TC: 95% of cases now heard without a full PI

Ashleigh Wight
June 6, 2016

Approximately 95% of cases dealt with via a preliminary hearing in front of Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) staff have resulted in improved compliance without the need for a full public inquiry (PI), East of England traffic commissioner (TC) Richard Turfitt has said.

Informal preliminary hearings are increasingly being used by the OTC as a means of reducing the pressure on the TCs’ resources and ensuring that the most serious cases are dealt with at PI sooner.

Turfitt(pictured) told delegates at the Woodfines Road Transport Conference in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, last week that about 500 preliminary hearings were held nationwide last year. The number of PIs remained about same as the previous year; there were 859 PIs in 2014-15.

He said: “In about 95% of these preliminary hearings we have received a suitable response from the operator. They act on it and a public inquiry is not required.

“You pay for this service, so it’s important that we use the money in the right way. We want to target the rogues.”

He said the DVSA was doing more at an earlier stage to advise operators where standards have slipped, allowing PIs to be reserved for the “seriously and serially non-compliant”.

Senior TC Beverley Bell has also been trialling interviews with senior team leaders (STL) at the OTC in the North West traffic area. Turfitt stressed that such hearings are formal and operators are still required to bring their records along.

Turfitt said: “I have senior members of staff in my office, replicated across the country, who are perfectly capable of chewing through a load of records to check how far below the standard an operator is. Where I have questions, we may very well be asking an operator to come into an STL interview to carry out a check and then the STL will make a recommendation to me in writing.”

About the Author


Ashleigh Wight

Ashleigh is a former news reporter for Commercial Motor and Motor Transport and currently the editor of OHW+ and HR and wellbeing editor at Personnel Today.

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