DVSA to cut waiting times
Announcement on urgent action to improve long waits for driving tests
DVSA is creating 150,000 additional driving tests slots in order to cut waiting times for tests.
They are arranging for full-time staff with testing ability (currently working in other areas of the organisation) to return to frontline testing for the next 6 months.
Loveday Ryder, Chief Executive of the DVSA, will be answering questions on this and other issues at the ADINJC & Intelligent Instructor National Conference on the 8th October. You will be able to ask for more details and what it means for the industry and wating times going forward.
Don’t forget to book your FREE ticket here.
Cutting test waiting times
Beginning next week, personnel who hold a warrant card for driver testing will be back on the front line. The DVSA are asking those already trained colleagues to test full-time to tempararilly move back to examination roles over the next 6 months.
This will allow for the generation of an additional 150,000 driving test slots. These additional slots will be drip-fed into the booking system in fortnightly batches, starting from next Monday (4th October).
Whilst the release of such a large number of additional tests is good news, it will inevitably cause some disruption to other DVSA services. The agency says it will work to try and keep to a minimum.
The DVSA statement
How this development will impact Part 2, 3 and Standards Checks
- Part 2 and 3 tests will still go ahead
- Standards Checks will be vastly reduced so you may find your upcoming check cancelled
- However, those ADIs flagged to be the most risky (i.e those who present a concerning number of poor quality test candidates or who have failed previous checks) will still be prioritised for a check
- Your test performance data (TIP data) will still be recorded and evaluated during this period to determine which ADIs should be prioritised when Standards Checks fully resume in a few months time
Will third party booking engines and bots be able to scrape up the new tests?
Work is ongoing to limit the ability of bots and other third party booking services to grab large tranches of tests, and those efforts will be stepped up to limit such entities taking advantage of the additional tests going into the system. Drip feeding the tests into the system on a fortnightly basis will also help limit third parties grabbing a lot of tests at once.
Are these extra staff being drafted in fully trained and experienced in conducting driving tests?
All warrant cardholders have the necessary training and on-the-job knowledge to return to full time testing. Many warrant cardholders have been helping out with the delivery of tests since the agency resumed testing post-lockdown, so have kept their skills and knowledge current.
National average waiting times
The current national average waiting time for a driving test is 20.4 weeks
There are around 550,000 learners booked in and looking forward to their test.
Reasons for continuing waiting times issue
Waiting times are long due to:
- an increase in demand for driving tests
- sustained industrial action on civil service pay (Examiner industrial action)
- people’s concerns about not being able to book a test, which has led to a change in customers’ behaviour (i.e. customers booking tests much earlier in their learning to drive process)
Measures already taken by DVSA to reduce driving test waiting times:
- recruiting new driving examiners
- carrying out overtime, including at weekends and on public holidays
- asking local driving test managers to return to testing for 2 days a week
- increasing utilisation
- buying back leave from driving examiners
- inviting recently retired driving examiners to return to work
NASP (National Associations Strategic Patrnership) welcomes this news.
“With the national average waiting time for tests currently standing at 20 weeks, it is our view that the additional slots will have a significant impact on waiting times and will help alleviate pressure on DVSA, instructors and pupils alike. We will continue to meet regularly with DVSA to monitor the impact of these and other measure the agency is undertaking to combat test waiting times and we will keep members informed on progress.”
The AA Driving School has ‘warmly welcomed’ the announcement.
Camilla Benitz, AA Driving School Managing Director, said: “We have been calling for concerted action to target the backlog since 2021 and recently wrote to the Minister on this issue.”
Adding that “we hope DVSA can capitalise on this forward momentum”.