ATF Operators Association (AOA) president and Boleyn Transport MD Stephen Smith says he is optimistic plans by Vosa to clamp down on operators of authorised testing facilities can be thwarted, after taking legal advice on the matter.

In June, Vosa revealed plans to reduce the number of testing sessions it provided cover for at ATFs that did not meet minimum levels of examiner utilisation, or who cancelled testing arrangements with less than seven days’ notice.

It also said it would cancel testing for a month at ATFs with insufficient funds in their account more than twice in any month to satisfy Vosa drawdowns, and would consider terminating ATF contracts completely in more serious cases.

Smith, who voiced immediate concerns that the proposals may not be within the scope of the contract between Vosa and ATF operators, told that his solicitor “feels there is a case to be answered”.

He now intends sharing the findings of his solicitor’s report with AOA members to discuss how best to proceed.

Key issue

One of the key issues, said Smith, is that the ATF contract calls for any material change to the contract to be subject to consultation – but no consultation has taken place about the proposed sanctions.

“Judging by the sentiment at the local forum I went to recently and the phone calls I’ve had from others around the country, people are really quite angry about these measures,” said Smith. “I do expect our members to want us to do something about it.

“We’re still optimistic we can combat Vosa over these measures,” he added.

Whether or not the AOA’s solicitor does take further action, Vosa’s proposals remain against the spirit of the partnership with ATF operators, suggested Smith.