What do we mean when we talk about compliance in relation to minibuses and the Section 19 Permit?
Confusion is common around the areas of the law which govern school transport management and many areas have not been tested in the courts. It is our aim, alongside our respected partners, to bring clarity to the laws and offer a framework of best practice ensuring all areas of school transport management are covered and you are compliant to the regulations and laws which govern it.
We have identified 6 pillars of compliance that support best practice for schools in managing their minibuses. These pillars are covered in the Castle MCC (Minibus Compliance Course) and if adopted will give schools the confidence that they are compliant.
1. 10-week minibus safety inspections
Under both the Section 19 Permit and full Operators-licence schools are required to have independent safety inspections completed on their vehicles. Castle work with partners who have a UK wide fleet of independent engineers who will come to your school to complete these checks. Read more on our Minibus Safety Inspections page
2. Responsibility documentation
Ultimately someone needs to be responsible for the vehicles and the drivers within a school. Those operating under an O-licence must appoint a transport manager by law. This can appear to be a daunting task, so Castle, in developing the MCC, covers the roles and responsibilities of a school transport manager and how to coordinate the work to be covered.
3. Daily walk-around checks
One of the most important aspects of compliance is the daily walk around check. Often overlooked by busy staff and teachers with other priorities. Castle aims to make this task easier to complete and record and also share details of our free app, called The School Transport Manager for the weekly checks as well.
Schools can operate minibuses in one of two ways; under a Section 19 Permit, if they are not operating their minibuses for reward or hire or under an operator’s licence. Operating under the correct legal framework is imperative. Find out more about complying with the permit regulations on our MCC.
A full D1 and D1 with (101) licence holder can drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers and over the 3500kgs GVW limit . A standard B car licence allows drivers who are over 21 to drive a minibus with a GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of under 3.5 tonnes and a maximum of 750 kgs allowance for specialist equipment only. They must also be a volunteer and are driving for social purposes only. Learn more about minibus training on our D1 driver training page
6. Vehicle weights
The GVW includes fuel, your passengers, drivers and luggage or equipment, so schools need to be clear on the weight they are adding to ensure that you are not driving an over-weight vehicle. We have compiled the facts on lightweight minibuses and out together a blog on just this tricky loophole, ‘Is the elephant in the room a rhino in your minibus’?
Our respected partners
Castle MD, Chris Maynard has worked closely with the former Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Beverley Bell CBE to build the MCC from which these six pillars were identified.
Upon the launch of the Minibus Compliance Course we were proud to announce the approval of RoSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents), and the RAC.
Boost your best practice with Castle’s Minibus Compliance Course
We have many resources on our website that will give your best practice a boost and help you towards Section 19 Permit compliance, but none more valuable or comprehensive than the MCC. Follow the link to The Minibus Compliance Course to find venues near your school until the end of 2019, or call one of our friendly team on 01869 253744 to register your interest in attending.