CPC Holder: Public Inquiry

CPC Holder: What to do if you are called to Public Inquiry?

CPC Holders regrettably may have to attend a Public Inquiry, or a Transport Manager hearing. So being aware, & having action plan ready, for the such an event, can be only a good thing, & like most areas of transport compliance, being prepared is always part of how any CPC Holder works when being the nominated transport manager on an operator licence.

Firstly, do not panic! If needs be take a few minutes to get over the possible shock, then read correspondent from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, which is commonly known as the call-up letter. So, you understand the reason why you are being called. Plus, if the licence holder is being called to the same public inquiry (or whether it is just a transport manager hearing).

Contact as quickly as possible, talk to the operator licence holder, on the operator licence(s) which you are nominated on. This is important, as even if you the only person being called, this may still have an effect on the operator licence(s) you are nominated on. If your relationship with the licence holder has been stressed. You need to make the effort to talk (see the comments, below) as this will understood by the Traffic Commissioner as a CPC Holder acting as the nominated transport manager, as having taken a pre-emptive, & positive approach. Remember to document the conversation itself, so that all parties understand their position in relation to the upcoming hearing.

Should the nominated transport manager think about resigning their position if they feel the operator is being uncooperative? This is a difficult question to answer, as there are some many different components go into making such a decision. But if the operator licence holder continually refuses to operate in a compliant manner – even after you as a CPC Holder acting as the nominated transport manager has draw the operator licence holder attention to the legal shortcomings. Then as a CPC Holder acting as the nominated transport manager. Serious consideration to the resignation from the operator’s licence needs to happen, even if that means, the possibility of becoming a whistle blower.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rights of a CPC Holder at a Public Inquiry:

Any CPC Holder acting as a nominated transport manager has the right to be legally represented at the Public Inquiry, or a transport manager’s hearing, along with the right to a fair hearing. The CPC Holder or their representative is able to present their case to the Traffic Commissioner. Entitled to give evidence, make submissions, & representations, along with the opportunity to speak, & to ask questions. The Traffic Commissioner will then decide if the evidence given on behalf of the CPC holder is appropriate, for the purposes of the Public Inquiry, & its proceedings. Anyone giving evidence to the inquiry can expect to be asked questions by the CPC Holder, or by a representative acting on their behalf. The Traffic Commissioner will also put questions to all parties, at the Public Inquiry. This would also be the same at a Transport Manager Hearing.

What are the CPC Holder obligations at a Public Inquiry:

The CPC Holder acting as a nominated transport manager evidence is not given under oath, but there is a requirement to be honest & truthful when giving their evidence. If it is found that any party has not been honest, & truthful they risk their fitness/professional competence, & their good repute. Plus, the impact on the weight of the evidence given by that party will be seriously damaged. Furthermore, there is the possibility that giving false evidence at a Public Inquiry by the CPC Holder, or any other party. The Office of the Traffic Commissioner may consider referring the party in question, to the police to investigate, & criminal charges being made against them.

If after the police investigating it is found that a party, has been lying or producing false documents. The matter could lead to prosecution, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This has led to individuals being sent to prison.

How should a CPC Holder handle themselves at Public Inquiry:

All parties not just a CPC Holder, should be honest about their evidence. Telling the Traffic Commissioner everything they did or did not do, in trying ensure compliance was maintained to the operator licence regime i.e. the actions they took whilst acting as the nominated transport manager, when addressing any problems with compliance. along with such actions as refresher training undertaken by the CPC Holder.

All the above questions, & the answers to them are important. But the most pressing question a CPC Holder will need to ask, & have an answer. Is whether he or she requires representation when appearing at the Public Inquiry, or Transport Manager hearing.  

When both the CPC Holder, acting as the nominated transport manager on an operator licence, & the operator licence holder are called to Public Inquiry. It is not uncommon for both parties to have the same representation, & in a lot of cases the cost of that representation is covered by the operator licence holder, or the CPC Holder will pay a percentage of the total costs.

However, if the relationship between the CPC Holder, & the operator licence holder has been difficult, then the above may not be the case. Along with the above questions, the CPC Holder needs to think very carefully about their own position, (Their position being both their, professional competence also known as fitness, & good repute), & should be looking at using all available tools in doing just that.   

Given the potentially serious effects for the CPC Holders livelihood i.e. that he or she could find themselves disqualified from acting as a nominated transport manager, which the holding of a Certificate of Professional Competence gives the holder. It only seems prudent to seek advice at an early stage, &   Instructing an experienced transport solicitor or transport consultant will help in a very difficult and stressful situation.

One of the ways in which separate representation can help the CPC Holder is by attending the above-mentioned meeting with the operator licence holder in order to discuss the public inquiry. This is especially true if the professional relationship between the CPC Holder acting as the nominated transport manager, & the operator licence holder, has been under stress. It could actually help to repair the relationship, which in turn may help to reestablish the compliance of the operator licence before the public inquiry is held. As the repute of both parties will be at risk. So, it is in both parties as mentioned interests, to ensured that all systems of work, used for compliance, are fit for purpose were possible, before attendance at the Public Inquiry.

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This Guide Has Been Produced, as a Basic Definition of the Term CPC Holder, in Relation to the Operator Licence Regime & Therefore Cannot Be Considered as Formal Legal Advice