Driver CPC changes will bring flexibility to industry, says Logistics UK

Monday 11 December 2023

Changes to the way in which HGV drivers can achieve their professional qualifications will give the logistics industry flexibility in how and when training is taken, according to business group Logistics UK.   

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) is continual professional development which is carried out throughout a professional HGV driver’s career. Currently, drivers must undertake a block of 35 hours’ training, but as Chris Yarsley, Senior Policy Manager, Road Freight Regulation explains, the new regulations will introduce more flexibility and better targeted training for the businesses on which the whole of the economy relies: 

“Road safety is the bedrock on which professional drivers operate,” he says, “and the Driver CPC regime is at the heart of this commitment. As we enter the next five-year cycle of training and qualifications for the nation’s HGV drivers, Logistics UK is heartened to see that government’s new legislation will provide more flexibility for professional drivers to undertake training in smaller blocks of time (35 hours in blocks of 3.5 hours is now permitted, rather than blocks of 7hrs) while still attaining the standards required.  The increased flexibility that the new legislation will permit will enable logistics businesses to keep goods moving through the supply chain, while ensuring that their drivers remain up to date on key professional driving legislation.” 

As Yarsley continues, the changes will also provide more e-learning opportunities (12 hours of training will be permitted in the total of 35 hours) to give drivers time to complete training away from the classroom, and enable lapsed drivers to return to the sector more easily via a seven hour access course, which will help to ease the pressure on driver vacancies: 

“Under the new legislation, to be laid before Parliament in the spring, lapsed drivers will be able to start their return to the workforce with a seven hour course, which will provide driving rights for one year while they complete their full CPC qualification. This is good news for businesses still finding it hard to recruit new drivers to the sector, and ease the passage back into the workforce for those returning to the industry – with time available for them to undertake their full CPC training.” 

The new Driver CPC regime will introduce two classes of qualification – a National CPC for those intending only to drive in the UK, and an International CPC, close in its parameters to the current national standard, which would permit driving in the UK and abroad. 

However, Logistics UK does have a word of caution for the government over another of the proposed reforms to Driver CPC legislation, which would replace training with a periodic test, of around 50 questions: 

“HGV driving is, by its nature, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the economy for a reason – the risks involved for drivers and other road users cannot be overlooked. The industry remains concerned by this proposal, which would replace training with a periodic test – in the opinion of our members, this will not provide sufficient assessment and evaluation to ensure drivers’ abilities are fully tested and should simply be discounted now. The safety of all road users is of paramount importance, and along with the rest of the industry, Logistics UK will maintain the logistics sector’s pressure on government to ensure that professional drivers can continue to move goods both in the UK and overseas safely and effectively.” 

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.