Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
is a non-departmental public body
In the United Kingdom, a non-departmental public body —often referred to as a quango—is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to certain types of public bodies...
granted Trading Fund
A trading fund is a UK executive agency, government department or part of a department, which has been established as such by means of a Trading Fund Order made under the Government Trading Funds Act 1973....
status in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
sponsored by the Department for Transport
In the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport is the government department responsible for the English transport network and a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are not devolved...
of the United Kingdom Government
Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom contains a number of Cabinet ministers who are usually called secretaries of state when they are in charge of Government departments called ministerial departments...
The Agency was created from the merger of the Vehicle Inspectorate (VI) and the Traffic Area Network (TAN). The public are most aware of its activities through its regulation of the MOT
The Ministry of Transport test is an annual test of automobile safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions required for most vehicles over three years old used on public roads in the United Kingdom....
vehicle inspection test in Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...
. VOSA are generally better known by commercial vehicle operators as "The Ministry" a throwback to the days of the former Ministry of Transport (MOT). In Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...
this role is performed by the Driver & Vehicle Agency
The Driver & Vehicle Agency is a government agency of the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. It was created in early 2007 through the merger of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland and the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency .The merger brought together roles which are...
In 2005 it had approximately 2,500 staff, 1,700 of which are based at its lorry testing garages across Great Britain.
Its examiners have been granted the ability to issue fixed penalty tickets from 1 April 2009. These cover a range of offences including breaches of drivers hours legislation, overloaded vehicles and also mechanical defects. These tickets can be issued to both UK and foreign nationals.
In the first 3 months since the implementation of fixed penalties, the Agency has taken more than £500,000 in fines.
- To improve road safety and the environment and safeguard fair competition by promoting and enforcing compliance with commercial operator licensing requirements;
- Processing applications for licences to operate lorries and buses;
- Registering bus services;
- Operating and administering testing schemes for all vehicles, including the supervision of the MOT Testing Scheme;
- Enforcing the law on vehicles to ensure that they comply with legal standards and regulations;
- Enforcing drivers’ hours and licensing requirements;
- Providing training and advice for commercial operators; and
- Investigating vehicle accidents, defects and recalls.
- The Road Haulage and Public Service Vehicle (PSV) industries;
- Trade associations;
- Vehicle manufacturers;
- MOT garages; and
- Offenders and Defendants
Powers to stop vehicles
Under the Police Reform Act 2002
The Police Reform Act 2002 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.Amongst the provisions of the Act are the creation of the role of Police Community Support Officer, who have some police powers whilst not being 'sworn in' constables, and the ability for Chief Constables to confer a more...
, section 41 and Schedule 5, Chief Constable
Chief constable is the rank used by the chief police officer of every territorial police force in the United Kingdom except for the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as the chief officers of the three 'special' national police forces, the British Transport Police, Ministry...
s could grant powers (under a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme
Community Safety Accreditation Schemes are a means by which the Chief Constable of a police force in the United Kingdom may grant a limited range of police powers to employees of non-police organisations who contribute towards community safety. Community Safety Accreditation Schemes were created...
) to VOSA officers to stop vehicles, for checks on vehicle and driver compliance without the need for police support (later expanded to stop any vehicle, although mainly goods and passenger carrying vehicles). At that time, only police officers had the power to stop vehicles and therefore had to be present. The powers were piloted in 2003 and brought more widely into force in 2004.
Following a consultation in July 2010, the law was overhauled in 2011 to grant VOSA officers the power to stop vehicles without relying on police approval through Community Safety Accreditation Schemes as above. This also allowed VOSA officers to stop vehicles in Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
, as well as in England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...
as previously. The amendment, which was made by the Road Vehicles (Powers to Stop) Regulations 2011
, allows "stopping officers" approved by the Department for Transport to stop vehicles for certain reasons.
To be appointed as a stopping officer, a person must:
- be a suitable person to exercise the powers of a stopping officer,
- be capable of effectively exercising their powers, and
- have received adequate training for the exercise of their powers.
Officers must be in uniform to stop vehicles. Impersonating or obstructing stopping officers is an offence.
VOSA employ a fleet of Ford Galaxy
The first Galaxy was designed as a joint venture product between Ford and the Volkswagen Group. Produced at the joint-venture AutoEuropa plant in Palmela, Portugal, the vehicle was badge-engineered to create three vehicles: the Ford Galaxy; by Volkswagen Passenger Cars as the Volkswagen Sharan;...
vehicles in black and yellow battenburg livery and clearly marked with "VOSA" on the rear.These are fitted with amber lightbars on the roof. This is a similar livery to that of the Highways Agency
The Highways Agency is an executive agency, part of the Department for Transport in England. It has responsibility for managing the core road network in England...
(HA) traffic officer
A traffic officer is a person with powers relating to the regulation of traffic on certain roads in England and Wales. In England, they are employed by the Highways Agency and in Wales by the Welsh Assembly Government and are not police officers or members of police forces.*Highways Agency Traffic...
service in England and the Welsh Assembly Government Traffic Officer Service in Wales.
- MOT test
TransXChange is a UK national XML based data standard for the interchange of bus route and timetable information between bus operators, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, local authorities and passenger transport executives, and others involved in the provision of passenger information.The...
format for UK electronic bus schedule registration