Woodfines’ annual Road Transport Conference, which provides a mix of legal compliance updates and key speakers from the leading authoritative bodies in the sector, was attended by a record crowd on Thursday 26th May. The event, which took place at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, covered topics such as Vehicle Operator Licensing, Driver Welfare and Earned Recognition.
The East of England Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, and his team explained how modernisation is taking place at to meet the industry’s needs and also concentrated resources on policing seriously non-compliant operators. Steve Fox, from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, explained how the new operator computerised system project (hitherto called OLCS but now confirmed to be called Vehicle Operator Licensing) will work to reduce processing times and provide an online facility for operators that will help their businesses. The scheme is to come online in August 2016, and a hands-on demonstration was available to attendees to try out.
Head of Woodfines’ Road Transport team, Tim Ridyard, provided an update on regulatory issues, telling delegates about the particular challenges facing businesses because of the new Sentencing Guideline that is leading to significant financial penalties for health and safety offences.
Meanwhile, James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive of Freight Transport Association, provided an excellent update with regard to various policy areas and developments, and also provoked thought about the purpose and diversity of Fleet Recognition Schemes.
Nick Sayer, a Senior Associate in Woodfines’ employment law team, took a look at driver welfare issues following the Glasgow fatalities, and explained how recruiting and vetting of new and existing drivers can lawfully take place. From the firm’s Wills & Probate team, James Marsh prompted the attendees to also think about the making of wills and the problems caused by not having them in place, both personally and for business.
Mike Hayward, Partner in Woodfines’ Regulatory Law department, gave a presentation entitled “When the Wheels Fall Off”. This explained to the delegates what strategy to adapt if their business was to find itself under investigation and they are invited to be interviewed under caution.
Finally, the DVSA provided two interesting and informative updates with regard to the new DVSA Earned Recognition Scheme (likely to be introduced early 2017) given by David Wood, and load security dealt with by Mark Horton.
The positive feedback from the event suggests that this is now become a firm fixture in the calendars of many operators and transport managers. Details of our next event will be listed on www.woodfines.co.uk/events when information is available.