KJ Hudson Machinery Services has O-licence revoked due to effectively having no transport manager in place

Traffic commissioner Nick Denton

 

A company that knowingly operated for at least three years without a functioning transport manager has had its O-licence revoked.

In a written decision following a September public inquiry (PI) in Birmingham, West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton said Godfrey Pritchard, who had been nominated on the licence of KJ Hudson Machinery Services, had “entirely failed to exercise the functions and responsibilities of a transport manager”.

The Cradley Heath-based firm had held a restricted O-licence, granted in 2005 and revoked in December 2014 following a PI into numerous prohibitions and fixed penalties it had incurred. 

KJ Hudson Machinery Services was granted a standard national goods vehicle O-licence for four vehicles and four trailers in January 2015, subject to an audit that was later carried out.

The DVSA stopped a vehicle operated by KJ Hudson Machinery Services on 5 February, and discovered a device fitted that disabled the AdBlue system. Sole director Kenneth Hudson said that he had bought the vehicle in April 2017 but not appreciated that it was illegal to operate a vehicle with an AdBlue pollution reduction system that had been switched off. He believed this was acceptable as long as the vehicle did not enter a low emission zone. 

When DVSA vehicle examiner Christopher Walker later visited the firm, he found a vehicle file for one truck unavailable for inspection, insufficient evidence of meaningful brake tests for vehicles and trailers and an ineffective driver defect reporting system.

The operator’s prohibition record at the end of July showed 18 prohibitions out of 40 encounters – almost double the national average. 

TC Denton said the company’s poor prohibition record seemed to be “a continuation of all the shortcomings of the previous restricted licence.”

Pritchard, named as transport manager on the O-licence until 15 February, did not have a contract with KJ Hudson Machinery Services and was never paid.

The TC said: “His continued presence as a name on the licence in effect allowed KJ Hudson to operate with the outward display of professional competence even though no one with the required qualifications was exercising any degree of management.” 

TC Denton said current transport manager Barry Hudson, appointed on 28 April, came across as more effective than Pritchard, but added: “He cannot, in my view, work 45 hours a week as a driver in addition to his work as a transport manager.

“For one thing that would take him over the maximum permitted weekly working hours; for another, the state of this licence and the level of compliance demand a much greater intensity of activity by a transport manager than might be the case for a compliant operator.”

In his decision, the TC:

  • Revoked the standard national O-licence held by K J Hudson Machinery Services from 17 November.
  • Disqualified transport manager Godfrey Pritchard with immediate effect and indefinitely. 
  • Disqualified Kenneth Hudson from holding an O-licence for a period of three years from 17 November and from being the director of any company holding or obtaining a licence.