Short curtailment for scaffolder over maintenance doubts

A Stevenage scaffolding company has had its licence for three HGVs cut by one after a TC found failings in driver defect reporting and vehicle maintenance.

However, the curtailment of Wise Scaffold Services’ licence was for just one week after Eastern TC Richard Turfitt heard evidence about the changes the firm had implemented to improve the situation.

The operator had previously received a formal warning in 2016 as a result of financial issues and had then appeared at a PI in 2018 where its fitness was found to have been tarnished. The latest PI took place due to concerns that driver defect reporting was not being sufficiently managed and evidence that a change in maintenance provider had not been declared. A vehicle examiner investigation found there was a general adherence to undertakings and maintenance records were readily available and filed correctly, but he retained concerns about the quality of driver walk-round checks.

TC Turfitt said fitness had been tarnished, but he noted the changes implemented by its director Grace Provencal-Wise. He said: “Intervention is required, in order to ensure that standards are attained and sustained. I have seen emails illustrating the director’s level of engagement there. On that basis I would agree with [company solicitor] Ms Evans’s assessment that the case falls within the ‘moderate’ starting point for intervention.”

Transport manager disqualified for hiding jail time

A transport manager has been disqualified after failing to declare a conviction for three serious criminal offences.

A Golborne public inquiry heard how Jeffrey Stubbs was appointed as transport manager of LPH Logistics - a DPD franchisee - by its director Carol Higham. Higham, a niece of Stubbs, was aware of his conviction and 36-month prison sentence in 2014, but chose not to disclose it as she did not consider it transport-related. His background only came to light following the publication of a licence application by the company’s subsidiary, Iquest Logistics, and Greater Manchester Police contacted the TC’s office. Stubbs was nominated as a transport manager in the Iquest application.

Giving evidence, Stubbs admitted to TC Gerallt Evans that his offences were an “abuse of trust” and that the rehabilitation period expired on 28 April 2024. He had been released from prison in 2015 and had been employed as a van driver before moving on to operational manager duties. Stubbs said he had assumed there was no need to disclose his history, but that he was aware of the gravity of his convictions.

In coming to his decision, the TC said the convictions involved “a serious abuse of authority and breach of trust” and that although they did not relate to transport matters, the circumstances were relevant to the question of whether he could trust him to operate compliantly. He found that Stubbs had lost his repute and disqualified him until 2022, and gave the company until the end of the year to find a replacement. Iquest’s application was refused.