‘Self-isolating’ director’s application refused following PI non-attendance

HMRC

A St Albans-based operator that threatened the traffic commissioner’s office with legal action if it heard a case in his absence, has had his application refused following a public inquiry.

West Herts Tipper Services sought an operator license authorising 10 HGVs, but concerns over its financial standing, availability of its proposed operating centre and how it would demonstrate professional competence when its CPC holder had resigned in July, prompted the Eastern traffic area TC Richard Turfitt to call a PI.

Director Alexander De Gabriele wrote to the TC’s office to explain he was self-isolating having developed Covid-19 symptoms and was therefore unable to attend.

The TC suggested a remote hearing, but De Gabriele responded stating he was too ill to participate, and he was then asked to provide medical evidence.

In response, the director wrote: “I’ve been advised to self-isolate!

“I have not yet been tested and will not have time to do so beforehand.

“I will instruct legal council today on this matter. If you insist on dealing with this case in my absence it will be my lawyers that you here [sic] from next.”

In a written response, following a PI in the director’s absence, Turfitt said he remained to be satisfied about repute, financial standing and professional competence: “The application is refused on that basis,” he added.

“The applicant is at liberty to renew its application but will need to address all matters at issue and to do so promptly if that is to progress in future.”

Hire firm sent to Coventry for compliance failings

HSE

A Coventry skip hire firm has been booted out of the industry after a traffic commissioner described its record of compliance as “dismal”.

Jordan Pointon, trading as JMP Waste & Transport Services, was also disqualified from holding or obtaining an O-licence for two years and disqualified from acting as a transport manager for three years.

Pointon held a standard international licence for the two HGVs and three trailers but a DVSA investigation in March raised concerns about the operation of his company.

It found Pointon was operating four vehicles regularly and there was a high MOT failure rate of 75% over the life of the licence.

In addition, safety inspection records showed missing inspections and there was no evidence of any brake tests, among a host of other issues.

At a public inquiry, Backhouse Jones solicitor Andrew Woolfall told West Midlands TC Nick Denton that Pointon accepted there had been many failings and that he had spread himself too thinly as maintainer, transport manager, operator and driver.

However, he now wanted to concentrate on a restricted licence for the company and he was bringing people into the company and contracting out maintenance.

Pointon said he fully accepted his failings, but had not been deliberate and were down to poor management and taking on too much.

In a written decision, TC Denton said: “I found little evidence that Mr Pointon had effected any real improvement since the DVSA report in March.

“His claim that he had introduced quarterly roller brake tests in January 2020 could not be substantiated by the documentary evidence, which showed only one such brake test across the fleet.

“The new maintenance contract with an outside provider had only recently been concluded.

“The RHA tachograph analysis had only been carried out at the end of August, a few days before the public inquiry.

“Refresher training had only recently been booked and had not yet taken place.”

He added: “Mr Pointon’s actual record of compliance is dismal: he has operated with little regard not only for maintenance procedures but also for drivers’ hours and tachograph rules, for the rules relating to the number of vehicles which he is authorised to operate and for laws relating to tax and MOT.”

The TC also refused an application by JMP Waste and Transport Services.