Minibuses: Permit 19 Safety Inspections Explained
Are you a school or other educational body operating a minibus under a section 19 permit? Then regular safety inspections and checks are an essential part of staying compliant with legislation.
But what kind of safety checks and how often? Transporting children isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. With all the different legislation out there it can be tough to figure what you are and aren’t responsible for. And, with lots of little learners to cope with - running around, asking lots of questions and singing their favourite song over and over again (we’ve all been there) - it might even be the last thing on your mind!
If you’re a minibus operator under section 19, then here’s what you need to know about permit 19 safety inspections.
But first: which permit am I operating under? Permits explained.
Firstly, are you aware of what permit you’re operating under? Any safety inspections required will depend on the type of permit you hold. Roughly speaking, which permit you are issued will depend on whether you’re an organisation driving a minibus ‘for-profit’ or not-for-profit.
PSV ‘O’ or PHV licences - If an organisation receives any form of payment for transporting its passengers, that is, it is a ‘for profit’ company, then it requires a full operators licence. The traffic commissioner issues PSV ‘O’s while Private Hire Vehicle licenses (PHVs) come from local authorities.
On the other hand, there are permits which allow non-profit organisations in the UK to be exempt from needing a PSV ‘O’ or PHV licence. Under the Transport Act of 1985, they are:
Section 19 permit - This type of permit shows you have a charitable status. Educational bodies such as schools which don’t operate for profit will fall under this category. Under this permit, you can't carry members of the public.
Section 22 permit - A community bus permit - this one is for local bus services meant to carry members of the general public.
For more information on the different types of permits and how they work, take a look at the government’s guidance - from hereon in, we’ll be mainly focusing on section 19 and the specific safety checks required under this permit.
While permits aren’t specific to one vehicle (e.g. you can transfer between different vehicles) you can only use them on one minibus at a time. That's because each permit is in the name of the organisation (e.g. the school) and not the vehicle itself. Every time a minibus gets driven, it’s of paramount importance that the correct permit disc is on display (that is, clearly visible on the windscreen).
Even if you hire a minibus for a day, you must have the section 19 permit disc on display.
What kind of safety inspections should I be doing?
As a minibus operator under a section 19 permit, you must conduct the following regular safety checks:
Daily safety checks (pre-use) - Before every trip, you should be performing a daily walk-around to check tyres, lights, etc. Here’s a list of what you should check.
Third-party safety inspections - More formal safety checks carried out by a competent, third-party inspector. Think of these like mini MOTs.
And, how often should I be carrying out these safety inspections?
As per the DVSA’s updated advice from 2017, third-party safety inspections should be carried out every ten weeks, whether the minibus is or isn’t in use. If the minibus is over 12 years old, then that changes to every six weeks. These checks are required by law as part of your permit.
These inspections are in addition to any servicing or maintenance work you carry out. You must also provide evidence of any completed checks for up to 15 months after.
Regular minibus safety inspections are not advisory; they are the law.
Remember, you are responsible for your vehicle’s condition even if the maintenance is contracted out. And, if that maintenance isn't up to snuff, then your permit could be at risk.
On top of this, your Section 19 Permit could be confiscated by the issuing body or Traffic Commissioner if you can't provide evidence of regular safety checks conducted. That's why it's highly recommended to keep a thorough record of all safety inspections, both official and unofficial, that are done.
Rivervale can help
Now that you know what to do when it comes to safety inspections, you can get back to all those running noses and loud singalongs. Still unsure about how you’re going to get all these inspections done and maintain your minibus regularly? We can actually help with that.
At Rivervale, we understand how challenging vehicle maintenance is on an ongoing basis. In addition to our leasing, we offer a range of services tailored to minibus operation, including:
On-site inspections - no need for delivery or collection of your minibus.
Independent qualified engineers - only the best to carry out your checks.
UK-wide coverage - we’ll come to you, no matter where you are.
We can also provide pre-MOT, MOTs, as well as servicing and maintenance for your leased vehicle.
As per current government policies and guidelines, we continue to conduct business as usual in a Covid-19 safe way, ensuring the safety of both our customers and employees.
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