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Public Inquiries
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A public inquiry is a formal tribunal hearing, chaired by the Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the traffic area in question.

The Traffic Commissioners of Great Britain

Traffic Commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport; each Commissioner is responsible for a traffic area. There are eight traffic areas:

  • East of England
  • London and the South East
  • North East of England
  • North West of England
  • Scotland 
  • Wales
  • West Midlands
  • West of England
public inquiries, chartwise uk,

What is a Public Inquiry?

There are many reasons a public inquiry (PI) may be called, however, they chiefly follow from two scenarios:

  • A new application, or a change to an existing application, is submitted for consideration;
  • An operating centre has been audited by a DVSA traffic examiner, and the audit report escalated to the TC.

An operator will receive an invitation to public inquiry in the post; in the letter will be detailed the points of concern; following that, some paperwork, known as the ‘bundle’, will be sent to help the operator to prepare for the PI.

Why is a PI called?

During the PI, the TC will hear evidence from all parties concerned – usually from the operator, the DVSA/police, and any valid complainants. 
Most often, new and existing operators are summoned to PI when there are serious concerns over:
  • Vehicle maintenance arrangements;
  • Condition/roadworthiness of vehicles;
  • Safe loading practices and procedures;
  • Drivers' hours infringements;
  • Repute of nominated Transport Manager (TM);
  • Tachograph manipulation;
  • Inadequate paper or digital records;
  • Questionable financial standing; 
  • Undeclared information (such as that relating to legal or financial history);
  • Incorrect information given to the TC or DVSA.
Consequences of an unfavourable PI include:
  • Having one's vehicle authorization curtailed;
  • Losing the right to operate from a particular operating centre removed;
  • A Transport Manager losing their good repute;
  • An operator being suspended from operating for a designated period;
  • An operator losing their licence. 
An operator has the right to legal counsel during public inquiries. 
An operator may be invited to request a public inquiry if they wish to challenge a decision made against them by the TC.
The experienced consultants at Chartwise can guide you through the entire process, from putting together a formal response and conducting a preliminary audit of your operation to assisting you in person on the day of your inquiry and undertaking remedial action following it. 

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