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Latest update on the Greater than Eight campaign - Blog Post

Latest update on the Greater than Eight campaign

- 17-Nov-2017 -

Debate around the D1 licence for minibus drivers and what to do about the loopholes continues...

There's been a lot of movement on the licencing and testing laws for minibus drivers and section 19 permits recently. And we're glad to be involved in the discussions. Following news from Northern Ireland and a Transport Select Committee meeting, we have the latest update on the situation.

BBC NI reported on Tuesday 14th November 2017 that guidance contained in a letter from the Department for Infrastructure's director of transport strategy, Tom Reid, to the Education Authority (EA) clarifies that; "Anyone who is paid whilst driving, or is driving a minibus as a consequence of their employment, cannot be regarded as a volunteer and must have a D1 licence. It is highly likely, however, that where a teacher is driving during school hours, on school business, where they are responsible for the pupils in their care and subject to disciplinary procedures, this would be viewed as either being paid whilst they are driving or driving as a consequence of their employment. As a result, under the current legislative framework, a teacher driving a school minibus will need a full D1 licence. They will also need the driver certificate of professional competence."

 

This is a fantastic outcome for The Greater Than 8 campaign as it will raise the debate and hopefully put pressure on the UK government to look at this issue and provide clarity for UK school staff. Teachers and schools who have not sought legal advice remain vulnerable to prosecution and invalid insurance policies if the worst should happen, if they don't have an unrestricted D1 licence.

 

This week has also seen the meeting of a Government Select committee to discuss the nature and extent of commercial operators' grievances about use of community transport (CT) permits (Sections 19 and 22, Transport Act 1985). While this may not seem directly linked it is these permits that allow schools to operate a minibus without a CPC or the unrestricted D1 licence, provided it is not for reward or hire, is on a voluntary basis and is for social purposes.

 

The outcome of this select committee could have a direct effect on the way permits are distributed which may in turn effect schools and again raise the debate about who are volunteer drivers. And are you a volunteer if you drive as part of your paid role?

 

Whatever the outcome, the issue of teachers as volunteer drivers and the exceptions to obtaining a full D1 licence are being debated and discussed in the UK and Northern Ireland and this is definitely a positive for our Greater Than Eight campaign. Any small steps to closing the loopholes and ending the confusion is a win for us.

 

We really appreciate your support and wonder if you would share our updates with your contacts to get more and more people to sign the petition and join the debate. The petition can be found here: http://bit.ly/greaterthan8petition

Thank you again

The Castle Minibus Greater Than Eight team


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