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Why having a section 19 permit compliance audit matters - Blog Post

Why having a section 19 permit compliance audit matters

- 22-Sep-2017 -

Compliance audits for your section 19 permit are necessary to ensure the saftey and road-worthiness of your vehicle at any given time. This blog explains why that matters.

Section 19 permit compliance audits are not just a tick in the box to satisfy the paperwork. Here's why they are so important...

Audits and compliance are an everyday thing to a school business manager. However, a startling number of minibus operators are not clear on the reasons that a section 19 permit compliance audit is necessary. It’s not just to tick the box and tie up the paperwork…

Maintaining your vehicle in a safe condition

When applying for a Section 19 permit you must agree that you will maintain your vehicle in a safe condition. Running a vehicle is a significant role, that makes you responsible for the lives of others.

The lives of up to 16 passengers may depend on it

Under the permit, your vehicle will be subject to the same rules on vehicle safety and maintenance as commercial bus and coach companies. This also means that the DVSA, the government agency responsible for vehicle safety and MoT tests, can ask to see your maintenance records and can inspect your vehicle at the roadside. If serious vehicle defects are found, the driver can be given a fixed penalty notice and the DVSA can immediately stop the vehicle being used to carry passengers until the defects are rectified.

To comply with DVSA’s recommendations on vehicle maintenance you must make sure you can prove that:

Daily checks are carried out - these will usually be done by the driver doing basic ‘walk around checks’ before he/she takes the vehicle out.

Regular safety inspections are carried out - in addition to the servicing specified by the manufacturer. These inspections are usually done at between 10 to 17 week intervals and need to be carried out by a garage or an organisation with qualified mechanics.

You need to keep records of all safety inspections, regular servicing etc and that there is a defect reporting system for drivers to use and those defects are promptly repaired – you need to be able to show an ‘audit trail’ of the defect report and subsequent repair.

There are apps available to help you know what needs to be checked and when. The good ones also keep a record of the activity and even register it with the proper department within the school. Try, ‘The School Transport Manager’.

Castle Minibus’ view

MD Chris Maynard says “Any responsible school will always want to ensure that their vehicles are maintained in a safe condition so the DVSA’s requirements are reasonable. In practice, the DVSA and traffic police currently pays far less attention to vehicles used under section 19 permits than it does to commercial bus, coach and truck operators, but I believe it may take a keener interest in future when the Department of Transport has completed its review of the issuing and renewal of the section 19 permit following the European Parliaments recent ruling.”

Read more on section 19 and section 22 permits on gov.uk.

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