Would you be prepared if you were called to a public inquiry?
Public Inquiry Support
Being called to a public inquiry can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience that can potentially devastate your business and reputation.
We know that losing your licence could mean losing your business, that’s why our team of award-winning transport experts are on hand to guide you through the public inquiry process and make sure you’re prepared and ready.
Traffic commissioners are the regulators of the road transport industry in Great Britain. Traffic commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport but act independently from Government and the enforcement agencies, for example, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Their function is to ensure that only safe and reliable operators of goods and passenger vehicles are permitted to be licensed.
They will consider and grant a licence based on the undertakings given by the applicant, and they are entitled to expect the operator to comply with those undertakings during the life of the licence. Traffic commissioners may take regulatory action against an operator if they fail to comply – where they may revoke, suspend or curtail an operator’s licence.
Did you know Logico has a Bar Standards Licence, which means we have licence access to work with Barristers to help strengthen your case in the event you are called to a Public Inquiry.
What you need to know
A public inquiry is a formal tribunal hearing, where a traffic commissioner is the decision maker. There are three main types of public inquiry:
- To determine licence applications;
- Reviews of operating centres (for goods operator licences only);
- Regulatory reasons, where the future of transport operations will be considered.
When an application is heard, the traffic commissioner will consider evidence from the applicant and if required any valid opposition to the application. When reviewing an operating centre, the traffic commissioner will consider evidence from the operator and any valid complainants. In regulatory cases the traffic commissioner will consider evidence from the operator and usually evidence provided by the DVSA and/or other enforcement bodies.
There are various reasons operators and transport managers get called in to a Public Inquiry. Examples include:
- Vehicles not being properly maintained
- Tachograph infringements and offences (for example card-pulling)
- Proper records not being kept
- Lack of financial standing
- Convictions for criminal offences
- Operating from an unauthorised operating centre
- No longer being of good repute
Whatever the reason, the Traffic Commissioner will expect you to account for any failings and explain what has been done to fix them.
One of the main reasons operators are called to Public Inquiry is the failings of a Desk Based Assessment (DBA) undertaking by the DVSA. A DBA may be triggered through an application to increase your licence, a compliant from the general public or they can simply write to you and ask you to complete a questionnaire.
If you fail to meet the standard of the assessment undertaking by the DVSA, you will be invited to a Public Inquiry.
As a responsible operator you should have transport audits completed to ensure you are complying with the standards of your licence. Talk to our compliance team.
Our highly qualified and friendly team of transport professionals will work with you to get you through the process, once instructed we will:
- Meet with you and your team to review the evidence
- Work with you to ensure you have the correct compliance system in place
- We’ll identify the next steps to ensure that your case is as strong as possible on the day
- Logico or through our licence access to a Barrister, who will represent you at the Public Inquiry to present your evidence and put forward the legal arguments on your behalf.
Why not also read our recent blog on what to expect at a public inquiry, HERE.