Last reviewed 27 April 2020

Recognising that operators are currently working in unprecedented and difficult times, the Traffic Commissioners have agreed to accept compliance audits remotely.

Aiming to assist the transport industry during the Covid-19 outbreak, this concession is a temporary measure aiming to improve operator safety whilst operating in compliance with public health advice.

A new guide to this approach, Operator Compliance Audits: Approach to Conducting Audits Remotely During Covid-19 Pandemic, can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.

It sets out minimum standards for remote auditing, reminding operators that all audits must be evidence based.

Operators may scan or photograph documents to send to the auditor but each document must be complete and easy to read. They should make use of publicly available information on, for example, vehicle taxation status and MOT history.

“You should aim to use software such as Skype or Microsoft Teams to share screens so that the auditor can check remotely, for example, tachograph and maintenance records stored electronically,” the Traffic Commissioners advise. “As an operator, you may, at your own risk and at your own discretion, provide auditors with remote access to any online compliance systems (such as for maintenance or drivers hours).”

The guide notes that operators and transport managers should carry out interviews and debrief meetings using software where all parties can see each other.

A note to the auditors reminds then that they must confirm the identity of operator representatives before any interview or debrief starts. The debrief should be with a director, partner or the sole trader and with the Transport Manager for standard licences.

Operators are warned that they must not share VOL login details with auditors as these are personal and not transferable.

Traffic Commissioners are responsible for the licensing and regulation of those who operate heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and coaches, and the registration of local bus services.