Friday 27 May 2011

New Deputy Senior Traffic Commissioner

Beverley Bell has been appointed as Deputy Senior Traffic Commissioner by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond MP.
Mrs Bell will take on the temporary role from 1 June while Philip Brown, the current Senior Traffic Commissioner, is on special leave for health reasons.
She will also continue in her role as Traffic Commissioner for the North Western Traffic Area.
Mrs Bell was nominated with the consensus of her fellow Traffic Commissioners to take on the temporary role.
The role of Senior Traffic Commissioner gives the post-holder important responsibilities to determine how the Traffic Commissioners perform their statutory functions.
Controversially, trouble flared up in November 2010 when Beverley Bell adjourned the applications from Lombard North Central and Carl Hutchinson, who had applied for the return of their impounded vehicles. She announced that she had received a letter from a civil servant that set out plans for the TCs to report "on a number of matters" to VOSA's chief executive, as well as to the Senior TC (STC) Philip Brown.
In a written direction, Bell explained that she had concerns that the letter interfered with her judicial independence, prompting her to discuss the matter with all the other TCs. She says there was unanimous agreement and so she took these concerns to Brown, "who did not share my view, and who stated that he did not consider that the document prejudiced or compromised my judicial independence".
One week later, another TC, Sarah Bell in the Western region, adjourned an impounding appeal and issued her own direction, explaining that the aforementioned letter "invites the perception of the chief executive of VOSA having a de facto role of supervising and managing aspects of the TCs, which could be read as control powers".
Sarah Bell added that these proposals from the Department for Transport (DfT) could be seen as going "behind primary legislation", which would undermine their independence.
Matters calmed down somewhat when certain assurances were given by Philip Brown that their independence was not being compromised and Mr Brown subsequently stepped down for "health reasons".