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CILT Scottish Region webinar "Self-Regulation in Road transport" by Graham Russell, IEng, FSOE, FIRTE, CMILT: Engineering & Fleet Professional: Tuesday 16 March 2021

Graham Russelld

Graham Russell

© Greham Russell 2021

A career in the bus and coach industry which took him to Hong Kong with New World First Bus and North America with FirstGroup has given Graham Russell cause to reflect on how self-regulation embodies best practice across all sectors. Road transport is very much about the technical relativities of regulation, as overseen by three professional institutions CILT, the Society of Operating Engineers and the Engineering Council. The headline issues of policy are supported by challenges presented by tactical delivery and best practice integration with the processes, of the business.

Policy on operator licensing of both Heavy Goods Vehicles and Passenger Service Vehicles provides the overarching requirement in which the enforcement role of the Traffic Commissioner is key, in setting out requirements for appointment of each business's Transport Manager, who must be a person of good repute holding a Certificate of Professional Competence. Only a person who fulfils these statutory requirements can act as the Transport Manager, and s/he retains the legal responsibility whether or not individual actions are delegated.

Drivers must be licensed, must hold Certificates of Professional Competency and must observe the rules on drivers' hours and tachographs, staying at all times within the bounds of the law. There are requirements on walkaround checks for HGVs, PSVs and Vans both inside and outside. A guide to maintaining roadworthiness provides for categorisation of vehicle defects and enforcement sanctions policy. There are individual vehicle inspection and approval manuals for HGVs, PSVs, four types of Trailer, Light Goods Vehicles and light passenger vehicles.

On tactical delivery the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's Earned Recognition Scheme is a way for operators to prove that they meet driver and vehicle standards by monitoring their own compliance using DVSA-approved software. Individual and Team Competency Management is provided by a Competence Management System which sees to requirements and their assignment, implementation, maintenance and verification. A team competency management model example leads from assessment through training, original equipment manufacturer requirements, knowledge retention, training and competence records, a competence regime, competence assessment and compilation of a risk register.

CILT provides opportunities for supporting delivery of self-regulation which include professional-sector events, the knowledge centre, professional training and policy publications. SOE offers professional sector and professional development events and resources, and is supported by the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, the Institute of Plant Engineers and by specialist support for engineer surveyors for the environmental professional sector and for professional registration opportunities. The Engineering Council registers engineers, while operational guidance emanates also from Logistics UK (formerly the Freight Transport Association), the Road Haulage Association and the Confederation of Passenger Transport.

The International Standards Organisation was formed to answer the question "what's the best way of doing this?", and has standards for road transport systems, occupational health, quality management systems, information technology, asset management, environmental management systems, energy management systems, and organisation and digitisation for information about buildings. The Health and Safety Executive is the government agency and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health the professional body for promoting best health and safety practice in all workplaces. Word clouds best convey the priorities of quality and audit management, data security management systems and asset management systems assisted by the Institute of Asset Management.

A culture of reliability is required for the effective integration of self-regulation into the processes of the business providing leadership, recognition of how the business works, technical activities for ongoing reliability and protection of asset condition and also for work execution. The Society for the Environment draws on the expertise of 24 specialist organisations, and similar advice is available on energy management. A library of essential reading should comprise the literature of the Traffic Commissioners, DVSA, the Office for Road and Rail and of course CILT plus the other organisations mentioned above.

In discussion, Graham suggested that the pandemic has stretched businesses by introducing new expectations on cleanliness while impacting on staff availability and ridership, but that those which had already built sufficient robustness into their processes would succeed in winning through. Any move to re-regulate buses through a franchising system should have the capability of integrating existing business processes. The operator licensing system should be capable of providing early warning signals where an operator is heading for serious failure to comply with the necessary standards. Self-regulation can help the industry respond to the Climate Emergency by focussing on better operation of existing kit which will have to join with new technology in achieving the sector's net zero targets.

For a copy of the presentation, click here (PDF format, 3.0 Mb)

Notes by John Yellowlees.

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