O-Licence Applications and Variations
Need to apply for a new Operator’s Licence or make changes to an existing one? Our specialist BACKapps team handle countless applications and variations every week and, for a fixed fee, we will hand-hold you through every step of the application process ensuring you avoid the common – and often hidden – pitfalls , which can cause delays and complications along the way.
All operators (with some exceptions) require an Operator’s Licence to be able to operate large goods and passenger carrying vehicles.
You will need to make an application for any new HGV or PSV Operator’s Licence and, if you are seeking to vary your existing licence (by, for example, making changes such as increasing vehicle and trailer numbers, or changes to operating centres or transport managers) an application will also need to be made.
Is it a form-filling exercise?
The operator licence regime is an important regulatory framework that protects us all. Hence the application process is quite in-depth and likely to take 6-8 weeks from start to finish. If any information is missing, a delay – of at least 2 weeks, but more likely longer – is likely to occur as the application cannot be properly considered. It is much more than a form-filling exercise and our team has thousands of first-hand experiences in dealing with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner, the Central Licensing Unit and the VOL online licensing system.
What kind of things does the application contain?
Information which must be provided in the application form includes details of your business and its directors, the operating centres, authorisations sought and maintenance provider details. Full details must also be referenced regarding financial and licence history together with details of any convictions (including speeding convictions and fixed penalty notices).
Depending on the type of licence you are applying for, you may also need to complete a further application for a transport manager and arrange for a public notice to be placed in a newspaper. This must be local to the operating centre to advertise the application to make potential representors aware. You must also provide financial documentation to demonstrate that you have the required funds available to operate and maintain the vehicles.
Financial Standing – Where do you stand?
The law requires an operator to be of the appropriate financial standing. Operators who fail to meet the financial standing requirements risk having their Operator’s Licence revoked by the Traffic Commissioner.
The availability of finance is a continuing obligation throughout the lifetime of the Operator’s Licence. It will be specifically checked at the application stage (for new licences or variations to existing licences), the five-yearly renewal/continuation of the Operator’s Licence or if an operator is called to Public Inquiry – but can be checked at any time.
We are seeing an increasing number of operators who are failing to satisfy the financial standing requirements or who simply do not appreciate how financial standing is assessed and/or the sources of funds that will be acceptable.
The 2024 financial standing figures are as follows:
|Public Service Vehicles
|Each additional vehicle thereafter
|Each additional vehicle thereafter
Financial Standing Calculator
Check how much you require using our calculator.
£99 +VAT per entity, we will calculate your financial standing.
Opposition and Environmental Issues – If your application attracts statutory objection, this could delay the application process. Representations and objections can only be valid in certain circumstances and the criteria is limited in this regard. Applicants are usually required to provide information further about the site. A solution then needs to be found which satisfies all parties. The same applies to sites where there have been previous environmental issues.
Sole Trader, Partnership or Limited Company – Quite a common issue for applicants of new Operator’s Licences, but for existing licence holders as well, is operating under the wrong entity. This commonly occurs where a sole trader or partnership incorporates into a limited company but does not make an application for a new licence and continues to operate under the existing sole trader or partnership licence.
Administrations & Liquidations – Applications made as a result of an Administration or a Pre-Pack can be more complicated. This typically occurs when a company – which is the holder of an Operator’s Licence – enters Administration and sets up a new company with either identical directors and shareholders, or common links and then makes an application for a new Operator’s Licence in the name of the new company. These are sometimes referred to as “phoenix companies”.
Some other key issues – Some other key issues are any previous licence and/or financial history, issues with the proposed transport manager and their working hours, lost repute and PMI frequencies.
Where can I get help?
We have a team dedicated to advising operators and preparing and making licence applications on their behalf. They understand the Operator’s Licencing regime and the expectations of the Traffic Commissioner. Our team does this day in and day out and therefore has a wealth of experience to pre-empt and solve issues early and to make the process as smooth as possible and take the stress off the operator, so please feel free to give us a call for a no obligation chat about your business.