The director of a haulage firm, who admitted that he deceived government inspectors over the continued employment of a transport manager, deserves to be disqualified from the industry, the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner has ruled.
Nick Denton said the serious and sustained nature of the deception also meant the company, RKH Logistics Ltd, was no longer of good repute.
He added that the conduct of director Rodney Horne fell far short of the standards of probity and integrity expected from operators.
Mr Horne admitted the business made out that it was employing a transport manager when in actual fact it wasn’t.
Evidence heard during a public inquiry in Birmingham on 25 October revealed that no transport manager was in place between December 2009, when the licence was granted, and July 2017, when a new transport manager was nominated.
In May 2017, Mr Horne told a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) examiner that his transport manager was unavailable due to illness. The examiner subsequently received a call from someone purporting to be the transport manager, saying he had returned to work and was back in control.
However, the Traffic Commissioner concluded it was Mr Horne, not the supposed transport manager, who was behind that call.
On 24 May, Mr Horne told the DVSA examiner that he had agreed the transport manager should step down with immediate effect. In reality, no such agreement had been reached because the nominated transport manager had never in fact undertaken the role.
In correspondence ahead of the hearing, the transport manager and the company had separately written to the Commissioner’s office to confirm the transport manager had never acted in that capacity.
The company also had issues with downloading driver cards and vehicle unit data as well as driver defect reporting, though evidence provided on the day of the hearing revealed these matters to have been addressed.
Revoking the company’s licence with effect from 22 November, Mr Denton said:
“The operator’s behaviour, in pretending it had a transport manager to support its standard national licence and enable it to carry out operations for hire and reward, has undermined the entire regulatory system and has constituted unfair competition against those standard licence holders which play by the rules and employ professionally competent transport managers.”
The order of disqualification against Mr Horne takes effect on the same date.