TCs publish guidance on use of transport consultants

Traffic Commissioners publish guidance on use of transport consultants

The Traffic Commissioners (TCs) have published guidance advising operators and applicants for O-Licences about how they should work with and instruct transport consultants, and what they should expected from those advisors.

Among the points made by the TCs is one that stresses how operators and applicants must ensure that a transport consultant has the required knowledge and skills, including relevant experience and professional memberships and qualifications. Seeking references should also be considered, the TCs add.

“Operators and Transport Managers are expected to complete continuous professional development to make sure that they keep up to date with changes in legislation and the Senior TC’s statutory guidance and statutory directions,” the document notes. “This applies equally to transport consultants.”

When a transport consultant wishes to represent an operator or an applicant at a Public Inquiry (PI), the document notes that it is at the TC’s discretion and that permission should be sought “well in advance” of the hearing date.

“Transport consultants and representatives are expected to display a degree of competence and openness with the tribunal,” it continues. “If they fail in that regard, it is open to the TC to indicate that the person will not be acceptable to act as an advocate at any PI in the future.”

A key point in the section relating to PIs is that a transport consultant may not act as both a witness and an advocate in the same proceedings. That, the document continues, is of particular relevance where a consultant has already worked with an operator to improve its compliance.

In instances where that has happened, the operator should “consider whether it be more beneficial for [the transport consultant] to act as a witness in the Inquiry rather than attending as an advocate.”

The advice document also tells O-Licence applicants what they should expect from a good transport consultant. That includes a “challenging and searching interview” about the business in question. Such work should be followed up with an assessment of the application, including any issues with it and whether it is likely to be granted.

Read the full guidance on the use of transport consultants here.