Both checks and inspections are legally required under a Section 19 Permit. The main differences between minibus checks and minibus safety inspections are:

  1. who is authorised to complete them
  2. how often they are completed.

Walk-around checks

Minibus checks can be completed by any member of staff, usually the driver before a vehicle is taken on the road. These are basic checks to both ensure the vehicle is ready to go on the road and also to protect the driver from being held accountable for any previous damage. These checks typically include checking for bald tyres, scratches or dents, all lights working, sufficient petrol and screen wash. These checks need to be completed at least daily and it is recommended that more thorough checks are completed weekly – as teachers/drivers may not want to check under the bonnet for oil or screenwash levels. Schools can create their own checklists, but it is a requirement of the Section 19 Permit that checks are completed, and records kept for at least 15 months. Castle Minibus has a free app STRIDA to help schools complete 12- and 40-point checks and record the results – including uploading photos of any issues. Get started by creating an account here.

Here is a video of an example of a daily walk around check that is also included with a weekly check video on Castle’s free app.

Minibus safety inspections

The DVSA recommend that minibuses run under a Section 19 Permit should have safety inspections every 10 weeks for vehicles under 12 years old, and every 6 weeks for vehicles over 12 years old.

A minibus safety inspection is completed by a qualified engineer that can professionally attest to the vehicle’s roadworthiness. These inspections are to identify any issues or potentials failings not to fix them – remedial work can be completed at a later date. It is therefore not recommended that minibus safety inspections be carried out by the engineers who complete services and MOTs.

There is a checklist that the engineer completes and leaves with the school or organisation for their records. All vehicle maintenance records including safety inspections and checks need to be kept for at least 15 months.

Minibus safety inspections and walk-around checks are in addition to regular services and MOTs. The DVSA recommends that organisations running their minibuses under a Section 19 Permit have a clear 6-month plan of all maintenance dates.

Contact Castle Minibus for more information

Castle Minibus are the UK’s leading provider of minibus safety inspections for schools. We work with two national fleets of mobile engineers that will complete the inspections on your premises. For more information on Section 19 Permits and safety, inspections visit the .gov website or give our compliance team a call on 01869 253744 who will help you.