An investigation by has uncovered that J O’Doherty Haulage is just one of many Fors members to have had action taken against them in a public inquiry (PI) in recent times, raising further questions about the credibility of the quality benchmarking scheme.

Following confirmation by the Upper Tribunal in August of the week-long suspension handed out to J O’Doherty Haulage for a series of drivers’ hours and tachograph offences, just as it was being elevated to Fors gold has discovered a further 44 instances published since January 2014 in which firms listed as Fors members have been formally warned or penalised by the London and South East traffic commissioner for a wide range of compliance shortcomings.

The shortcomings relate to areas including drivers’ hours and tachographs, working time, driver licence checks, Driver CPC compliance, vehicle maintenance, roadworthiness, defect reporting, record-keeping and overloading. Action taken by the traffic commissioner ranged from formal warnings to licence curtailments, suspensions, and even revocation.

Of the 44 cases identified, nine involved companies listed as being Fors-registered, while 26 were firms who are shown as having Fors bronze accreditation, six hold Fors silver status and three have the highest, gold rating.

Among the gold Fors members was south London firm H Sivyer (Transport), whose licence was curtailed from 103 to 80 vehicles for three months at a PI in March last year for a series of drivers’ hours and tachograph related failings, as well as vehicle roadworthiness problems.

In his written decision, TC Nick Denton described the firm as “seriously non-compliant”. He said sole director Simon Sivyer had “an overly relaxed and hands-off approach to compliance”.

In a PI last December, meanwhile, Denton refused a restricted O-licence application from Sevenoaks-based bronze Fors member Optimus Access and revoked its interim licence after it was found to have been operating a 7.5 tonne truck without a licence. When stopped on one occasion, the vehicle was also 12.4% overloaded and the driver was keeping no tachograph or log book record of drivers’ hours.

Denton, who also disqualified the firm’s director Dean Betts and de facto director Michael John Collier from holding or obtaining an O-licence for 12 months at the PI, said he did not trust the applicant to run a compliant operation “and therefore do not consider it fit to hold a licence”.

The firm appealed Denton’s decision but it was rejected. has sent details of 20 of the cases to lead Fors concessionaire Aecom with a request for comment but so far has not received any response.

The Fors website, however, still displays an endorsement by former FTA chief executive Theo de Pencier who suggests membership of the scheme “gives customers peace of mind that the organisation they contract with takes safety and compliance seriously”.