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Spotlight on Maintenance

01 November

As the Traffic Commissioners point the spotlight on poor maintenance contractors, it is essential that as operators you continually review your current provisions, whether that be external or internal, and question if you are being provided with the service that you need.

Kevin Rooney has recently written about the consequences of having a poor maintenance contractor and urges all operators to ensure that your current contractor is “competent, effective and accountable” (OTC Gov Bulletin October 2019).  Ultimately, the performance of your maintenance contractors has an immediate impact on the management of your compliance duties and therefore the safe keeping of your O-Licence.

What measures can you as operators undertake to review maintenance providers? 

The starting point is to refer to the DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness

The comprehensive document dedicates section 5.1 highlighting safety inspection facilities and details the following: –

Facilities should include: –

  • Undercover accommodation for the largest vehicle in the fleet. This is required to ensure that safety checks can be conducted satisfactorily in all weathers (depending on fleet size the building may need room for more than one vehicle at a time)
  • Tools and equipment appropriate to the size and nature of the fleet
  • Adequate under-vehicle inspection facility
  • Adequate lighting
  • Access to brake test equipment (e.g. a roller brake tester, decelerometer)
  • Access to headlamp test equipment
  • Access to emissions testing equipment
  • Access to steam or pressure under-vehicle washing facilities
  • A safe working environment. If an operator fails to maintain vehicles in a safe and roadworthy condition with the facilities provided the Traffic Commissioner may take regulatory action.

For guidance on the DVSA approved equipment relating annual test:

Another thing that you as operators can is to get us to review your contract with your maintenance provider.   We can suggest areas you could build in protections or if this is not something your maintenance provider will consider, we can at least make you aware of the main areas of risk or weakness, as being forewarned is definitely being forearmed.

Please contact Lydia Ward on 01254 828300 or for more information and a free initial review and telephone discussion.


Maintenance issues continue to be the root cause for most Public Inquiries throughout the UK.  It is important therefore to consider the implications for an operator when this does occur; repute, curtailment, revocation of licence and in addition, if it does all go horribly wrong, what can be addressed from a commercial perspective about maintenance contracts.

If you are concerned about your current maintenance provisions particularly in respect of your commercial contract with the supplier, please contact our Head of Corporate, Brett Cooper on 01254 828 300 or email  Equally, if you are concerned about your compliance regime and would like an independent review, please contact our regulatory team and let us put our BACK into your compliance.   Our operator licence compliance reviews provide a bespoke independent snap-shot detailing the level of compliance being achieved by the teams in your business.

“Jonathon Backhouses’ report was thorough, informative and his findings will keep our transport and management of our employees on their toes which is exactly what we wanted” (Phil Hitchen, Director, Belle Vue)

For more information please contact

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