Spiceway sours O-licence law

O-licence


GSR Distributions, trading as Spiceway, has had its O-licence curtailed after picking up prohibitions for overloading during a period earlier this year when it was suspended from operating.

In a written decision following a public inquiry (PI) in Edinburgh, traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken cut its restricted licence from five to four vehicles indefinitely from 24 August. Following a PI in March, the TC suspended Rutherglen-based Spiceway’s licence for April after it was found to have operated a defective vehicle in July 2017 that had last been given a routine safety inspection four months earlier.

Sole director and owner Saeed Hussain assured the TC that the business would make improvements using O-licensing consultant Allan Campbell. However on 4 and 16 April, during the period of suspension, the DVSA issued prohibitions to a light goods vehicle, overloaded and transporting products for Spiceway.

At the July PI, Hussain and his general manager James O’Reilly said that the 10-days’ notice they had of the suspension had placed enormous pressures on them and the business, and they had to work long hours and hire extra vans and drivers. Campbell visited the operating centre in April and May but several attempts to make contact by text and email were unanswered.

An email from Campbell on 18 June had gone to O’Reilly’s Spiceway email address and not to the generic Spiceway address. O’Reilly said he had not seen the email and had not opened it. Hussain apologised for the two overloading issues and told the TC he “deeply regretted” what had happened during a period of great stress.

However, Aitken said: “It is astonishing that the company has not used the logistics expertise of Campbell and that he and they effectively stood him down during the period of suspension. O’Reilly has to be severely criticised for his lack of attention or priority to Campbell. O’Reilly has no status given that this is a restricted licence.

"The regulatory responsibilities lie with Hussain and he cannot delegate these unless he has processes to make sure all is well. That he did not pro-actively engage with the arrangements for Campbell and ensure that his business was 100% compliant reflects very badly on him.”

The TC asked Campbell to supply a report on the arrangements put in place to secure full compliance, to reach her office by 31 August.