Do I Need a Section 19 Permit - Your Questions Answered

What is a Section 19 Permit?

A Section 19 Permit replaces the need for a PSV Operator’s Licence. Schools can therefore operate their vehicles without all the additional training a commercial operation would need to have such as a dedicated transport manager, drivers with full D1 licences and CPC driver training.

A Section 19 Permit can be granted to schools or organisations that operate on a not-for-profit basis or have a charitable status provided they do not profit from their minibus operation.

Section 19 Permits are a small paper disk that is displayed in the front windscreen of your minibus. One is required for each minibus you run. Section 19 Permits are inexpensive (around £11 at the time of writing) and are issued by the DVSA. Don’t be misled by the low cost of the permits in terms of your obligations. The permit can be withdrawn by the DVSA and your vehicles can be impounded if you do not comply with the requirements for holding one.

See page 11 of the application form

A section 19 permit – a small disk that is displayed in the minibus windscreen

The minibus must only be used by the organisation to whom the permit has been granted. If you are lending your minibus to another school or organisation they will need their own Section 19 Permit.

A school that has multiple minibuses must hold a permit for each vehicle in use. You do not need a permit if the vehicle is ‘off-road’. You need to inform the DVSA or the designated body that issued your permit of any changes. If the school changes name (this includes changing to Academy status) your permit will need to be replaced.

Permits are valid for 5 years, must display accurate information and must not be faded or altered. If this happens the permit needs to be replaced.

What are your obligations under a Section 19 Permit?

There are four basic requirements for holding a Section 19 Permit

  1. Each one of the school’s minibus services is non-commercial and not-for-profit. A Section 19 Permit holder can not carry members of the general public.
  2. The vehicle is not driven for ‘hire or reward’
  3. Vehicles must meet the requirements for initial fitness and be well maintained. This includes regular inspections of the vehicle take place. This includes daily checks and 10-week minibus safety inspections as well as regular services and MOTs
  4. Drivers must be 21 years old, be properly trained, hold the correct licences, and take appropriate breaks.

Can you charge for minibuses under a Section 19 Permit?

Under a Section 19 Permit, you’re able to cover your costs of the transport, or more indirectly, the trips that you’re using the vehicles for. You’re not able to profit from the activity.

Can you pay your drivers under a Section 19 Permit?

You can pay your drivers under a Section 19 Permit. Paying drivers can form part of your costs which you are allowed to charge to cover, but not profit from.

How do you get a Section 19 Permit?

To get a Section 19 Permit, it’s a simple process. You just need to complete a DVSA application form and submit it online along with the fee of £11. The traffic commissioner generally grants your permit.

Link to Section 19 application form

May 2021 changes to the Section 19 Permit

The application form changed for the Section 19 Permit in May 2021. You now need to evidence your minibus safety inspections and prove that you are having them carried out. The DVSA recommends at least every 10 weeks. You must detail who is carrying out your safety inspections and how regularly and also who is carrying out the maintenance on your vehicles. You also need to submit supporting evidence that you are having this carried out.

Safety inspections are in addition to MOTs and services. More information can be found on the DVSA guide to roadworthiness or our blog on Minibus Safety Inspections

See page 11 of the application form with the maintenance questions below.

See page 11 of the application form

For more information on Section 19 Permit and safety inspections visit the gov website or give our compliance team a call on 01273 433 480 who will help you.

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