GOOD REPUTE 1 – Criminal Convictions and Good Repute (Freight)
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing; ’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed.
Othello, Act 3 Scene 3
In rough terms about one fifth of the UK population has some kind of criminal record. This is an inconvenience to them in many respects but especially if they wish to operate HGVs.
The Goods Vehicle (Licencing of Operators Act) 1995 (The Act) states that an applicant for a Standard Operators Licence must be of Good Repute. A Traffic Commissioner must revoke a Standard Licence if it appears to the Traffic Commissioner that the licence holder is no longer of good repute.
Schedule 3 of The Act gives Traffic Commissioners discretionary powers to have regard to any matter in determining whether individuals or companies are of Good Repute either when they apply for a standard licence or at any time during the life of that licence. They must have regard to any relevant convictions of the person involved be they the operator themselves, directors or employees of the company.
Upon signing your GV79 you will have undertaken to report whether you have had any convictions which must be notified to the Traffic Commissioner and you will also have undertaken to report any relevant conviction to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner during the Life of the Licence.
Schedule 3 of the Act requires a Traffic Commissioner to conclude that an individual is not of Good Repute if they have more than one conviction for a Serious Offence or has been convicted of more than one Road Transport Offence.
A Serious Offence is one that has been punished by: more than three months imprisonment; a fine exceeding level 4 on the standard scale (Currently £2,500); a community service order (or equivalent) requiring more than 60 hours unpaid work or a foreign conviction corresponding to these.
A Road Transport Offence is a) an offence relating to Road Transport in particular offences relating to drivers’ hours, weights and loads, road and vehicle safety or protection of the environment or foreign convictions corresponding to these. b) any other offence concerning professional liability.
Help! I have a conviction (or two!) and want an Operator’s Licence
All is not necessarily lost. Your repute will depend on what type of convictions you have and when you acquired them. Let’s take them in order.
In general terms the main consideration is time. Offences which are spent for the purposes of The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, as amended, shall be disregarded by the Traffic Commissioner. This Act is designed to rehabilitate offenders who have served sentences of imprisonment of up to four years imprisonment.
Sentences of more than four years are outside the scope of this Act. Even those who fall into this category can get their Good Repute back as the Traffic Commissioner can disregard an offence if such time as he/she thinks appropriate has elapsed since the date of the conviction. SBC have acted successfully for individuals who have served substantial prison terms but have been accepted as being of Good Repute after Public Inquiry.
A single serious offence which is not yet spent may not be an impediment to getting an Operator’s Licence depending on the type of offence and conduct since its commission and sentence.
Road Transport Offences
A Traffic Commissioner is obliged to conclude that someone is not of good repute where there are two such offences but where there is one then again it will depend on the type and circumstances of the offence.
Again time is the great healer. Once your offences are spent then you can build your Good Repute again.
- Always be honest when you fill out your forms and correspond with the Traffic Commissioner. The system is built on trust. Traffic Commissioners are much more sympathetic to those that are up front. Your position should be “That was then, this is now. You can trust me moving forward.”
- Take advice. You are very likely to be called in if your GV79 or TM1 declares previous convictions – properly handled this need not be fatal. Badly handled you could lose your chance of rebuilding your Good Repute.
- If you or one of your employees acquires a conviction during the life of a licence you must declare it to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner within 28 days. Do not put your head in the sand as they are more than likely to hear about it anyway so it should be from you! If in doubt – take advice.
For other types of behaviour that can damage your repute, click here.