Compliance failures

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Numerous compliance failures led to the revocation of Anthony Morris’ O-licence

Following a public inquiry (PI), the restricted operating licence of Anthony Morris, granted on 6 April 2002, was revoked by Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Wales Victoria Davies in April as a result of failures in compliance. DVSA Vehicle Examiner (VE) Geraint Dean conducted an investigation

visit and issued a report dated 29 November 2022 which highlighted shortcomings, including that although the licence was held by Anthony Morris as a sole trader, the legal entity operating the vehicle appeared to be a partnership between Mr Morris and Paul Herbert.

The VE was unable to engage with Mr Morris and dealt directly with Mr Herbert who described himself as Mr Morris’ ‘business partner.’ The vehicle operated was registered to Mr Herbert and parked at his address, maintenance was carried out on the vehicle by his son, and his telephone number was on it, though was removed prior to the vehicle being presented for DVSA inspection.

The operating centre specified was at WG Thomas Coaches, Porth Bus Depot, Porth. However, it was established by a DVSA visit that the operator was unknown to staff there, and there was no permission to park there.


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There was no evidence of any brake performance testing, no mileages on maintenance inspection reports, no tyre tread depths recorded, and evidence of late safety inspections. Driver checks were not being carried out effectively, with pre use inspection carried out by Mr Herbert once every two weeks. The vehicle did not have a commercial PSV MOT, and Mr Morris had demonstrated no continuous and effective control of the operation nor relevant continuous professional development.

Public Inquiry

In light of information from the DVSA, the operator was called to PI, held at in Pontypridd on 21 March. The operator had not sent the required evidence of financial standing nor maintenance documentation which had been requested in advance. Mr Morris stated that he believed he had surrendered the licence in December 2022 and had destroyed the licence disc and other documentation. It was established that, although he had started the online process to surrender his licence, he had not completed the process. He accepted that even if he had done so, the TC would not have accepted his request given the ongoing regulatory proceedings.


Evidence from VE Dean confirmed that he did not receive any recent maintenance documents for analysis prior to the inquiry, which the operator was asked to send. He clarified and confirmed some aspects of his report and the differences between a private MOT test as opposed to the test for commercial vehicles and why this was a matter of concern for DVSA.

Mr Morris explained that he worked full time as a carpet estimator/fitter and had done for 29 years. He had held this operator’s licence since 2002 and had initially had a contract with Freeman’s cigar factory in Cardiff to transport its workers, but when that ended it had become more of a ‘hobby’ and, with Mr Herbert, he thought it might be something that they could both do in retirement. He maintained that he was still the operator of this licence, but that because he was so busy in his day job, he left things to Mr Herbert, including taking the vehicle for inspection and liaising with the DVSA. His evidence was that he and Mr Herbert were not yet business partners, despite what Mr Herbert told the DVSA examiner and the fact that Mr Herbert’s number and livery was written on the vehicle. He accepted ‘with hindsight’ that those shouldn’t have been written on the vehicle. He explained that Mr Herbert was thinking of applying for his own licence but he thought Mr Herbert was using the vehicle for private use. He accepted that he had not used the nominated operating centre for many years, nor informed the TC’s office of a change to maintenance provider, which he said was down to oversight. Asked why he had signed the declaration to continue the licence as recently as March last year, on which it stated that the operating centre and maintenance provider were still those at WG Thomas’ site, which he knew to be false, he again put it down to ‘oversight.’

Matters of fact

Based on the evidence available and the balance of probabilities, the TC found that the operator made statements when applying for the licence which were false or had not been fulfilled. The operator had also failed to keep vehicles fit and serviceable, to report promptly and in writing any defects that could prevent the safe operation of vehicles, to keep records for 15 months of driver defect reports, safety inspections and routine maintenance and make them available on request, and to inform the TC’s office of changes to the licence.

By failing to provide the financial evidence and maintenance records in advance of the PI and failing to engage with the DVSA during its investigation or to respond to VE Dean’s report, the TC deemed that Mr Morris had shown he was not fit to hold an operator’s licence and was no longer of good repute.

The TC also found that he was no longer operating as a sole trader and had demonstrated no management control of the licence. In the absence of financial evidence, the TC said she could also not be satisfied that the operator continued to have appropriate financial standing.

Beyond the lack of previous negative history, the TC considered that there was little else to put on the positive side of the balance. The operator’s failure to respond and failure to provide the evidence requested meant that he lost the opportunity to demonstrate any compliance. The TC noted that the statement on the application regarding the WG Thomas site was patently false. The negative features of the case significantly outweigh the positives, she said, adding that she found it ‘unlikely’ that the operator would be compliant in the future. The TC accepted that he did not intend to continue in the PSV trade, and the licence was revoked from 2345hrs on 31 March 2023.