Brighton City Council has defended its response on finding its Cityclean service vehicles did not meet safety standards required by the Traffic Commissioner.
The council reported the issues, which it said required “urgent action”, to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) when a newly appointed head of fleet management flagged them up in February.
The council said it had agreed actions with the OTC. But the OTC told MRW there had been no agreement between the Traffic Commissioner and council officials over the local authority’s operator licence compliance.
A council spokesperson said: “Our initial statement in no way meant to overplay the role of the Commissioner in this issue.
“However, taking all the cross-correspondence between the council and the OTC, and knowing the OTC had accepted our action plan and regular updates, we felt we had ‘jointly agreed the immediate actions needed to meet the expected standards’.”
The spokesperson added: “At no time have we said we met the Commissioner for talks. What our chief executive Geoff Raw did do is inform the Commissioner’s office immediately, on 18 February, when the problems with the licence was discovered.
“This correspondence was acknowledged by the OTC on 21 February, which stated ‘the Traffic Commissioner is grateful for the candid report on the current situation’.
“That email also stated: ‘It is acknowledged that you intend to provide updates which should be sent to me (via email will be acceptable). You may also wish to inform your local DVSA enforcement manager.’
“On 4 March our new head of fleet management, who discovered the problem, sent the same officer our action plan with a detailed progress report as part of our updates, which he thanked us for in an email dated 6 March.
“We replied that day asking who to contact at the DVSA officer and received a reply on 13 March and our emails would be forwarded to that person.
“Our head of fleet management also called the OTC head office in Leeds to report the matter and was asked to send letters and information to a case officer, which he did on 13 March.”