• Initial ATCO response to the Department for Transport Letter

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    The Association of Transport Coordinating Officers (ATCO) brings together local authority staff members that are responsible for passenger transport.  Following the Department for Transport’s letter on driver licensing and permits, ATCO have written to their members to outline their views and next steps for local authorities.



    Re: The Issue and Use of Section 19 and Section 22 Permits for Road Passenger Transport in Great Britain

    I refer to the Department for Transport (DfT) letter dated the 31st July 2017 on the above matter and ATCO’s  advice on the matter.

    Unfortunately due to its timing and sudden nature we have not had time to undertake a full review of the implications or to discuss this with the DfT and as a consequence have requested a meeting with them at the earliest opportunity. We have also not had the opportunity to form a collective ATCO response, however as we had already set up a special interest group meeting on Community Transport on the 7th September 2017 it is our intention to use this meeting to establish this. Anyone interested in attending this meeting should email sue.davey@suffolk.gov.uk who can provide more details. In doing this it will provide us the opportunity to ensure we are able to provide the DfT with a qualified ATCO position by the start of the consultation in Autumn.

    I should also add we have met with the Community Transport Association (CTA) and will remain in contact with them throughout to ensure clear channels of communication and support through this period. Statements by the CTA on the matter can also be found on our website.

    As the advice refers to a specific case and circumstances, and the DfT have stated their intention to consult and review s19 and s22 legislation. In the interim our advice is that it is not prudent to award new contracts to community transport groups until issues are resolved, but we do not believe that councils should make any changes to existing contracts it holds with section 19 or section 22 groups until further advice is received from the DfT and/or DVSA, as current contracts were issued in good faith and in line with thinking at the time.    

    Clearly ATCO may need to review its position if further instructions or advice is received from the DfT and/or DVSA which necessitates a change.

    On a final point I think it is extremely important that any concerns questions members have regarding the DfT letter are directed to the email address provided by the DfT; buses@dft.gsi.gov.uk as this will ensure they have a full picture of the issues and concerns.


    Chris Pettifer – Chair of ATCO

    Don’t forget to sign CTA’s petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-community-transport to keep our communities moving.

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