • Data protection
  • Force majeure
  • Survival of causes of action
  • Severability
  • Waiver
  • Notices
  • Law and jurisdiction
  • The five key transport manager tasks in detail

You can purchase a template External Transport Manager contract from our shop.

How will an ETM implement our systems?


The External Transport Manager plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance and safety within the transportation industry. By carefully selecting an ETM who meets the necessary qualifications and exhibits strong work ethics, you can enjoy the benefits of smooth operations and reduced fuel costs. Keep communication lines open and collaborate effectively with your ETM and the designated personnel responsible for day-to-day tasks to maintain full compliance at all times.

Are you looking for an External Transport Manager?

Here at TMconsultant, our ETM Finder Service connects transport managers with operators. Every day external transport managers from all over the country join our database who are looking for work. Our ETM Finder Service takes the hassle out of the search process, connecting you with quality qualified ETMs.

Where can I get more information?

If you have any questions regarding the External Transport Manager, please do get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!

*I have changed the wording here from ‘he or she’ to ‘they’ to reflect the current use of non-binary pronouns.