IBN 45/2020 - Management of Squadron Owned Vehicles

IBN 45 was issued last week and relates to the management of SOVs and making clear that the responsibility is with the Civ Com & OC.

There are additional requirements for servicing that would now be required 4 times a year.

Could this be the end of the SOV combined with Covid 19 and capacity restrictions?

No there aren’t, it talks about the requirement for safety inspections which is not the same as a service and directs you to the DVSA guide. (Whilst lifting chunks of text but omitting others from the guide).

A safety inspection can be done by anyone as long as they know what they are looking at. (So if you have a member of staff or a committee member who knows vehicles they can do it).

The guide also allows for safety inspections based on mileage (with time combined) rather than just time based which the HQAC IBN omits, (whilst saying stick to the guide) so with a low mileage vehicle like an SOV you could set your Safety Inspections as annual or X thousand miles. As long as you document that as your process and stick to it you are fine.


I would read section 4.9 and 5.1 before deciding to complete the safety inspections in house.

Yes, it’s a guide and not law. And it uses words like “we suggest” instead of “you must”. But, should the driver get pulled over, or you have a serious accident, you will need a pretty convincing argument as to why you chose to ignore that advice to avoid prosecution.


As Sqns should have been doing all of these maintenance checks already as per the law.

Sqns that own a bus should be up to speed on DVLA, DVSA and Dep Transport rules as well as anything from HQAC.

Funnily though… the law supersedes anything from HQAC!

I agree.

If ‘in house’ you have a staff member who is also certified as day job to check vehicles then yep you’re fine.
If not, get a 3rd party professional in.

There are 3 levels of check and ways have been.

  1. DAILY inspection and walk around. Daily as in before bus is used on that day.

  2. PERIODIC inspection, every 10 weeks minimum, by a qualified person to check for vehicle maintenance requirements.

  3. ANNUAL MOT annual inspection at a registered garage for the vehicle size.


Record it all in a vehicle log book.
Keep copies on Sqn, in case of vehicle theft of fire.

Yes, ok. Maybe a ball ache.
But you will be glad you did it all, if the messy poo hits the spinning blade of doom!

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I don’t disagree, however I was not previously aware of the extent, but it does worry me that at least 2 OCs has already said they will be binning their buses as a result.

It’s a requirement to ensure that they are roadworthy because they are used to transport other peoples children, my biggest concern is they don’t think they can maintain them to this standard, but thought they were ok to use previously.

Does beg the question though as to how long it will be before a similar regime is required for any vehicle used to transport Cadets. I bet a lot of SOV’s are in better condition than many Staff private vehicles in which Cadets have been transported.

If the organisation at large wants rid, just slap an embargo on any new or replacement SOV’s, and soon enough existing ones with wittle down to zero.

I don’t think it’s the inability to keep it up to the required standards, more the cost of maintaining an expensive safety assurance system that has been designed for bus operators who have buses out on the roads for 18 hours a day.


Maybe, they are just taking the opportunity to get rid of an old bus and not replace it immediately.

TBH. The world has changed. The idea of Sqns going off on independant adventures and camps is diminishing, with all the paperwork and extra hoops these days.

Let alone covid!

Or maybe they just don’t understand.

Or maybe they wernt keeping their bus up to scratch.

If the buses are in good condition… make an offer on one. I’m sure their committee would want some money for it.

Thankfully I am not an OC at present, but the procedures in the IBN mean that I personally would have to ensure all of those tasks are undertaken, and recorded, and not being anyway mechanically minded, or allowed to drive a minibus anymore, I would have no option but to use a garage to do them, so the cost, and aggro of arranging would be a big negative for me.
Keeping a car legal is easy, but these bus rules just look like they are trying to dissuade SOV’s.

I suspect the reason behind that is to cover someone’s backside somewhere in the Ivory Towers…if only from a reputation point of view rather than responsibility

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Looks like they want us to go the way as bus Operators.

I don’t see it as a bad thing. We have our PCV vehicles checked every 10 weeks. CPC’s next I expect.

Increased assurance of safety is rarely a bad thing, but there has to be a balance with the time and money needed achieve the assurance. Especially when the time is from volunteers and the money from a charity.

Many ATC minibuses probably do <5000 miles a year, so a 10 weekly check isn’t likely to find anything. How often do low mileage ATC minibuses fail their MOT? In contrast, how many miles do your PCV vehicles do?

No. We can still get Permit 19s.
Just via the traffic commissioner now.

So no need to act as a bus operator.

Safety standards are separate from the licencing issue. Always have been.

These checks and requirements have been in existence for years.

Except that motor vehicles need to be run fairly regularly to maintain themselves.
Else seals corrode, batteries discharge, moisture seeps in, the oil and fuel needs using not sitting for months etc etc.


Vehicles don’t usually sit unused for months (except at the moment), so those issues are very unlikely, especially for a newer vehicle.
If there aren’t MOT failures currently then I don’t see the value of a regular MOT type check. What would they find?

the phrase ALARP sums it up

it is both reasonable and practical to expect a “bus operator” to check their fleet. The number of miles driven per annum is likely to exceed what some car owners do in a handful of years, so makes sense that a more regular (ie not just annual) check is completed.

it is both possible and achievable for a SOV to be inspected more frequently than once a year, but why would you given the number of miles driven?

One answer would be degradation of parts due to lack of use i.e. brakes, oil etc. I still don’t necessarily agree that should be as often as the above but I can see some merit in safety checks more than a once yearly MOT.

We do daily walkround checks every use of the vehicle and have it serviced every year as well as MOTed obviously, and do active maintenance on it as far as possible. But we still do maybe 4k miles a year tops.

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I would say that we currently do about the same, I will speak to my Treasurer who is the mechanically minded one bit I think I’ll be saying 6 monthly or X number of miles whichever comes sooner.

Potentially with a caveat for planned motorway driving.

It’s just a shame that we don’t have a SME at HQAC, who could issue some kind of practical advice to squadrons on how to create and maintain a system of safety inspections that is acceptable to both the Traffic Commissioner, and Squadron Commanders…

I’m curious as to why Sqn Commanders are deemed to be jointly responsible as a default? Surely its the Civ comms that own the buses, and are therefore the operators? They may choose to ask the OCs to help, but equally they may choose to do everything by themselves?

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