If you are not involved in the UK bus or coach service industry, you’re probably not aware of the new driver CPC rules. CPC stands for Certificate of Professional Competence. Under a European Directive, bus and coach drivers who drive for a living will need to gain this qualification by September 2013. To get this qualification, drivers will need to attend 35 hours of approved training and have the training registered with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The 35 hours consists of five individual seven hour courses delivered by an approved training centre.
Three years after the clock starting ticking, we are still talking to private coach companies who simply do not understand the driver CPC rules. Many have not even started thinking about how they are going to get their drivers trained and qualified in time for the September 2013 deadline. Some company owners are keen on the school of thought that “if none of us do this, they’ll have to extend the deadline”. This is probably wishful thinking as the new rules are a European Directive now enshrined in UK Law.
Another reason for the lack of training is the current economic climate. With margins squeezed and costs rising, the training budget is usually the first to go. Normal training programmes can always be delayed with few obvious immediate consequences. Many companies are even more reluctant to invest in driver CPC training. They fear their drivers may leave the company taking their CPC accreditation with them. New recruits may not have attended any CPC training courses. The company then faces the prospect of having to pay for their five courses in the remaining two years before the deadline.
No one is certain what will happen in the summer of 2013 as the September 10th deadline approaches. Drivers who have completed their 35 hours training will have their Driver Qualification Card (DQC) issued by the DSA. This is similar to the photo card driving licence and will need to be carried at all times. Drivers with a DQC could be poached by companies who have not made the investment in training their drivers.
This fear has caused one of our clients to postpone all training until the summer of 2013. His thinking is that if he can leave it until the last minute, there will be limited opportunities for his drivers to switch jobs to the highe