Update for operators from the Office of Traffic Commissioners

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The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have announced the following updates for operators:

Tribunal hearings

In-person tribunal hearings are set to resume from Monday 6 July 2020 in England, with hearings in Scotland and Wales likely to start a few weeks later as circumstances allow. This follows the postponement of cases in March 2020 as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Each tribunal location has been risk assessed and appropriate control measures identified. Steps will be put in place to maintain social distancing and ensure that facilities are COVID-secure. The health and safety of attendees, Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) staff and the commissioners themselves remains of paramount importance and underpins the decision to resume in-person hearings.

Those called to a hearing will be advised of the time and date of their hearing, with sufficient notice given to prepare their case. OTC will provide advice on the steps they may need to take ahead of the hearing in the provision of evidence, and on arrival to assist in maintaining social distancing and ensuring hygiene standards.

Anyone who wants to attend a public inquiry as an observer will need to contact the OTC in advance. This is because the capacity of the tribunal rooms will be restricted during the current period. Some hearings may continue to be held via video link or equivalent. This will be limited to appropriate cases only.

Anyone called to PI who has concerns about attending in person should let OTC staff know immediately on receipt of the letter calling them to a hearing. While the majority of OTC staff continue to work from home, please direct any email enquiries to [email protected] or your relevant case worker’s email address.

Financial standing periods of grace

The maximum period of grace for financial standing an operator can seek has increased.

Previously, it was a maximum of 6 months with the Senior Traffic Commissioner having set a 4 month starting point. The law has been changed to increase that maximum to 12 months with the STC suggesting an initial 6 month starting point. Any decisions about the grant or length of a period of grace will include an assessment of the risk to road safety.

This extension to the law applies to any determination made between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. This gives operators the opportunity to recover their finances during the extended period following the resumption of normal trading as the lockdown eases.

Tell your TC early if you have problems

You should tell your TC if you are experiencing any issue in meeting the financial standing requirement. The condition on your licence gives you a month to notify changes. The TC is likely to be sympathetic and will seek to assist wherever possible, especially given the difficulties arising from COVID-19.

If you can no longer meet the financial standing requirement you are strongly advised to contact the Office of the Traffic Commissioner at [email protected] for advice.