A Public Inquiry is a formal hearing called by the Traffic Commissioner determining licensing matters, whereby evidence may be called upon to help the Traffic Commissioner make a decision as to whether they will issue, vary, suspend, or revoke an Operator’s Licence.
What happens at a Public Inquiry?
Traffic Commissioners review licences on five yearly basis, if there have been any complaints about the licence holders in that time, then a Public Inquiry will be called.
Public Inquiries can be called for a number of reasons, including:
- Applications or amendments to operator’s licenses can lead to the Traffic Commissioner calling a Public Inquiry in order to consider an application. In many cases, the licenses will either be granted or refused, however some licences can be granted with specific conditions or restrictions
- Objections to the operating centre (where the vehicles are kept when not in use)
- Disciplinary action against Transport Managers/Operators
- Non-compliance with the terms of your licence can result in being called before the Traffic Commissioner, including driving convictions, fixed penalties, tachograph offences or overloading (to name a few).
Essentially, the Traffic Commissioner will use a Public Inquiry to ensure that the operator can and will comply with the terms of their licence, often calling upon evidence from the Driver & Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) and any other complainants.
The Traffic Commissioner may also decide whether to take action against a nominated Transport Manager, if they fail to prove they are of good repute and professionally competent.
Furthermore, in the cases of limited companies, the Traffic Commissioner also has the power to disqualify an individual as a director of a company and will use a Public Inquiry to assess whether a director is professionally competent, of good repute and has sufficient financial standing.