If you recruit or employ full or part-time bus, coach or lorry drivers, then you’ll no doubt be aware of the Driver CPC, or Driver Certificate of Professional Competence qualification that’s now required.
A qualification that first came into play in the UK in the autumn of 2008 for PCV drivers and 2009 for LGV drivers, the Driver CPC is a Europe-wide attempt to increase road safety by monitoring, testing and validating driver standards.
Apart from a handful of exceptions, drivers of 3.5-ton vehicles or minibuses with 9 seats or more are required to have a Driver CPC. There are two aspects of obtaining the initial qualification as there is with driving tests themselves, and they are theory and practical. Thereafter, in order to keep the qualification up to date and current, drivers must undertake 35 hours of training during each 5-year period.
In certain circumstances, existing professional drivers will obtain Driver CPC through what is termed ‘acquired rights’ because they were already an established bus or lorry driver before certain dates. Acquired rights are granted to lorry drivers who obtained their vocational licence before 10th September 2009 and bus or coach drivers before 10th September 2008. Although these drivers are spared the inconvenience of having to sit the initial tests, they will still be required to do the statutory 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years in order to retain their Driver CPC.
The initial part of the Driver CPC qualification is made up of four different parts; two theory tests and two practical tests and drivers are required to pass all four parts to obtain their vocational licence. As an agency it’s important to be aware of the need for these tests and have a procedure in place that proves you have carried out the necessary verification that drivers hold these tests.
The introduction of this test has put further strain on a market sector that, from published new driver numbers was already shrinking, means that as an agency you’re likely to need to work harder to get sufficient drivers on your books. If your business relies on quality, qualified drivers, then it’s imperative that you are able to attract these people through your doors as well as having the right systems in place to demonstrate compliance with the rules.
It may be that you need to find a way of paying ever so slightly over the odds, or it could be that the promise of regular, quality or long term work does the trick, but there is no getting away from the fact that attracting and retaining top quality qualified drivers is likely to get more difficult if the pool continues to shrink. Whatever happens though, it’s simply not worth ignoring the Driver CPC legislation in order to get round the problem.
If you run a recruitment agency and would welcome an outside view on the impact of Driver CPC, why not get in touch?