What is a Period of Grace?

A Period of Grace permits an operator who currently fails to meet a mandatory licence requirement to keep operating, providing them with an opportunity to correct the issue within the granted timeframe.

Typically, a Traffic Commissioner must revoke a licence that does not fulfil the requirements. However, the Period of Grace temporarily suspends this action, being granted only if the Traffic Commissioner deems it suitable.

Why are Periods of Grace Crucial?

Understanding that business operations don't always proceed smoothly, Traffic Commissioners recognise the value of Periods of Grace. Situations like an unexpected resignation of a transport manager, short-term financial difficulties, or loss of access to key business premises are instances where a Period of Grace is beneficial, allowing the operator to maintain operations while resolving these issues.

When are Periods of Grace Applied?

Periods of Grace are available exclusively to standard licence holders, including both goods and PSV operators. They come into play when a mandatory requirement is no longer met, specifically:

- Professional competence, verified by a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

- Financial standing, demonstrated by showing the necessary level of finance based on the number of authorised vehicles.

- Stable and effective establishment, ensured by having premises in Great Britain for storing core business documents and access to vehicles.

Operators must inform a Traffic Commissioner of any significant changes affecting their licence, particularly those relating to these requirements. In such cases, seeking a Period of Grace is advised.

How to Secure a Period of Grace?

A Period of Grace is not automatically granted. The Traffic Commissioner must be convinced that the operator will likely rectify the shortfall within the Period of Grace. This ensures fair competition among compliant businesses.

To apply, an operator acknowledges their current non-compliance but requests time for correction. They must demonstrate their remedial actions and how they'll manage during the Period of Grace. For instance, in the absence of a transport manager, the operator should present a recruitment plan for a new manager and ensure safe transport operations in the interim.

Applications for a Period of Grace, including any extension requests, should be made in a timely manner to allow for necessary checks and approval. Email applications to: enquiries@otc.gov.uk

What are the Time Limits for a Period of Grace?

The legal maximum for a Period of Grace is generally six months, extendable to nine months in cases like the transport manager's death or incapacity.

Traffic Commissioners typically avoid granting the maximum initially, allowing room for potential extensions. The initial grant might be three months, extendable to six if needed. Timely application for extensions is crucial; failure to do so can lead to licence revocation if compliance isn't demonstrated before the Period of Grace ends.

What Occurs After a Period of Grace?

Once the maximum Period of Grace is reached, it cannot be extended further. If the period expires without meeting the requirement or extending it, the Traffic Commissioner must revoke the licence.

Last-minute evidence or extension applications are insufficient to retain the licence. Operators should ensure timely submissions for the Traffic Commissioner's consideration.

As acceptance of a Period of Grace acknowledges a breach in licence requirements, there's no entitlement to request a Public Inquiry post-expiration.

Operators must recognise the risks to their licence when seeking a Period of Grace and actively manage deadlines to prove compliance to the Traffic Commissioner before expiration to avoid losing their licence.

If you need our help or support, please don't hesitate to contact us at 0333 567 1966, alternatively email us at info@transportldp.co.uk or info@hauliershub.uk