A haulier that “patently failed” to adhere to the O-licensing regime and showed a worrying disregard of the importance of compliance has had its licence revoked. L&P London Services appeared before deputy traffic commissioner (TC) Anthony Seculer at a Leeds public inquiry (PI) after a host of failings were picked up by the DVSA.
Despite the Rotherham company only being issued with its licence for seven vehicles and seven trailers in January 2021, director Iulian Branescu failed to attend a new operator’s seminar that same month and failed to attend two subsequent appointments.
The DVSA then conducted a traffic investigation into the firm and the outcome was marked unsatisfactory. A desk-based assessment into L&P London Services’ maintenance arrangements followed and this was also marked unsatisfactory and so the company was called to a PI.
Seculer said the traffic examiner assessment score of 24 was “exceptionally high” and showed that the transport manager – also Branescu – had only partial control over operations; drivers were not given appropriate training; there was no system for monitoring CPC training or driving licences; download frequencies were unsatisfactory; and there was no effective disciplinary system in place. Branescu told the deputy TC he accepted responsibility for the shortcomings.
In his written decision, the deputy TC highlighted how even the employment regime was against the rules: “Asked how many employees would lose their jobs if the operator company lost its licence, Mr Branescu was frank and open in stating, none.
“His drivers were self-employed contractors, not employees.
“Despite being aware of the recent strictures against LGV drivers, who were to all intents and purposes employees, being engaged on agency or contract for services terms, because of the weaknesses in control and management and the practice running contrary to HMRC guidance, he had continued to engage his drivers on this basis.”
However, Seculer added that there were positives, in that the director and transport manager co-operated with the DVSA. But he also said it was “too little, too late”.
As a result, he revoked the licence and said Branescu had lost his repute as a transport manager and disqualified him indefinitely.