New Head of Employment joins OTB Eveling

OTB Eveling are delighted to announce the arrival of Matt Huddleson to lead our commercially focused employment team, significantly adding to our employment capability to support our niche corporate/commercial offering.

MattHuddleson

Managing Partner, James Eveling, comments:

“Matt’s appointment brings more experience and expertise to our growing employment law practice and a more developed offering to the mid-market, which otherwise might not get access to the type of support that is often reserved for large corporates. Those clients who are most likely to benefit from this will be our core client base of medium sized businesses; or other organisations who are about to go through change.”

OTB Eveling’s employment team will build upon its proven track record of providing legal support to businesses in relation to employment and people matters, as well as transactional support. Matt’s appointment extends our capability so that we also provide:

• Strategic consultancy advice on organisational and people matters.
• Project leadership and support (people and organisational projects).
• Board level advice and support, either to the whole Board or individual Board Members (challenging or sensitive people issues).
In relation to his appointment, Matt says:

“Our clients’ commercial objectives are our primary consideration in relation to any matters we are supporting them with. Employment and people issues can be frustrating for, and a huge distraction from, business. By working in partnership with our clients we can take responsibility for and ownership of issues that are otherwise pulling them away from focussing on their core business”

We will continue to provide the level of service and support that our clients are used to. As part of this we help medium sized private sector businesses either facing challenging or disruptive people related issues or problems, or embarking upon a process of change or transformation, to identify and implement commercially appropriate and legally robust plans and solutions, allowing those clients to focus on their core business activities and objectives.”

Matt’s extensive experience includes organisational, outsourcing, restructuring projects and staff transfers for a wide range of clients up to and including multinational corporates. He is also an experienced and successful TUPE specialist and advocate; and has supported clients on a broad range of employment and people issues including day to day employment relations, employment litigation and industrial relations.

Matt joined us at the beginning of June 2017 having spent more than 10 years at a fast growing top 100 regional firm, where he led a 20-strong team. He trained with international law firm Reed Smith and has more than 15 years’ experience in the employment field. He has been ranked as a Leader in his Field in Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners since 2012, and is known for his strategic advisory offering.

You can reach Matt at matt.huddleson@otbeveling.com

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Really Big Quiz 2017

Congratulations to the OTB Eveling team who came a very respectable joint 32nd in this year’s Really Big Quiz!

Simpkins Edwards Really Big Quiz - 10th May 2017 (Team 16)

This year the quiz raised a total of £7,604.26 for the Lord Mayor’s charity, Devon Freewheelers.

A big thank you to Simpkins Edwards for hosting.

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Corporate News

The OTB Eveling LLP corporate team has been bucking the local trend of decreased transactions in first quarter of 2017 and has been recognised as being in the top 3 active law firms across the South West. The firm has completed a number of transactions for their clients in the last few months including:

January 2017
• The acquisition of Hall & Partners Financial Services Limited by Shipman Financial Planning Limited, an independent financial advisory firm, for an undisclosed sum. Emma Thomas led on the transaction.

• Acquisition of Haven Fire Security Consultants Ltd by Wheeler’s (Westbury) Holdings Limited for an undisclosed sum. James Eveling and Emma Thomas led on the transaction.

February 2017
• The sale of Bay Associates to AFH Financial Group Limited for a sum of up to £1.4million. Bay Associates is a long standing independent financial advisory firm and is one of several financial services transactions that the firm has acted on recently. James Eveling led on the transaction with support from Rebecca Roberts.

March 2017
• The acquisition of AJ Electricals for electrical wholesaler Devondale Electrical for an undisclosed sum. AJ Electricals will become Devondale’s tenth branch in the region. Rebecca Roberts led on the transaction.

• The acquisition of South Brent Pharmacy for private clients of OTB Eveling LLP for an undisclosed sum. James Eveling and Rebecca Roberts led on the transaction.

• The sale of the business and assets of The Jeremy Savage Optical Practice Limited to a well-established local optical practice for an undisclosed sum. Emma Thomas led the transaction.

• The raising of substantial investment via a rights issue to existing shareholders of high net worth in quirky stationery retailer Tinc Ltd. David Gebbie and Emma Thomas led on the transaction.

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Road Transport News – Increased Fixed Penalties for Mobile Phones

The fixed penalties for hand held mobile phones have now changed from 1 March 2017.

The fine for use of a mobile phone has now increased to £200 from £100 and the penalty points has increased from 3 to 6.

If the driver is sentenced at court the fine is up to £1,000 for car drivers and £2,500 for drivers of buses or good vehicles.

Comment
This is a huge change as drivers with 6 points or more on their licence will now face a disqualification of up to 6 months under the totting procedure. Probationary car drivers holding a licence for less than 2 years will face revocation and a complete retest.

Lorry drivers convicted of phone use can expect to appear before the Traffic Commissioner with the risk of their vocational licence being suspended.

We can represent any drivers charged and who are at risk of losing their licence and advise the operator what to do at this early stage.


If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so please call 01392 823 811 or email paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com with your query.

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Road Transport News – Revocation of Operator Licence for Wolverhampton Operator

Bushbury Plant and Tool Hire, who are a plant and tool hire firm, has been banned from operating HGVs for a year. West Midlands Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton, described its vehicle maintenance procedures as “one of the worst he had seen” and that they operated their trucks “in an appalling condition”.

Their lorry was stopped and given an ‘S’ marked prohibition for five loose wheel nuts across two wheels, an inoperative indicator, brake pipe issues and an oil leak. This then triggered an investigation with the DVSA vehicle examiner finding an ineffective defect reporting system, the preventative maintenance inspections were not being carried out at the intervals required and the MOT pass rate was poor.

As well as revoking the licence, director Wayne Harper was disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for 12 months. The transport manager, Nathan Bartlett, was also disqualified for 2 years.

Comment

Any operator receiving an ‘S’ marked prohibition should immediately take legal advice as it is inevitable an investigation by DVSA will follow, usually with a call up to public inquiry for the operator and transport manager. Putting systems in place shortly before the inquiry is unlikely to be sufficient.

Since the Bath tipper accident in 2015, Traffic Commissioners are far more likely to take much stricter action against operators and transport managers who do not comply with their undertakings. Mr Denton has said “Road safety has been seriously jeopardised.”

As can be seen from this decision, the sanctions are not just revocation of the operator’s licence but also disqualification of directors and transport managers.

If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so email him with your query on paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com or call 01392 823 811.

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Road Transport News – Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) Changes

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have now introduced significant changes to the OCRS system.

New Combined Score
The operators combined roadworthiness and traffic scores will appear in OCRS reports although operators can still view the individual scores.

Straight to Red Removed
Where operators are prosecuted or have a most serious infringement (MSI) they used to go straight to red. Now, DVSA will issue OCRS points but the operator will not be automatically placed into the red band when this happens.

Prosecution Points
Points for prosecution cases and band 5 offences have been lowered from 500 to 300.

Verbal warnings

When a driver is issued with a verbal warning during a roadside check then the OCRS score will not be affected, it will be shown on the OCRS score as a clear inspection.

Comment
Many operators were unhappy with the OCRS score system, especially the “straight to red“. The changes by DVSA will hopefully go some way to address that and give operators a chance to show a picture of overall compliance.

If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so please email him with your query at paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com or call 01392 823 811.

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Road Transport News – ADR 2017

ADR 2017: European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road

In January 2017 the latest edition of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, or ADR for short, is introduced. Since its entry into force, it contains the conditions under which dangerous goods may be carried internationally. There is a transition period until 1 July 2017, during which time both the existing 2015 and 2017 agreements can be complied with.

There are new or revised provisions for battery powered vehicles and equipment; marking and labelling for lithium batteries in Class 9; and construction and equipment of vehicles.

Comment
Any company carrying dangerous goods internationally should be aware of the changes and we suggest that you take a look at the consolidated list of 2017 amendments to ADR which are available on the UNECE website:-

http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2016/dgwp15/ECE-TRANS-WP15-231e_def.pdf.

If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so please email him with your query at paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com or call 01392 823 811.

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Road Transport News – Guidance for Vocational Drivers

DVLA have published new vocational drivers’ guidance and the following link will take you to the website to print off the guide. It has been published in association with the Department of Transport, Traffic Commissioners, Freight Transport Association and other organizations. There are separate publications for Goods Vehicles and PSV Vehicles.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-vocational-drivers

Comment

We recommend “Guidance for Vocational Drivers” is given to all drivers and suggest a signed record is kept confirming that they have received it. It warns drivers that inappropriate conduct such as drink driving, drug driving, speeding or mobile phone use will not be tolerated by Traffic Commissioners. If a driver is caught committing one of these offences, then we recommend that you contact us as this may affect your operator licence and your systems may need to be reviewed.

If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so please email him with your query at paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com or call 01392 823 811.

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Road Transport News – Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Documents

These Statutory Documents have been updated and republished and take effect from 1 January 2017. The Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Beverley Bell said,

“The changes to the statutory documents are designed to streamline processes, extend delegation to our staff and give better guidance so that decisions can be made more quickly. These changes will help to deliver a more efficient and effective licensing regime for compliant operators.”

The documents have been revised following consultation and will cover key areas of the operator licensing regime and decision making of the traffic commissioners.

Comment

There are 14 statutory documents with just under 400 pages. There are now role descriptions for transport managers and a new streamlined process. There are also the changes to financial standing we previously advised you about.

If you do have any queries regarding the statutory documents or operator licensing and how to comply please contact us.

If you require any legal advice, please contact specialist road transport and motoring lawyer Paul Atkinson. Paul offers an initial free telephone consultation, so please email him with your query at paul.atkinson@otbeveling.com or call 01392 823 811.

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Road Transport News – Operator Licensing Financial Standing Increases 2017

As from 1 January 2017 the levels of financial resources that vehicle operator licence applicants and operators need to show will increase.

Traffic Commissioners must be satisfied that vehicle operators have enough financial resources to run their business and maintain their vehicles properly and “must revoke a standard licence if it appears that the licence holder no longer satisfies the requirement to be of the appropriate financial standing.”

For restricted licences the “Traffic Commissioner may revoke a restricted licence if they find that there has been a material change in their financial position…”

The current levels are

Standard First vehicle £6,650 each additional Vehicle £3,700
Restricted First vehicle £3,100 each additional Vehicle £1,700

As from 1 January 2017 these are due to go up for standard licences but for restricted licences have once again remained constant

Standard First vehicle £7,850 each additional Vehicle £4,350
Restricted First vehicle £3,100 each additional Vehicle £1,700

Comment
A standard or international operator with 5 lorries will now have to show a level of £25,250 (previously £21,450) which is “at the disposal of or within the reach of the operator”. An operator with 20 lorries will see an increase from £76,950 to £90,500 and can be asked to prove this when applying to vary their licence or renew it. Failure to meet the required financial standing may result in a public inquiry or revocation. The operator’s finance will then be very closely scrutinised to include their accounts and bank statements.

This has massive implications as some operators currently meeting the financial requirements may not do so after 1 January 2017 which will affect their ability to operate.

For more information or if you have any queries, please contact Paul Atkinson.

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