Auditing your maintenance providers?

How do you know your maintenance provider is suitable?  How do you know they are competent?  How do you know they are qualified to look after your vehicles?  These are some of the questions we’ve heard Traffic Commissioners ask operators in Public Inquiries.  However, these are not issues you want to be considering for the first time under the glare of a Traffic Commissioner.

The Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (“GTMR”) explains that a “person undertaking safety inspections must be technically competent” and “operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to vehicles they examine.”  It goes on to say they should be appropriately trained and “possess a sound working knowledge of the relevant inspection manuals produced by the DVSA.

Furthermore, the GTMR strongly recommends that the maintenance facility demonstrates their competence by achieving a recognised accreditation for workshop standards. This can be gained through manufacturers’ franchised workshop quality standards or by an independent assessment, like the IRTE National Workshop Accreditation scheme.

There are simple things you can do to check their suitability:

  1. Ask what qualifications they have?
  2. Ask what equipment they have?
    1. Do they have a pit?
    2. Do they have undercover accommodation?
    3. Will your largest vehicle fit in the workshop?
    4. Do they have adequate lighting?
    5. Do they have brake testing equipment (or access to it)?
  3. Do their PMI sheets comply with the requirements sent out in GTMR?
  4. Once you’ve engaged them you can:
    1. Monitor your MOT pass rate.
    2. Complete a random audit on an inspection by using an alternative provider, perhaps a main dealer, to complete a secondary PMI and compare the results.

As with all things, it is always sensible to retain documented evidence of everything you do.

Do not simply assume that the maintenance provider knows what they are doing or best practice.  The onus is on operators to monitor their maintenance providers in the same way they monitor other areas of compliance.

Get in touch with Jared Dunbar today for expert help and advice.