Last reviewed 2 December 2021

Following a recent public inquiry, transport manager Darren Boyce-Smith was disqualified for two years having been found to have lost his professional competence.

The Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, Kevin Rooney, decided that Mr Boyce-Smith had done nothing for at least 11 months, failing in every one of his basic duties, including noticing that the operator’s CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) had expired in September 2019.

Other failings included not conducting any internal driver training, the transport manager not having copies of Driver CPC certificates for any driver, not having copies of any driving licences, driver CPC cards or driver tachograph cards and also failing to ensure that driver licence checks were conducted.

Mr Rooney was told that 28 days of driver download from the roadside encounter with a traffic examiner showed multiple instances of driving without a break and insufficient daily rests.

He said: “The operator, Mr Leonickas, also told me that his drivers were employed through their own limited companies and did not seem to be aware that it was done in an unlawful manner.”

The Commissioner explained that the position of self-employed drivers was considered recently by the Upper Tribunal in the case UT/2019/54 Bridgestep Limited.

It was a case where the drivers had formed their own limited companies and, in compliance with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) rules for being self-employed, the drivers were afforded significant freedoms in how the work was organised. To do otherwise would mean the drivers were employees.

Mr Rooney concluded that the licence of Leo.Al.Auto Ltd would be revoked on 1 January 2022 if the drivers were not put on the payroll. The full details of the hearing can be found – here.