What is a Section 19 Permit and does your school need one?

A Section 19 Permit is a permit that allows organisations, like schools, with charitable status or who run their minibuses not-for-profit to operate without a PCV Public Service Operators Licence. It means that operators and drivers of the minibus do not have to have all the additional training a commercial company would need to have such as a dedicated transport manager and full D1 licences with additional CPC driver training.

Section 19 Permits are a small disk that is displayed in the front windscreen of your minibus and one is required for each minibus you run. Section 19 Permits are inexpensive (around £11 at the time of writing) and are issued by the DVSA. Don’t be fooled by the low cost of the permits in terms of your obligations. They can be withdrawn by the DVSA and your vehicles impounded if you do not comply with the requirements for holding one.

What are the requirements of a Section 19 Permit?

There are four basic requirements for holding a Section 19 Permit

  1. Each one of its services is non-commercial and not-for-profit. A Section 19 Permit holder can not carry members of the general public.
  2. The vehicle is not driven for ‘hire or reward’
  3. Vehicles must meet the requirements for initial fitness and be well maintained – this includes regular inspections of the vehicle take place. This includes daily checks and 10-week safety inspections as well as regular services and MOTs
  4. Drivers must be 21 years old, properly trained, hold the correct licences, and take appropriate breaks.

Read the full requirements here.

What happens if you’re caught without a Section 19 Permit?

In December 2018 a school in St Leonards-on-Sea had four vehicles impounded because they were being used for hire and reward with no O-Licence. The school’s management had not realised that all minibus activities should stop until compliance was achieved. Even though an O-Licence was subsequently granted Deputy Traffic Commissioner John Baker refused to return the vehicles. Read more.

Who needs a Section 19 Permit?

Non-fee-paying schools or fee-paying schools with charitable status are required to hold a section 19 permit for each minibus they use.

The minibus must only be used by the organisation to whom the permit has been granted, or by affiliated/associate members of that organisation. If you are lending your minibus to another school or organisation they will need their own Section 19 Permit.

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’. You need to inform the DVSA or the designated body that issued your permit of any changes such as the change of name of your organisation, as your permit will need to be replaced (this includes changing to Academy status).


What is a Section 19 Permit

What is a Section 19 Permit infographic

Where can you find more details of Section 19 Permit requirements?

There is a lot to unpick in the requirements for a Section 19 Permit

  • What licence is needed to drive a minibus?
  • What is the definition of the ‘general public’
  • Does ‘hire or reward’ include fees for school transport?
  • Can we pay our drivers?
  • What’s involved in a daily minibus check?
  • What records need keeping and for how long?
  • Who should manage all of this?

This is why Castle Minibus created the Online Minibus Compliance Course (MCC), the only course in the UK written specifically for schools to help them understand their legal obligations and also build a robust safety system for their transport operations.

Castle Minibus is a trusted advisor to schools and is the Champion of Minibus Safety. The MCC will give your staff a clear understanding of their responsibilities, legislation, training, maintenance, compliance and health and safety, including a practical minibus safety check and an introduction to Castle’s free School Transport Manager app that makes checks and reporting quick and simple.

Take an online certified course to prove your school understands its obligations and save on your insurance*.

Because our online Minibus Compliance Course is designed to keep schools, their vehicles and their drivers safer our selected insurance partner James Brown and Sons (Somerset) Ltd (underwritten by First Underwriting, with ‘A’ rated insurers) are offering a further 10% concession on your premium if you complete the MCC within 60 days to accepting the policy.

For more information visit our website or call 01869 253744

*Castle Minibus is not an insurance broker and acts solely as an introduction service for James Brown and Sons Ltd.