Commercial Passenger Vehicle Board Charter

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Background and Context

Role of the Board

Protocols Between Board and Department

  • Operating Protocols
  • Administrative Protocols

Expectations and Modus Operandi

  • Modus Operandi
  • Role of Board Members
  • Role of the Chairman

Term of Board Charter


Background and Context

The Commercial Passenger Vehicle Board  (the Board) is established under the Commercial Passenger (Road) Transport Act. The Act requires the Minister to determine the Board membership and “… how it is to operate”.

Section 6B(1) of the Act outlines that the functions of the Board are:

(a) to provide advice to the Minister on all matters relating to commercial passenger vehicles (other than motor omnibuses, tourist vehicles and special passenger vehicles); and

(b) any other functions conferred on the Board in writing by the Minister.

Section 6B(2) outlines that the Board “… has the powers that are necessary and convenient for the performance of its functions”.

Section 6C requires the Board to provide the Minister with a report on the Board’s operations by the end of September each year.

Section 6 of the Act contains both a wide legislative remit and a potentially wide set of powers the Board can seek [eg in regulations made under the Act which require certain things (eg regular industry information) so the Board can properly advise the Minister].  Additionally, there is no mention in the legislation of the important relationship between the Board and the Department. The Department  is the industry regulator and provides the funding, administrative support and industry information which enables the Board to function.

The wide legislative advisory remit of the Board needs to be augmented by contemporary context and current Ministerial and wider Government expectations in order to provide focus to the work of the Board over the next 3-5 years. The relationship with the Department needs to be defined as this underpins the ability of the Board in carrying out its advisory function.

In terms of focussing the wide legislative advisory remit of the Board influencing factors on both the context in which the Board operates and which provide indicators on where the Board should focus are:

  • it is clearly the role of government, in relation to any service industry subject to economic regulation, to put in place a policy platform and regulatory environment which:
    • serves the legitimate interests of both the industry and its customers; and
    • can be effectively administered and enforced by the regulator (if this cannot be done then no regulation is the better alternative);
  • in general, the operator accreditation and licensing, driver authorisation and CPV vehicle registration functions, while improvements are probably needed, are operating reasonably well;  
  • in the stakeholder consultation stage of the 2008-2009 Review (the Review) of the Northern Territory Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) Industry there was strong industry support for a clearly articulated government policy and long term strategy for the CPV industry and the services it provides to consumers. The publicly available Synopsis report of the Review recommended “ … government, in consultation with industry, to formulate a strategic plan articulating how government and the industry see the CPV industry developing over the next five years. This will provide a roadmap that can be used by all stakeholders to identify their own long term roles and make informed plans within a coherent planning context.”;
  • each sector of the CPV industry works independently of each other in their dealings with government and lobby to achieve their individual sector aims (ie there is no collective sense of the CPV industry providing personal passenger services as competitive factors between sectors dominate);
  • it is widely acknowledged that the existence of nine categories of CPV vehicle, six of which the Board can advise on, means a relatively complex regulatory environment with consequences for the customer, industry members, regulator and Government;
  • the Synopsis report states “The new Board will be required to advise on strategic issues concerning CPV provision, regulation and planning. It will be a forum for industry members and passengers to shape each other’s thinking. It will provide a forum to develop and promote government action in overseeing personal, point to point public and tourist transport.” (p16)
  • there is a clear expectation from the Minister that the Board will be the CPV ministerial ‘brains trust’ and provide strategic advice on the industry. Intrinsic to this expectation is that the Board will be proactive in its work and not simply react to incidents or developments;
  • an essential input to both identifying CPV industry or customer issues and formulating advice to the Minister on appropriate policy or regulatory practise is industry information. The industry information available to the Northern Territory regulator, Government and Board is poor compared to that available in other jurisdictions. As effective Government strategic policy and Department operational policy (as the Regulator) can only be developed with good industry information, this paucity of information is an issue which needs to be addressed at an early stage; and
  • the thrust of the Draft Industry Development Plan, which was formulated out of an August 2009 industry and community workshop conducted in the context of the Review recommendations, has the support of the Minister. The primary components of the Draft Industry Development Plan are the following high level ‘Initiatives’:
    • improved customer service;
    • safe passengers and drivers;
    • competent and well trained industry;
    • unified industry voice and identity;
    • adequate infrastructure;
    • accurate information on consumer demand and industry performance; and
    • new technology enabling better service.

Taken together, the above ‘influencing factors’ strongly point to the:

  • Board operating at the strategic level when fulfilling its legislative obligation “ … to provide advice to the Minister on all matters relating to commercial passenger vehicles … .”;
  • early work of the Board should be focussed around developing advice to the Minister on:
    1. as a priority :
      1. the industry information essential to both the development of good policy proposals and the monitoring of industry activity/performance; and
      2. assessment and publishing of the Draft Industry Development Plan;
    2.  a five year strategic plan for the CPV industry; and
      1. Board should be proactive in its work and independent in its thinking in order to be of value as the legislated adviser to the Minister.

There is also nothing in the above ‘influencing factors’ which indicates that:

  • the Minister should confer any other functions on the Board in accordance with Section 6B(1)(b);
  • the Board requires clarification in regard to its powers under Section 6B(2).

Relevant factors influencing the relationship between the Board and the Department are:

  • as the Regulator the Department should possess industry and customer information which is a necessary input to the Board formulating advice to the Minister;
  • the Department provides funding and administrative support which allows the Board to function;
  • the Board will require the research and analysis capability of the Department in order to develop policy advice options and adopt policy advice positions;
  • the Department is represented on the Board; and
  • the Department, as Regulator, has a stake in the Board working well in providing advice to the Minister.

All of the above indicate a broad set of Ministerially approved protocols are needed which formalise the relationship between the Department and Board.

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Role of the Board

A role of the Board that is consistent with the Commercial Passenger (Road) Transport Act and the ‘influencing factors’ identified above is outlined below.

The Role of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Board is to:

  • provide advice at the strategic level to the Minister on commercial passenger vehicle matters (other than motor omnibuses, tourist vehicles and special passenger vehicles) with that advice focused on:
  • positioning the industry for the future;
  • industry and consumer service policy; and
  • regulatory policy settings;
  • provide advice which is based on sound information and reasoned policy argument;
  • liaise with industry and consumers as necessary to remain informed on commercial passenger vehicle issues; and
  • act as a sounding board for the Minister and Department on policy options or proposals.

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Protocols Between Board and Department

Operating Protocols

The following operating protocols shall be observed in the relationship between the Department and the Board:

  • the Board recognises that the Department is the CPV industry Regulator and that the Board collectively, and individuals on the Board acting in their Board capacity, must not interfere in any way with the work of the Regulator, including offering public or private opinions outside the workings of the Board;
  • the Department recognises that it is legitimate for the Department to assist the Board assess CPV policy options which are not current CPV policy or which the Department, as Regulator, opposes;
  • the Board recognises that it is legitimate for the Department to provide its own view to the Minister on Board proposals, including advising against Board recommendations to the Minister;
  • the Department recognises the Board will require the research and analysis capability of the Department in order to develop policy advice options and recommendations and will provide such capability within Department resource limits; and
  • the Department will provide to the Board all industry and customer information it possesses which is a necessary input to the work of the Board.

Administrative Protocols

The following administrative protocols apply. The Department provides:

  • the Board Executive Officer; and
  • funding and administrative support which allows the effective functioning of the Board.

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Expectations and Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi

The following principles/practices shall govern the internal workings of the Board:

  • decisions are arrived at by consensus. However, that does not mean every Board member must agree in order for the Board to make a decision. Any Board member who wants their disagreement recorded on a Board decision or position is entitled to do so;
  • the Board will function in a collegeate atmosphere under the guidance of the Chairman;  and
  • Board confidentiality and external solidarity will be respected in order to be conducive to the free flow of information and frank exchange of views.

Role of All Board Members

All Board members are expected to:

  • actively participate in the business of the Board including being well prepared for meetings;
  • maintain external solidarity on Board decisions regardless of their personal view on a particular issue;
  • be forthright yet courteous in expressing their views; and
  • contribute their personal expertise to Board business.

Role of the Chairman

The role of Chairman, in addition to the expectations of all Board Members, is to:

  • provide leadership to the Board, including providing guidance to Board members as required;
  • chair Board meetings and settle Board agendas;
  • communicate with the Minister on Board matters;
  • speak publicly on behalf of the Board, in consultation with the Department and/or the Minister’s office,  as required;
  • undertake stakeholder liaison on behalf of the Board between Board meetings as required; and
  • be a point of reference for the Minister or Department on CPV matters between Board meetings. Unless there is time to canvass Board members generally, any position on CPV matters communicated to the Minister or Department shall have the status of ‘provided by Chairman CPV Board’ only.

Term of Board Charter

This Charter will continue in force until a replacement Charter is approved by the Minister.