West Lancashire Borough Council’s Street Scene Department has been referred to the Traffic Commissioner by Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) over its compliance with the working time directive and domestic driver’s hours rules, MP Rosie Cooper revealed.
Rosie Cooper MP initially received information there were breaches of the domestic driver’s hours rules. She raised the matter with the Borough Council through a Freedom of Information request. To which the Borough Council denied there had been any breaches of the rules. Following this denial Rosie then referred the case to VOSA.
In November 2012 VOSA initially visited the Borough Council over the complaints that drivers of the refuse vehicles were in breach of the domestic driver’s hours regulations.
These regulations stipulate how many hours employees can spend driving and the rest times for employees to avoid overtired drivers being a danger to themselves and other road users.
VOSA conducted follow-up investigations in March and September 2013 prior to submitting their report to the Traffic Commissioner in October.
In VOSA’s correspondence with MP Rosie they refer to the “shortcomings identified by our examiner” following their investigations at West Lancashire Borough Council.
MP Rosie commented:
“I am deeply worried by what is happening at West Lancashire Borough Council. How have they got themselves into a position of having three investigation visits from VOSA and are now being referred to the Traffic Commissioner.
“I am sure this process would not have taken a year if the Borough Council had been operating wholly within the rules and reporting requirements.
“We now await the findings of the Traffic Commissioner as to whether there will be any further action.
“Irrespective of the outcome I believe the Borough Council needs to offer a public explanation of how they, as supposedly responsible employers who value their staff, have ended up being in a position to be referred to the Traffic Commissioner.”
“If the Borough Council doesn’t offer a public explanation and put the details into the public domain then I’m sure this will be followed by a request under Freedom of Information rules”