Traffic Commissioners issue guidance on remote audits

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The Office of the Traffic Commissioners has announced that it agreed to accept operator compliance audits conducted remotely, providing they follow the guidelines set out in a new document. The Traffic Commissioners emphasis that this is a temporary concession, which is aimed at continuing to improve operator safety whilst operating in compliance with public health advice. It says that audits must be based on evidence, and the standard audit framework has been updated with the minimum necessary evidence required.

It states that those providing evidence may scan or photograph documents to send to the auditor. Each document must be complete and easy to read. Vehicle taxation status and MOT history should be made publicly available, but operators are reminded not to share VOL login details with auditors, as these are personal and not transferable.

Software such as Skype or Microsoft Teams can be used to share screens so that the auditor can check remotely such as, tachograph and maintenance records stored electronically, and operators may decide, at their own risk and discretion, to provide auditors with remote access to any online compliance systems (such as for maintenance or drivers hours).

Operators and Transport Managers should carry out interviews and debrief meetings using software so that all the parties can see each other, and auditors must confirm the identity of operator representatives before any interview or debrief commences. The debrief should be with a director, partner or the sole trader together with the Transport Manager for standard licences. Where no evidence is available, this should be declared, and verbal assurances from the operator carry little weight.

The full document can be viewed via: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-remote-auditing-during-the-pandemic