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Need to know

25th September 2008
Page 3
Page 3, 25th September 2008 — Need to know
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Before we all get hot under the collar over reports of customers demanding to see the Operator Compliance Risk Scores IOCRS ; of potential contractors, we need to consider the broader picture.

No-one should be surprised by the move. When Vosa first talked about setting up a modern, computerised 0-Licence database for the 21st century (or TAN21 as it became knownl, one of the proposals was that anyone could view the 0-licence and disciplinary record of an operator online.., although things seem to have gone quiet on that front...

The real issue with publishing OCRS data is not if a third-party should have access to it, but what they intend to do with it. There's a good argument that a customer who decided not to hire an operator with a poor disciplinary record in favour of one with a high level of OCRS compliance, would be doing the industry a favour Releasing OCRS data to customers could be the thin edge of a very dangerous wedge. What if members of the 'Great British Public demanded to see it, too? If that happened, we could see hundreds of neighbourhood busybodies and barrackroom lawyers making trouble for local hauliers. Yet before the industry cries 'data protection' and 'invasion of privacy', shouldn't a community have the right to

know if a local operator's fleet had several prohibitions for safety defects? And wouldn't such data be in the public interest and 'need to know"? Given that the Traffic Commissioners have a duty to act with public safety in mind, they could hardly refuse such a request. Operators are right to be wary, but regardless of whoever gets to see OCRS data, there needs to be a proper procedure for requesting it and a decent period of time to comply with the request. And there must be an expectation that it's up-to-date and accurate. Brian Weatherley


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