Daf begins search for UK Technician of the Year

The process of finding Daf Trucks’ 2015 UK Technician of the Year is under way.

The competition, open to all Daf technicians, begins with a network wide technical questionnaire accessed online through the Daf TechShare programme.

Technicians are divided into four categories to reflect differing levels of training - from level 1 to correspond with basic product knowledge through to master technician ability.

By the end of this month, technicians will have completed the first of four question papers.

Those who score more than 90% will have a chance to visit Daf’s Eindhoven production facility.

Leyland factory trips and additional spot prizes are provided for technicians at all levels throughout the programme.

At the end of the process, the top 20 scorers - limited to one per dealership - will be invited to a national final at the Daf Trucks facility in Thame in March 2016.

The final will comprise a whole sequence of tests, including theory and practical workshop-based examinations.

Contestants will be tested on live fault diagnosis and repair situations under the watchful eye of a qualified instructor.

The winner will receive £2000 of reward vouchers and the Daf UK Technician of the Year trophy.

The runner-up gets £1000 of reward vouchers and the third placed technician £500.

There is £200 for each of the remaining finalists.

Tony Shepherd, Daf Trucks’ business services manager said: “Our training courses offer an interesting, practical curriculum that really empowers our technicians.”

Firm allowed van operator to use its O-licence

A removals and storage business that allowed another firm to use its O-licence to hire a 7.5-tonne truck has had its vehicle authorisation curtailed for three months.

Traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken reduced the O-licence held by Hamilton-based Hugh and Scott McClelland, trading as Hugh McClelland and Son, from 15 vehicles to three from 30 June.

Transport manager Scott McClelland was given a severe warning by the TC, who said he came “perilously close to losing his repute and professional competence”.

A public inquiry (PI) held in Edinburgh on 27 April was told that Hugh McClelland and Son allowed van operator Douglas Hope to hire vehicles on its behalf, using its O-licence and the account it holds with a vehicle hire company, on at least 68 occasions. Hugh McClelland and Son would then charge Hope for the price of the hire. The operator genuinely appeared to believe it could do this.

When stopped by the DVSA on 31 July 2014, Hope said he was working for the McClellands, but later admitted he was delivering for his own business that day. He was told to stop operating HGVs until he had his own O-licence.

In November, the vehicle hire firm told the DVSA Hugh McClelland and Son was still allowing Hope to hire vehicles using its account.

When traffic examiners visited the operator, it was discovered the business had a lack of awareness of Working Time Directive arrangements; had out-of-date instructions for drivers; no calibration certifications, no facilities for digital downloading; and no real systems in place to ensure compliance. Nor did it check driving licences or Driver Qualification Cards, and there was evidence of minor infringements not being addressed.

In a written decision, Aitken said there was persuasive evidence the arrangement had been going on for some years.

She said: “Mr McClelland was advancing an argument that if one had an operator’s licence and had some transactions with another that involved money then the quite separate use by the other person of a vehicle came down to hire and reward. Arguments such as that, in my experience, emerge from deliberate blinkered self interest.”

Summing up: The operator was wrong to think that it could assist another business by granting it permission to use its O-licence.