Scrap TC function, recommends government review

Chris Tindall
June 9, 2023

The eight traffic commissioners (TCs) should be replaced with one independent tribunal body headed up by a statutory presidential role, according to a review into their function.

The DfT’s report into the work of the TCs also proposed overhauling the current fee structure so that the operating deficit is removed and enabling the Office of the Traffic Commissioner to be fully funded through the fees it charges.

The 12 recommendations, which would have a significant impact on the way the TCs currently operate, follow a public consultation into the health and effectiveness of their function.

The review suggested that the DfT proceeded with a change to allow the TCs to make tribunal rules, including cost orders, and it said consolidating their role into one body would make managing the organisation less complex.

“Such a change would make the function more like other tribunals which have a chamber president,” it said.

Chris Powell, principal associate at law firm Weightmans, said if the recommendations were adopted they would fundamentally reform the licencing regime and affect all licence-holders.

“The recommendation to replace individual traffic commissioners with a single specialist tribunal could mean stronger powers to take action against operators who don’t hit the mark,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the proposals to reform the fee structure would more than likely mean higher costs coming down the line for operators who run larger fleets.”

In a statement, the TCs said: “The specialist team has recognised the value of our varied functions and has raised a number of exciting options for change.”

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and quickly realised there was enough going on to keep him busy for a very long time. He’s covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning, Brexit and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lack of safe and secure lorry parks and he helped secure the release of a lorry driver in a Polish jail due to misuse of the European Arrest Warrant.

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