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Having successfully passed your FORS Bronze audit, you might be contemplating the next steps. The logical progression is to work toward achieving your FORS Silver accreditation. TMconsultant's FORS Silver assistance guarantees a successful outcome, providing an online support solution tailored to secure your FORS Silver accreditation.


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Silver Policies, Processes and Risk Assessment Templates

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Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

Changes to Drivers’ hours fines for commercial drivers March 5 2018

The rules will change from 5 March 2018 so lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days.

If you drive a lorry, bus or coach, you must follow rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks you need to take.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can fine drivers up to £300 if they’re caught breaking the rules. They can also be prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.

At the moment, DVSA can only fine drivers for:

  • offences committed that day
  • ongoing offences, like manipulating tachograph records, which record drivers’ hours

Drivers will be fined for older offences

From Monday 5 March 2018, DVSA traffic examiners will start issuing on-the-spot fines for any drivers’ hours offences committed in the last 28 days.

In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners will issue fines for up to 5 drivers’ hours offences. It means you could be fined up to £1,500 in a single check if you’ve consistently broken the rules.

It won’t matter if the offences took place in Great Britain or elsewhere.

The rules will also apply to drivers who don’t live in Great Britain. However, they’ll need to pay any fines immediately, before being allowed to continue their journey. DVSA will immobilise their vehicle until they pay.

Fines to deter drivers from not resting properly

As well as giving fines to drivers for recent offences, DVSA traffic examiners have started issuing fines to deal with drivers who don’t properly rest.

Lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break at least every fortnight.

Since 1 November 2017, DVSA has started to fine drivers up to £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle in places where it causes a problem. For example, if a lorry driver spends their full break in the cab of their lorry in a layby.

Illegal parking, noise and litter nuisance

Spending the weekly rest break in the cab can:

  • contribute to drivers not properly resting
  • expose drivers to poor living conditions

It can also cause problems in local communities. In some areas, lorry drivers have parked illegally or inappropriately while taking the 45-hour break, and have caused residents to complain about noise, litter and anti-social behaviour.

During 2016, authorities in Kent took action against 3,700 lorry drivers for parking illegally or inappropriately.

Targeting problem areas

DVSA traffic examiners will target places where this is causing the biggest problems, such as residential areas and laybys.

DVSA will also work with its counterparts in other countries to deal with overseas operators whose drivers regularly do this.

Devastating consequences of driving tired

Crashes involving tired lorry drivers can be devastating. Almost a quarter of injuries in accidents involving lorries are fatal or serious.

About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), driving while tired may be responsible for:

  • 1 in 5 of all accidents
  • up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes

Source: Vehicle enforcement data for Great Britain

In addition to the devastation caused to families and communities, road collisions cost the economy an estimated £16.3 billion a year, and add pressure on the NHS and emergency services.

Protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.

These tougher fines will help us to take stronger action against any drivers or operators who break drivers’ hours rules and will help make our roads safer.

There’s no excuse for driving while tired. The results of falling asleep at the wheel of 40 tonne lorry can be devastating to families and communities. Any drivers breaking these rules is putting other road users at risk and could face losing their licence and livelihood.

James Firth, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said:

For some years, DVSA officers have been virtually powerless to take effective action against non-UK HGV drivers who may have committed a string of offences in the days and weeks before the vehicle is stopped.

These new powers mean the enforcement authorities will be more able – and more likely – to take action against all drivers who are found to have repeatedly flouted these critical road safety laws.

New HGV roadworthiness legislation

New HGV roadworthiness legislation on its way

The government will be introducing new HGV roadworthiness legislation next year. The Department for Transport (DfT) has recently published the response to a consultation, setting out the HGV periodic testing and inspections exemptions which you can read here. It forms part of a wider package of legislation on roadworthiness-related changes, which will come into effect from 20 May 2018.

Who does this apply to?

The big question is, who (and what) does this new legislation apply to? Well, this is aimed at specialised heavy vehicles (which were previously exempt) who will now fall into the scope of annual testing. These vehicles will need to be plated before they are tested.

When will the new legislation take effect?

The DVSA will implement a phased approach for most vehicle types affected, which will extend the date for compliance, under certain circumstances, beyond 20 May 2018 and up to 20 May 2019 at the latest. It’s based on the Vehicle Excise Duty renewal date for the relevant vehicles. This will help to make sure the implementation is carried out in a way that gives industry more flexibility to balance out the testing of their fleet over a longer period.

Which vehicles will now be included?

In total, DVSA estimate there to be around 29,500 vehicles that will be brought into testing. The largest groups of vehicles affected are breakdown vehicles, road construction vehicles and engineering plant.
Top line categories of vehicles to be removed from exemption:
  • Mobile cranes; Break-down vehicles;
  • Engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations;
  • Trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam;
  • Tower wagons;
  • Road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis);
  • Electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015; Tractor units pulling exempt trailers; and
  • Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis.

It’s worth noting that showman’s vehicles, many of which are currently exempt from testing as plant or motor tractors, will remain exempt from testing via a new specific exemption

Plating and testing

The focus of the consultation was on the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing. However, heavy vehicles within scope of annual roadworthiness testing are also by default within scope of vehicle plating. This involves DVSA issuing a plating certificate, in advance of a vehicle’s first test, to be attached to the vehicle that denotes the maximum vehicle weight and maximum train weight. This assists with vehicle testing and enforcement. There is no fee to vehicle operators for being plated, but this imposes an administrative cost to DVSA, funded by roadworthiness test fees.

Vehicles becoming subject to testing will join the existing goods vehicle testing regime where DVSA personnel test vehicles at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs). Where, due to the unusual design of a particular vehicle, this is not possible, the vehicle testers will satisfy themselves that safety and environmental standards will be maintained. The fees for these tests will be the same as applies to all currently tested HGVs

As with all consultations and new legislation changes they are detailed. So if you fall into any of the above categories it is recommended you read the full document which you can find here. Find out more about the phased approach.

If you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to get in touch, here to share the knowledge!
Bus and coach drivers Driver CPC deadline approaching

Changes to fines for commercial drivers

Changes to fines for commercial drivers

(Forward post from DVSA)

Changes to fines for commercial drivers rules will affect lorry, bus and coach drivers who drive tired will be fined for every time they’ve done it in the last 28 days.

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!


load securing guide-22000-road-impact-incidents

DVSA publishes new load securing guide for vehicle operators

DVSA publishes new load securing guide for vehicle operators. New guidance has been published by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to help vehicle operators transport loads securely. This is a very comprehensive new guide which is easy to read and very useful. It also contains great new DVSA films posted in youtube.

The guide, developed with the transport industry, sets out important information like:

  • who’s responsible for load securing
  • the consequences of poor load securing
  • how DVSA enforces the rules on load securing

It gives practical advice about:

  • loading on different types of vehicles
  • carrying different types of loads

The guide includes videos so operators can find out things like:

  • what DVSA looks for when it stops a vehicle at the roadside
  • how different load securing systems can be used

The new load securing guide can be used by fleet operators to help meet requirement V6 Safe loading in the FORS standard which states “Fleet operators shall ensure that vehicles are safely loaded and that appropriate load restraints are used.”

To view the full article, please click here


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!

Transport Manager Costs

Simple & Transparent Pricing

We keep our External Transport Manager costs simple and transparent so you know exactly what you will be paying per month. Prices start at just £189.00 for Restricted Operators and £450.00 for Standard Operators.

GREEN OPERATORS (or new operators)
£450.00 for the first vehicle per month
Plus £100.00 per additional vehicle on the licence up to five vehicles. Then £75.00 for each additional vehicle.
£550.00 for the first vehicle per month
Plus £100.00 per additional vehicle on the licence up to five vehicles. Then £75.00 for each additional vehicle.
£650.00 for the first vehicle per month
Plus £100.00 per additional vehicle on the licence up to five vehicles. Then £75.00 for each additional vehicle.
RESTRICTED OPERATORS Phone & Email Advisory Service
per month

How can TMconsultant help?

Our ETM Finder Service connects Operators with External Transport Managers. The quick and simple service involves completing a simple form, making a payment, and then carrying out a search to find a suitable ETM near you. Once a suitable match is found, an introduction is made between you and the ETM.

External Transport Manager Finder Service

Connecting Operators with External Transport Managers

How many hours should an External Transport Manager work?

Below is the statutory guidance as to what might be expected in terms of hours worked by an external transport manager, relative to the maximum number of vehicles authorised for a licence. Remote working is acceptable, however, at least one monthly visit is necessary for an external transport manager to carry out their duties efficiently. For more information regarding the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s revised Statutory Guidance and Directions 3, go here.


Policies and Procedures tm consultant

Why we like Policies and Procedures for Transport Managers

Why do we like Policies and Procedures for Transport Managers? Imagine a bustling transport operation where vehicles are dispatched seamlessly, maintenance issues are promptly addressed, and drivers adhere to strict safety protocols. This smooth operation isn’t a result of chance but of meticulously crafted policies and procedures. While the topic might not seem thrilling at first glance, its importance cannot be overstated.

Policies and procedures for transport managers provide the foundational framework for how a transport department functions. They define responsibilities, streamline decision-making, and ensure consistent and transparent operations. By establishing clear guidelines, policies and procedures helps prevent misunderstandings and debates, making it easier to navigate complex situations and maintain organisational harmony.

Transport managers, in particular, rely on these frameworks to implement Operator Licence undertakings effectively. From vehicle checks and maintenance to health and safety protocols, grievance procedures, and training programs, comprehensive policies cover a wide array of operational aspects. Writing a policies and procedures manual is undoubtedly a significant and time-consuming task, but it results in a powerful document that is indispensable to any efficient transport operation.

Why Do We Have Policies and Procedures?

Ensuring Efficiency and Control

No successful operator can run efficiently without robust policies and processes in place. A business without these guidelines is like a truck without a driver—essentially an organisation without control. Personnel at all levels would lack the guidance needed to make decisions and carry out tasks effectively. Consider the scenario of returning a faulty product to a shop without a clear refund policy; the outcome would vary based on who is serving you. Similarly, the absence of policies leads to inconsistent decision-making within an organisation.

Components of a Strong Internal Control System

The purpose of creating an internal control system through defining and documenting processes with well-written procedures can be summarised into four key components:

  1. Compliance: Complying with traffic laws and regulations is the fundamental responsibility of any operator. While policies and procedures alone may not demonstrate compliance, well-documented processes, including training and record-keeping, highlight an effective internal control system and adherence to regulations and standards.
  2. Operational Needs: Policies and procedures ensure that all operations run smoothly by providing clear guidelines on how tasks should be performed. This leads to a more organised and efficient workflow.
  3. Managing Risks: Identifying and mitigating risks is crucial for any transport operation. Well-defined procedures help manage potential risks by establishing protocols for various scenarios, thereby minimising the chance of errors and accidents.
  4. Continuous Improvement through Review: Regularly reviewing the effectiveness of policies is an integral part of internal control. Are your objectives being met? Are they meaningful and reflective of the process’s importance and risk? Necessary corrections can be identified and implemented through these reviews, fostering continuous improvement. Improvement is always a question of “as compared to what?”

Enhancing Efficiency and Reducing Supervision

Efficiency is at the heart of a transport manager’s role. Since the transport manager cannot be everywhere at once, developing and communicating policies allows staff and drivers to understand and adhere to their responsibilities independently. This reduces the need for direct supervision and increases overall operational efficiency. Creating well-defined processes documented by procedures to meet legal and regulatory requirements should be a top priority.

The Benefits of Well-Defined Policies and Procedures

Supporting Effective Decision-Making

Clear policies and procedures provide a framework for decision-making and delegation. They outline what actions are permissible, what decisions can be made, and what activities are appropriate. This clarity supports effective decision-making at all levels of the organisation.

Reducing Misunderstandings and Ensuring Consistency

A clear policy framework minimises misunderstandings and debates about specific situations. It ensures transparency and consistency in organisational operations and decision-making, creating a more harmonious and efficient working environment.

Implementation and Challenges

Creating a Comprehensive Manual

Writing a policies and procedures manual is a significant undertaking for any transport manager. It requires time and effort to gather all the necessary information and format it into a coherent document. However, once completed, it becomes a valuable asset that provides clear guidance for all operational aspects.

Utilising Off-the-Shelf Templates

Off-the-shelf templates can save time and effort. They provide a good starting point, but it’s crucial to customise them to meet your specific company requirements. While templates reduce the initial workload, a thorough review and adjustments are necessary to ensure they fit your organisation’s unique needs.

It’s worth noting that if you are ever in the unfortunate position of being called to a public enquiry, the Traffic Commissioner will scrutinise your policies and processes. If you have purchased an off-the-shelf template and have not made the requisite amendments, they will notice!

Continuous Improvement and Review

Regular Reviews and Updates

Reviewing data for policy effectiveness is a critical form of internal control and should be an integral part of the process. Annual reviews help determine if objectives are being achieved and if they are meaningful and reflective of the process’s importance and risk. These reviews enable necessary corrections and improvements.

Driving Improvement

Improvement occurs when comparing the prior condition to the current condition. It’s essential to ask, “as compared to what?” This question drives continuous improvement, ensuring that policies and procedures remain effective and relevant.


Policies and procedures are the backbone of any successful transport operation. They provide the structure needed for efficient and compliant operations, support effective decision-making, and drive continuous improvement. While creating these documents can be time-consuming, the benefits they offer make them an indispensable part of a transport manager’s toolkit.

If you would like to purchase our comprehensive Compliance Pack or would like to know more about writing your own policies and procedures for transport managers, please do get in touch. Here to share the knowledge!