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20:20 Vision: What to expect in 2020 if you are an operator

12 December

2019 was a big year for Backhouse Jones which had its 200th birthday.  The same year also brought a number of changes to the road regulatory regime and HR arena for operators.  As the year draws to a close, why not spend a few moments looking BACK over 2019 before getting ready for what 2020 has in store for you and your businesses.

Glad to see the BACK of 2019?

2019 was a busy year regarding the regulation of commercial vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles.  Some examples include:

  • Smart Tachographs – Smart tachographs were made mandatory for all new vehicles.
  • The Ultra-Low Emission Zone – The Ultra-Low Emission Zone was introduced to central London.
  • Heavy Vehicle Testing – More types of heavy vehicles based on an HGV chassis were brought within scope for annual testing as part of the ongoing implementation of the road worthiness directive.
  • Increase in Employment Tribunals – following on from the abolition of tribunal fees some time back, the number of tribunals continued to increase.
  • Payslips – New rules were introduced in respect of pay slips.
  • Pay Increases – Increases in the statutory minimum wage rate, statutory family-related pay and statutory sick pay were announced.
  • Pensions – Changes to pension rules were made.
  • Statutory Redundancy – New limits were placed on statutory redundancy pay.

Some key areas which we saw frequently raised at Public Inquiries included:

  • Brake Testing – Brake testing​ was an issue that came up time and time again and the message from the Traffic Commissioners was that they expect operators to get it right.
  • Driver Defect Reporting – Poor driver defect reporting cropped up often.
  • AdBlue – We saw an increase in cases involving AdBlue issues.
  • Vehicle Download Units – Late vehicle unit downloads were a frequent problem area.

The number of bridge strikes happening seemed to be on the increase. Clandestine entrants also continued to be a challenge.  Last, but not least, it would not be right to talk about 2019 without mentioning Brexit, which featured so frequently in all of our daily lives and is likely to for the foreseeable future.

BACK in the saddle for 2020

Some of the things you can expect to see on the agenda for 2020 include:

  • Pollution – This will continue to be a high priority, with Zero Emissions Zones continuing to be rolled out in cities throughout the UK and London’s Low Emission Zone becoming tougher for those driving in the Capital.
  • Direct Vision Permits – If you drive your vehicles in London, you need to know that Direct Vision Permits will be required from 26 October 2020.
  • New guidance – we expect new guidance from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner on vocational drivers and bus reliability (amongst other things).
  • PSVAR – Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 will from 1 January 2020 apply to any remaining coaches subject to them, which were manufactured before 2005.
  • Agency Workers – If you employ “self-employed” workers, the extension of IR35 to private sector as an anti-tax avoidance measure may be relevant to you. As may be the abolition of the ‘Swedish derogation’ in the rules governing the use of agency workers.
  • Employment Contracts – The entitlement to receive a statement of ‘written particulars’ is to be extended (on basic employment terms and conditions) to include workers as well as employees and will be a day one right.
  • Seasonal Workers – The reference period for determining an average week’s pay is changing. The aim is to improve the holiday pay for seasonal workers.

Finally, one key area we will all be watching and waiting in respect of is Brexit.  The effect of this on operators will become clearer as the political landscape evolves in 2020.

How can I keep up to date?

We will be addressing these issues and many more in  a series of webinars, training sessions, articles and eshots over the next 12 months, starting in January with “Get you house in Order”.  This will be looking at road regulatory compliance reviews and how to check if you are complying with your financial standing obligations.

Why not make keeping up to date easy for yourself and subscribe to our mailing list here www.backhouses.co.uk.  Alternatively, if you have a specific concern, please call or email one of our marketing team on 01254 828300 or marketing@backhouses.co.uk.

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