VOSA logo

The long-standing row over the independence of the traffic commissioners (TCs) from Vosa has been laid to rest with the publication this week of a framework document.

The document clearly sets out the roles of the TC, the Department for Transport (DfT) and its agencies. It has been signed by senior TC Beverley Bell and transport minister Mike Penning.

The independence row was sparked following a letter from the DfT in late 2010 to the then senior TC Philip Brown, over the reporting of expenses, leave, working time and hospitality for TCs.

It was perceived as giving Vosa a ‘supervisory line management role’ over TCs. North West TC Beverley Bell and Western TC Sarah Bell, aired their concerns publicly at the time, sparking what some viewed as a spat.

In a joint foreword to the framework document signed by Bell and Penning, the pair state that the document is designed to “support TCs in their work and to describe the relationship between them and the DfT, including its agencies”.

“It is hoped that the document will assist licensed operators in understanding those relationships,” adds the statement.

They go on to add: “As a tribunal and regulator it is important that the independence and impartiality of TCs, which is both required by statute and also valued by industry and

ministers, is properly accommodated.”

The framework document is available on the DfT website.