A public inquiry (PI) has lead to the suspension of the O-licence held by Sutton Coldfield-based Moveright International for 28 days and seen the loss of the good repute of its transport manager, who is disqualified for a year.
A Birmingham public inquiry heard that the company had previously attended an inquiry in 2013 after it was discovered that Moveright had had a period of several months without a transport manager after the previous one had left.
At that point the company’s licence was curtailed and it agreed to have regular independent audits.
But more than a year after the first of those audits was supposed to have been carried out and the results submitted to the TC’s office, no audit had been forthcoming.
Last October TC Nick Denton was told by DVSA examiner Paul Matthews that there was no evidence of any audits having been carried out since 2013, although there should have been four. Other shortcomings included no evidence that vehicle defects reported by drivers had been rectified and large gaps in safety inspection records.
At the PI the operator did provide evidence of an audits carried out in 2015, but the TC was not impressed.
He wrote of the first: “It consisted of a single page headed “Operator Compliance Preliminary Check Sheet”, some ticks or marks out of 10 all of which had been redacted [presumably by the operator] and just three comments: “Good, safe operation”; “Need to review defects reporting and rectification”; “check driver licences/qualification (DQC)”. It was the sparsest and least professional audit that I have ever seen.”
Denton added that he found the operator’s response to the DVSA report “disappointing and somewhat complacent”.
Company director and current transport manager Andrew Goodman was at the PI, as was his solicitor Jared Dunbar. Among other things Dunbar pointed out that Moveright had been audited in 2016 and 2018 and that some of the missing safety inspection sheets were accounted for by vehicles being off the road.
The most recent audit, by JG Till Transport Consultants, was handed to Denton shortly before the inquiry. Denton noted that this audit reported that “there are problems with this company on many levels” and that “many issues have been neglected for too long”.
Goodman told the PI that he had been in ill health from April-June 2017 but had stabilised since. He accepted that he had “lost a little bit of focus on driver compliance” but that he was now addressing this.
Denton concluded that Goodman had seriously neglected his transport manager duties for some time and that the company’s conduct fell within the “severe to serious” category.
After the 28 days licence suspension he will curtail its licence to two rather than the current six vehicles until it can build up an extended track record of compliance.
By David Harris