This article has been updated (Jan 2023) from the original published in 2018 to reflect any changes in advice and/or legislation.

A Section 19 Permit is a way for organisations who wish to operate minibuses not-for-profit (usually charities, schools, colleges, churches and sports clubs) to do so without a PSV Operators Licence. A separate permit is required for each vehicle and must be displayed in the driver’s window, like the old paper tax disk. The permit does come with requirements for administration and maintenance, and failure to comply means the DVSA can withdraw the permit or in the worse case impound the vehicles.

In our experience, not many schools or organisations understand what is required under a Section 19 Permit. In fact, when surveyed 60% of our existing customers either didn’t know what a Section 19 Permit was, what they needed to have in place to be compliant, or what the legal implications of non-compliance were.

‘Section 19 and section 22 of the Transport Act 1985 allow organisations that operate in GB without a view to profit to have a permit which exempts them from the need to hold a PCV operator’s licence when providing transport for a charge. Under specified conditions, the drivers of certain vehicles are exempt from the need to have PCV entitlement on their driving licence.’

Who needs a Section 19 Permit?

Any organisation that runs minibuses not-for-profit, and whose business is not primarily transport, including schools with charitable status, are required to hold a Section 19 Permit for each minibus in use.

You may obtain a Section 19 Permit by complying with the following conditions;

  • The minibus must only be used by the organisation to whom the permit has been granted, or by affiliated/associate members of that organisation
  • The minibus must not be used to carry members of the public
  • The minibus must not be operated for profit, or for an activity which in itself is carried out for profit
  • The minibus must meet the requirements for initial fitness as defined by the Construction and Use Regulations
  • Section 19 Permit disc must be displayed on the near side of the windscreen, visible from the outside of the vehicle. In addition, the driver must be 21 years or older and comply with the driving licence requirements for driving a minibus.

A school that uses multiple minibuses must hold a permit for each vehicle in use. You do not need a permit if the vehicle is ‘off-road’.

Your school must also comply to certain safety and maintenance requirements, by law:

  • Drivers are suitably trained and correctly licensed
  • Your minibuses undertake the proper minibus safety inspections at the correct intervals, maintaining a safe and roadworthy condition
  • Your drivers take appropriate breaks
  • Your vehicles are insured
  • The DVSA or the designated body that issued your permit is informed of any changes such as the change of name of your organisation, as your permit will need to be replaced. (Including going to Academy status).

Minibus safety inspections

We covered this topic in our previous article ‘How often should you do a minibus safety inspection?’ so a quick overview as follows;

‘DVSA recommend that inspections are carried out at least every 10 weeks. You must ensure that a safety inspection is carried out before it’s used, if your vehicle is used very rarely.’—recommended-maintenance-arrangements

Remaining compliant under a Section 19 Permit

Castle Minibus is a trusted advisor to schools and we champion minibus safety. The online Minibus Compliance Course (updated for 2023) will give your staff a clear understanding of their responsibilities, procurement, legislation, training, maintenance, compliance and health and safety, including a practical minibus safety check and an introduction to Castle’s free app that makes walk around checks and reporting quick and simple.

If you have any questions about Section 19 Permits, Minibus Saftey Inspections, the online Minibus Compliance Course or our free app STRIDA for walk-around checks then call 01869 253744 or email Our friendly team will be happy to help.

Watch our video below where Marianne explains what a Section 19 Permit is.