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What are Operators Licence Undertakings?

When you apply for an operatorís licence, one of the most important pages of the application form is a list of undertakings that must be signed and agreed to. If you donít sign the undertakings at the bottom and declare that you agree to ďcomply with the conditions and undertakingsĒ as listed, you wonít be granted an O-Licence.

As a business owner and operator (or potential operator) of HGVs you need to have a good understanding of these undertakings, what they mean and the impact they have on your business. You should note that the undertakings are the same whether you are operating 1 vehicle or 100.

This article lists these undertakings, explains what each one means and advises how we can help you reach compliance within your business.

Operators Licence Application Form (Page 10)




In this article we will look at each individual operators licence undertaking, explain what they mean and how they can be achieved.

Undertaking No 1.

What this means
By agreeing to this undertaking, you are declaring you will adhere to all the undertakings listed and will observe all laws and legislation relating to the driving and operation of vehicles. This also means, any failure to do so can result in action being taken against your operatorís licence.

How you can achieve this undertaking
It's vital you have a good understanding of what these undertakings mean. Reading this article thoroughly will provide a general overview but to get a complete understanding we recommend you attend our Operators Licence Compliance Training course (1 day). It provides everything a business owner or vehicle operator needs to know about operator licensing and makes sure you know where you stand. It covers subjects such as pre-use inspections, defect reporting, tachographs, OCRS, VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners. We run courses regularly and upon request, click on the link above for full details.



Undertaking No 2.

What this means
The operator licence holder is expected to have a good understanding of tachograph legislation, drivers' hours rules and must have a formal, auditable process that ensures tachograph data is collected, analysed and corrective action taken where infringements occur. This is a legal requirement when operating vehicles.

How you can achieve this undertaking
We can provide a complete tachograph solution for any business, including tachograph analysis, informative tachograph training for drivers and business owners and managers that need to know their obligations and a written process which ensures legal compliance in this field. A complete solution.



Undertaking No 3.

What this means
With this undertaking you are agreeing that the vehicles you operate will not be overloaded. The components of a vehicle such as steering and suspension are designed to work within various parameters, one of these parameters is the vehicle weight. Overloaded vehicles could be dangerous to other road users. With this undertaking you are providing assurance that you will not overload vehicles.

How you can achieve this undertaking
There are many public weighbridges throughout the UK that can be freely used to determine the weight of a vehicle. We recommend that you weigh your vehicle when un-laiden to determine the maximum load which that vehicle can carry. A list of public weighbridges in your area should be found on your local trading standards website. It is the responsibility of the vehicle operators and drivers to ensure vehicles are not overloaded. We simply offer advice that you should make sure you know the weights of your vehicles and the maximum loads they can carry. It's also important to make sure the individual axels are not overloaded by distributing loads appropriately. You should weigh vehicles when new and after any serious maintenance or repair work and it's worth bearing in mind that overloading was the number one reason for fines, prohibitions and investigations by VOSA in 2009.



Undertaking No 4.

What this means
You undertake not to speed and if your vehicles are found to be speeding then it opens the possibility of action being taken against your O Licence.

How you can achieve this undertaking
It's easy to simply say "don't speed" but how can you ensure your drivers comply? Itís important to have a written procedure in place that drivers are required to follow. Not only does it provide a route with which to take disciplinary action if necessary but it also provides some evidence to the Traffic Commissioners that you were acting proactively should problems arise. OLMC can provide a complete written process in this regard.



Undertaking No 5.

What this means
It is a legal requirement to have a suitable maintenance regime in place when operating vehicles. Including the maintenance agreement and maintenance interval that you aggree to with a suitable provider. Even if the vehicles are hired and you don't directly deal with maintenance, you still have to undertake that as the operator, you will ensure the vehicles are well maintained.

How you can achieve this undertaking
Put in place a suitable maintenance regime and use a reputable maintenance provider that you can trust. Also, make sure your maintenance interval is appropriate for the level of work your vehicles are doing. OLMC can provide independent audits of your maintenance regime and provide independent inspections that will provide piece of mind that your maintenance provider is doing the job as required and also assess the effectiveness of your overall maintenance program.

Also, if you are hiring a vehicle, ask for a copy of the previous maintenance check sheet, the vehicle provider is obliged to do so and you can then ask if any defects listed have been rectified.



Undertaking No 6.

What this means
Your drivers are expected to carry out pre-use inspections and post-use defect reporting, they are also expected to have the ability to do so effectively. It is also a requirement that the processes in placeare fully auditable, records kept accordingly and made available to inspectors upon request.

How you can achieve this undertaking
OLMC provide Driver CPC accredited Pre Use Inspection & Defect Reporting training for drivers. We also provide a complete defect reporting written process with all the necessary forms and information that enables compliance in this area.



Undertaking No 7.

What this means

All the formal processes required by operator licensing and these undertakings need to be fully auditable and documents need to be made available to VOSA inspectors upon request. All documents must be retained for 15 months.

How you can achieve this undertaking
It's important to have a formal filing system that ensures easy and quick access to documentation. OLMC can provide a Vehicle Records System that makes it easy to get a filing system in place and ensures that all necessary documents and inspection sheets are always to hand.



Undertaking No 8.

What this means
When you apply for an operators licence, you state the maximum number of vehicles and trailers that you will be operating at (each of) your operating centre(s); this determines the amount of financial standing you have to show to support your application and can influence the decision to approve your requested location for an operating centre. With this undertaking you are agreeing that you will not operate more vehicles or trailers than you have applied for.

How you can achieve this undertaking
OLMC provide a complete O-Licence application and setup service where we take care of you application for you. Our experienced professionals will be able to provide advice of what are the best options for your situation. Details can be found here. Get it right first time with OLMC.



Undertaking No 9.

What this means
As an operators licence holder, you must provide details of where you will be operating vehicles from, this is known as an operating centre. The location you choose for your operating centre is given much consideration by VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners. You also have to obtain written permission from the landowner if you do not own the land and place a public notice announcing your intention to use the location as an operating centre. You are only permitted to use operating centres that are specified on the licence. This undertaking ensures that you agree to this.

How you can achieve this undertaking
OLMC provide a complete O-Licence application and setup service where we take care of you application for you. Our experienced professionals will be able to provide advice of what are the best options for your situation. Details can be found here. Get it right first time with OLMC.



Undertaking No 10.

What this means
On the application form there is a section that asks for information about any criminal convictions awarded to the persons mentioned. When considering a licence application, VOSA will carry out extensive background checks on people involved in the business and if certain criminal convictions are found, the decision to grant an o-licence may be affected. If VOSA discover convictions that aren't listed on the application, your application again might be affected. You also undertake that in the future, you will inform the Traffic Commissioners of any criminal convictions gained by the people mentioned in the undertaking.

How you can achieve this undertaking
Make sure you declare all unspent criminal convictions for all Directors, owners and Transport Managers and provide as much information as possible on the application form. Also make sure the Traffic Commissioner is notified of any new criminal convictions awarded to the people mentioned in the undertaking.



Undertaking No 11.

What this means
By agreeing to this undertaking you are obliged to inform then Traffic Commissioners in writing (within 28 days) of any formal changes to you business, maintenance arrangements for your vehicles or financial status of your business.

How you can achieve this undertaking
OLMC can take care of official communication with the Traffic Commissioners or VOSA. We can provide written notification letters that will ensure the Traffic Commissioners are officially notified of any changes when necessary.



Your declaration of understanding and agreement.

What this means
This is your declaration that you understand and agree that failure to adhere to the undertakings listed may result in action being taken against you.





Signature.

What is this?
The undertakings page must be signed by a business owner, Director, Company Secretary or Partner.

Summary...

These undertakings need to be taken seriously by yourself if you are a business owner and by Transport Managers and other staff members who have control over operational aspects of your business. It's vital that all appropriate people have a good understanding of the undertakings and how they affect the business. To say that VOSA and the Traffic Commissioners take them seriously is an understatement to say the least. Certainly donít mistake the undertakings page as just another page of the application form that needs your signature. Itís important that you read, absorb and understand the undertakings.

If you have any questions or seek further information then get in touch, we'll be happy to have a quick chat about your situation. Also please note that we provide Operators Licence Compliance Training which provides everything a business owner, director or transport manager needs to know about undertakings, operator licensing and your business.










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