A minibus safety inspection should be completed by a qualified engineer who can professionally attest to the vehicle’s roadworthiness. 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.

These safety inspections are required in addition to regular servicing and MOTs and so the DVSA recommend schools keep a rolling 6-month plan of their vehicles’ maintenance.

You are required to keep this ‘paperwork’ and proof of any subsequent remedial work for 15 months.

Government’s Section 19 and 22 Permit Guidance states:

Safety inspections should be subject to pre-planning and a maintenance planner or wall chart should be used to identify dates at least 6 months in advance of when they’re due. The system of safety inspections must be regularly monitored particularly in the early stages. You should be prepared to change the frequency of checks as appropriate based on your monitoring. Records of any remedial work carried out should be kept for at least 15 months.

Different providers of safety inspections will provide slightly different checklists but they all need to include the elements set out by the government’s guide to roadworthiness.

4.5 Safety inspection report forms

A safety inspection report must be completed for each safety inspection for both vehicles and trailers. If the safety inspection report is to be stored electronically, then the paper version does not need to be retained. This does not rule out the use of electronic devices (eg tablets) in place of paper safety inspection reports.

Each report must show at least the following:

  • name of owner/operator
  • date of inspection
  • vehicle identity (registration/trailer number)
  • make and model • odometer (mileage recorder) reading (if appropriate)
  • a list of all items to be inspected
  • an indication of the condition of each item inspected
  • details of any defects found
  • name of inspector
  • details of any remedial/rectification or repair work and who carried out the work
  • a signed statement that any defects have been repaired satisfactorily and the vehicle is now in a safe and roadworthy condition.

The report may contain details of any work to be carried forward. In particular, further checks may be needed on certain items deemed likely to deteriorate during service and make the vehicle unroadworthy before the next scheduled inspection or routine service.

Minibus safety inspections are sometimes confused with daily or weekly walk around checks that are also required under a Section 19 Permit. These checks also need to be recorded and records kept for up to 15 months.

Both the Section 19 and 22 Permit guidance and the guide to roadworthiness includes details of how they expect organisations to be reporting defects from the daily walk around checks (see below).

Carry out a walkaround check of the vehicle before your journey to make sure it’s safe. Report any defects in writing to the person in charge of sorting out vehicle defects in your organisation. (Gov.UK Section 19 and 22 Permit guidance)

3.1 A system of reporting and recording defects

There must be a system of reporting and recording defects that may affect the roadworthiness of the vehicle. This must include how they were rectified before the vehicle is used. Daily defect checks are vital, and the results of such checks must be recorded as part of the maintenance system. It is important that enough time is allowed for the completion of walkaround checks and that staff are trained to carry them out thoroughly. Drivers should be made aware that daily defect reporting is one of the critical elements of any effective vehicle roadworthiness system. (Government’s guide to roadworthiness)

Free App for Minibus walk around checks

Castle Minibus offer a free app, STRIDA, to complete, record and report daily and weekly walk-around checks. They are also the UK’s leading provider of minibus safety inspections for schools. Castle work with two national fleets of mobile engineers that will complete the inspections on your premises. For more information on Section 19 Permit and safety inspections visit the gov website or give our compliance team a call on 01869 253744 who will help you.