The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the Traffic Commissioners have acknowledged the changing nature of the logistics industry with proposed amendments to the Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Guidance and Directions. In its response to consultation on the amendments, the FTA welcomed the better recognition of the 21st century logistics operation in the operator licensing regime. FTA has been working with the Traffic Commissioners for several years to investigate how the regulator’s approach should change towards centrally managed operations – large dispersed fleets where compliance is managed on a national basis. This culminated in an FTA member workshop with the Senior Traffic Commissioner in March 2014.
James Firth, FTA’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said: “The current operator licensing legislation fits a model where a haulage company has a yard with some trucks in it, and an office with a person called a Transport Manager who has a filing cabinet. But the further a logistics operation moves away from that model – and the more sophisticated it becomes – the less straightforward it is for that operator to prove their compliance with the law as it is written.”
The amendments recognise the changing nature of the role of the Transport Manager, outlining behaviours expected, with a far greater emphasis on managing systems which ensure compliance rather than carrying out specific tasks themselves. The draft documents also, for the first time, recognise the difficulties placed on operators in administrating operator licence changes whilst subject to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (known as TUPE). Recognising that in such circumstances situations can change very quickly, the documents outline changes of approach which make the operator licensing aspects more flexible. This was a specific issue which members raised at the March 2014 workshop.
Mr Firth said:“This has been a great example of the regulators working with industry to develop a better, more proportionate regulatory process. There’s more work to be done and FTA members look forward to working with the Senior Traffic Commissioner in the future.”