• Resources: Permits and Operator Licensing

  • Permits and Operator Licensing

    When using a minibus or an MPV, an organisation is considered an ‘operator’ and needs the right permit or licence to run its services. Permit and operator licensing is different to a driver’s licence, as it doesn’t relate to an individual, rather to a service. In the case of community transport, most services are run under a permit, rather than a licence.

    Most community transport services, including minibus transport run by schools and other groups, are run under permits, avoiding the need for a full Operator’s Licence, also commonly known as an O Licence. Commercial services, on the other hand, are run under a PSV Operator’s Licence, and a small number of community transport operators choose to run services this way.

    Understanding what you need to make your service compliant can be confusing for both new and longstanding CT operators. We’ve developed this suite of resources to help you navigate what your service needs and how to access it.

    We recommend starting this process with our handy flowchart in our permits and operating licensing overview guide. The guide should make it easier for you to understand what you need to run your services and, from there, you can read the relevant info sheet. We’ve also included a toolkit on setting up a Trading Arm, in case that’s the best option for your organisation. You can also access a video designed to help you decide which exemption from holding a PSV Operators’ licence applies to you.

    This information can never be exhaustive but we will endeavour to keep this suite of documents updated. Still, if you can’t find the answers to your questions here, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated Advice Service team at advice@ctauk.org.


    Permits and Operator Licensing Overview

    When starting a new service, you need to ask yourself two key questions: does ‘hire and reward’ take place in the execution of your service and, if so, is that done with a view to a profit? Answering these will help you assess what permit or licence, if any, you need in order to operate. This document includes explanation and practical examples of ‘hire and reward’, followed by a flowchart that will help you identify which permit or licence your services should be run under.

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    Info Sheets – Section 19/22/10B Permits and PSV Operator’s Licence

    Now that you understand ‘hire and reward’ and have identified what permit or licence you need, you can have a look at our handy info sheets which will give you a helpful overview of each permit or licence.

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    Video – Understanding Your Exemption

    This short video, a discussion between our Director of Policy and Nations, Tim Cairns, and Support and Engagement Executive, Dylan Gallanders, is designed to help you decide which exemption from holding a PSV Operators’ licence applies to you. For subtitles please click the subtitles/closed captions icon to the left of the settings icon. You can then click the settings icon to change the size and font. Please note these subtitles are auto generated.

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    Event Recording: Understanding the Exclusively Non-Commercial Purposes Exemption

    On 25 February we held a seminar for CTA members looking at the Department for Transport’s updated guidance on the exclusively non-commercial purposes exemption – you find a full recording of the event above and find the slides and our short overview blog below.

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    Event Recording: Understanding Full Cost Recovery

    On 15 April 2021 we held a session looking at understanding the principles of full cost recovery. To help members work this through in their own organisations, Anna Whitty MBE, from Ealing Community Transport and Peter Haley, from People to Places led the session looking at how members navigate can navigate their obligations. You can find a full recording of the event above and find the slides and the event recap below

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    Toolkit – Setting up a Trading Subsidiary

    In some cases, you might find that your organisation would be best served by setting up a trading subsidiary. If so, this toolkit will help you navigate the governance obligations.

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    More information

    CTA Advice Service: The CTA team are currently working remotely, so to ensure you speak to the right person first time, please email advice@ctauk.org to receive a call back for advice and support. Our advice service operates 10-4pm Monday-Friday.

    Advice Service Drop-in:  we’re still holding our weekly coronavirus online drop-in where members can join a video call to talk to the team and each other about the latest guidance and ask any questions. If you want to get involved, just email our advice team.

    If you feel like this page is missing something, or if there’s something you’d like to see, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the CTA advice service and let us know!