Lies end in disqualification for transport manager
A transport manager has been disqualified for two years after a traffic commissioner found she had lied about her role within several haulage firms.
Scotland’s TC Claire Gilmore said Andrea Gardner had provided her office with misleading information regarding her employment and the hours she worked as a transport manager.
Gary Smith, director and transport manager of Bullet Express, told a public inquiry he was unaware Gardner had external transport manager duties and although she was not the named transport manager at his firm, she did have a significant role in Bullet’s transport operation.
Another company, S&B Removals, was also unaware that Gardner – its transport manager – was working for other companies.
However, the TC noted that when it found out, she was removed from its O-licence and replaced.
A third operator, Microcycle, did not attend the PI but instead notified the TC’s office that it wished to surrender its licence.
Gardner admitted that between 2012 and 2018 she submitted TM1 forms on at least five occasions that did not include details of her employment with Bullet Express.
The forms also exaggerated the hours she intended to work, or was working, as an external transport manager for the firms that had hired her.
She said she feared that if she had been truthful then she would not have been appointed as transport manager, given the extent of her other duties.
In a written decision, TC Gilmore said: “It became clear during the inquiry that Ms Gardner had hidden the extent of her duties from Bullet Express, her principal employer, and from all the operators for whom she had worked as an external transport manager.”
The TC said Gardner had also misled a DVSA traffic examiner during his investigations and pretended she was out of the country when in fact she was working in her full-time position at Bullet Express.
Gilmore said there were positives in the case, including Gardner’s enthusiasm and competence in her role as transport manager and as an advocate for equality in the industry, but she had also deceived her office and the firms she worked for.
“If Ms Gardner wishes to resume her career as a transport manager in the future she will be required to appear again before me and convince me that she is fit to be trusted as such again,” she added.
GVL application times rise on the back of Covid-19
Turnaround times for goods vehicle licence applications increased to 38 days as the traffic commissioners struggled with the impact of the coronavirus.
Figures released by the office of the TC (OTC) showed that up to March of this year, the average number of days to turn around a haulier’s application was 36.45 - and 134.8 days if it involved a public inquiry.
But this rose to 38.01 and 136.84 respectively as the country entered lockdown and the TCs’ activities were curtailed.
This included the suspension of in-person public inquiries in March and they only resumed again on 6 July 2020.
The TCs set a target to handle applications within 35 days by 31 March 2021.
In the last annual report, they said: “This is something the traffic commissioners have taken particularly seriously over the last year.
“At the very least service users require swift and efficient processing of applications.
“We were aware of some cases where applications were going unprocessed for months.”
However, the coronavirus epidemic has set their target ambitions back, although the report also pointed out that a recruitment freeze also posed a challenge.
An OTC spokesman said: “The coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions had an impact across all parts of the traffic commissioner function, including the office of the traffic commissioner’s licensing team.
“This has contributed to an increase in processing times.
“The traffic commissioners have introduced measures to assist operators during this period, including the granting of interim licences to enable operators to start operations.”