Transport Operator Professional Competence: How is Professional Competence Demonstrated?

Professional competence is usually demonstrated by holding a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) issued in consequence of passing an examination specifically designed for the purpose of holding an equivalent qualification recognised by the Department for Transport (DfT). It may also be demonstrated by an acquired rights certificate.

The Driver CPC is a qualification for drivers and has no relation to the operator’s professional competence requirements. The two should not be confused.

National and international qualifications

There is now only one version of the CPC, which covers both national and international operations. So even if a CPC candidate wishes only to manage operations under a national O-licence they must still take the international CPC examination. However, there will be many longer-serving transport managers who gained their qualification in the days when there were separate national and international qualifications and it is important that operators of international transport service ensure that their transport manager is fully qualified.

Qualifications to Prove Professional Competence

There are several qualifications which can prove that an individual has achieved professional competence status.

Examination for a Certificate of Professional Competence

Examinations specifically for the purpose of demonstrating professional competence are available from the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR) examinations syndicate and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK (CILT(UK)); other examining bodies may also provide the examinations in due course.

The examinations meet the requirements for the new combined national and international professional competence qualification. There are no academic entry requirements for the examination and no fixed rules or requirements for study. Prospective transport managers can prepare for the examination by:

• attending a residential course

• attending a non-residential course

• studying with the help of a special learning pack or a correspondence course

• studying without assistance.

Full details of the CPC examination and future examination dates are available from the OCR Examinations Board or CILT (UK).

Computer-based testing

Computer-based testing is available for the CPC multiple choice assessment paper on demand, allowing candidates to sit or re-sit an assessment at a time convenient for them.

This will enable results to be issued more quickly than can be achieved with the paper test, which can only be taken in March, June, September and December.

Official examination syllabus

The official examination syllabus as set out in EC Regulation 1071/2009 contains the following main list of subjects that must be covered in the professional competence examination.

• Civil law.

• Commercial law.

• Social law.

• Fiscal law.

• Business and financial management of the undertaking.

• Access to the market.

• Technical standards and technical aspects of operation.

• Road safety.

Courses for the Certificate of Professional Competence

A number of colleges and training centres offer courses for the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). These courses may be carried out using home study packs, online courses or face-to-face classroom training spread over a number of days, weeks or even months. NTP offers both a classroom-based transport manager CPC training course and an online transport manager CPC study course.

NTP's online study course has an extremely high pass rate, beating the UK's national average and is rated 5* on Trustpilot. It is the UK's leading online study course and is the most comprehensive online study course available.

There are versions of the course for both HGV and PCV

Other acceptable qualifications or diplomas

Certain other qualifications may be acceptable as proof of professional competence. The following organisations have at some time made available to their members certificates that could provide proof of professional competence and obviate the need to take the CPC examination.

• Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) in the UK.

• The Institute of Road Transport Engineers (a constituent body in the Society of Operations Engineers).

• The Movers’ Institute (formerly the Institute of the Furniture Warehousing and Removing Industry and now part of the British Association of Removers).

• The Institute of Transport Administration.

Such proof of professional competence is only valid if supported by a current certificate of Transport Manager CPC exemption issued by the relevant body. Further information on proving professional competence in this way should be obtained from the organisation concerned.

Acquired rights

Grandfather rights (GFR) certificates were issued up to 30 November 1979 to transport managers who were in responsible road transport employment under an operator’s licence before 1 January 1975. All those with GFR who were named on an operator’s licence on 4 December 2011 had a new acquired rights (AR) certificate issued automatically and those to whom this did not apply but who could prove they had continuously managed a road transport undertaking for the 10 years prior to 4 December 2009 could apply for one up to 4 December 2013.

The Transport Manager Acquired Rights certificate remains valid as proof of professional competence for those who hold one but a GFR certificate is no longer valid.

Professional competence qualifications from other EU Member States

A qualification in professional competence from any EU Member State can be used to satisfy professional competence requirements in other EU Member States. If, however, an operator wants to operate in the national market of any other EU country, he or she will need to obtain a mutual recognition certificate to support the application.

These are available on payment of a prescribed fee.

Further information can be obtained from the DVSA Customer Service Centre or the Traffic Area Office where a licence is held or where a nominated professionally competent transport manager is named on a licence.

If neither of these applies contact can be made with any Traffic Area Office for further information. If the operator employs a competent person who holds a RSA or OCR full professional competence certificate (National or International) issued since March 1992, it will not be necessary to obtain a mutual recognition certificate.

Further Reading:

This article makes up part of our Transport Operators Professional Competence series. We recommend you read the following articles to help give you a good understanding of the requirements for transport operators.


NTP Services provide Transport Manager CPC study courses. We have options available for both HGV and PCV. We offer both classroom and online training.

Our online training course is the UK’s leading course and has an extremely high pass rate. It is the most comprehensive and best-performing study course available and has a pass rate of 87% which is substantially higher than the national average of 57%.

For more information about Transport Manager CPC classroom training please CLICK HERE

For more information about ONLINE Transport Manager CPC training for HGV please CLICK HERE

For more information about ONLINE Transport Manager CPC training for PCV please CLICK HERE

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