Latest NASP and DVSA meeting
Report of the latest discussions and agency responses
NASP/DVSA meeting report highlights:
Report of joint meeting with DVSA held on 23 February 2023 at Berkeley House, Bristol
The quarterly meeting was attended by several senior members of DVSA and all the NASP associations, the following is a summary. The purpose of this meeting was for:
• DVSA to review and provide update on the previous action points
• DVSA to provide NASP with an update on driver recovery, driver policy, ADI registration, ADI examinations, Ready to Pass? campaign, PDI advertising and messaging, ORDIT update, Part 3 and entry level PDI, Pass Plus, LGV license evidence documentation.
DVSA confirmed that they will resolve the outstanding actions relating to the organisational chart and contacts list that NASP had previously requested and the proposed appointment of a relationship manager for NASP to work more closely with before the next meeting.
Previous action points: NASP have concerns on tribunal decisions taking a long time for their members, DVSA stated it was out of their control but one NASP association had an apology from the judge on the length of time taken for a decision. NASP will monitor this in the coming months.
Driving test recovery
• DVSA confirmed 695,000 extra tests have been created as result of measures taken by DVSA to reduce driving test waiting times.
• Measures introduced, Number of car practical driving slots created
o Recruiting new driving examiners, = 300,000 slots
o Conducting out of normal hours testing through overtime, including at weekends and on public holidays, = 190,000 slots
o Asking colleagues who are qualified to carry out driving tests, but do not do so as part of their normal duties, to do so, = 120,000 slots
o Converting any unsold motorcycle tests and vocational tests to car tests 7 days before the test appointment, = 58,000 tests
o Buying back annual leave from driving examiners, = 20,000 slots
o Inviting recently retired driving examiners to return to work, = 7,000 slots
• DVSA confirmed driving test recovery has been impacted by industrial action and the retention of driving examiners due to retirement and natural turnover.
• DVSA is considering using ‘driving test appointment availability data to provide better indication of waiting times. This will also help DVSA to identify the areas where more training is necessary and additional examiners are required.
• NASP conveyed their concerns that test waiting times would now not improve until late summer or beyond. A discussion followed on numbers of examiners due to retire and how the waiting times could possibly be improved including ADIs being able to swap tests that they have booked with other instructors without having to phone to do that as its time consuming. DVSA said they had not taken this into account and it would not be in the first realm of changes to the OBS, however may consider for the future.
• DVSA explained they are piloting a ‘flexible driving test service’ and how the driving test process might change in the future with the development in technology. Locations have been confirmed. Feedback will be provided as and when DVSA can share.
• DVSA confirmed the pilot will be carried out at different locations (non-testing locations e.g. community buildings or sports and retail centres) and will be evaluated.
• DVSA has issued a blog about the flexible driving test service trial on 9th February which gave more details about the work. Considering a flexible approach to providing driving tests – Despatch for driver and rider trainers (blog.gov.uk)
• NASP welcomed the agency’s approach to developing test centre delivery, to make it more agile and resource efficient. They raised a concern that the plan to ‘share’ facilities with lots of third party owned sites may give the agency less control of test facilities and could lead to churn of centres if the third-party owners of the sites decided to end the arrangement etc. DVSA stated they were mindful of this risk in the strategy and would be working to build relationships with the kind of partners where that wouldn’t be such a vulnerability. NASP asked for assurance that all new sites will have toilet facilities for their customers, DVSA agreed that would be part of the search criteria.
• DVSA explained that the driving examiner testing app will shortly include additional information about learners by using information and photographic evidence from the DVLA data system. Fraudulent pictures and learners will be identified by Driving Examiners.
• The feedback from examiners who have been trialling the new feature has been positive and this service will be rolled out to all examiners in the week of 13 February 2023. Further feedback will be presented to NASP over the coming months.
• DVSA explained the changes to OBS terms and conditions and asked NASP for theirs and their members feedback on the changes.
• NASP enquired again about long awaited results of the consultation. DVSA updated on the consultation and confirmed that the results will be published in the very near future. This will be discussed with NASP ahead of the results being published.
• DVSA gave an update on DBS/instructor application volumes and what links should be used to obtain the correct checks. NASP gave feedback on what would help direct them and their members to the correct place.
• DVSA gave an update on ORDIT and the work that has gone into updating this. It was discussed and there are further updates to come. NASP gave feedback on what they would like to see in the future and said the whole qualification process should be overhauled and an opportunity taken to improve standards.
• NASP have asked for clarification on how the training notes for ORDIT trainers can be discussed during an engagement call and if they are still actually viewed prior to the assessment on the ORDIT test day.
• DVSA updated on PDI advertising and what should and should not happen. NASP voiced their concerns with examples of replies to members from DVSA which were contradictory. DVSA will have another look at wording to make sure it is clear.
• NASP asked whether newly qualified ADIs came under the TIP triggers for their first SC. DVSA aim for a SC to take place within the first 12 months, but if TIP indicators give cause for concern they can be prioritised.
• DVSA updated on ADI examiner recruitment, Refer to section above on DVSA Updates.
• DVSA updated on the demand for part 2 and 3 tests and the impact this was having on standard checks, they are starting to look to retrain some examiners to help with the Parts 2 & 3 backlog.
Test Centre Open Days:
• DVSA explained test centre open days were put on hold due to industrial action but will start being held again.
• NASP asked whether there was a standard operating procedure to be used to make sure there is standard approach to inviting external organisations to attend the events. DVSA suggested creating a standard operating procedure to ensure the requirements for test centre open days are clear and that branding, messaging and educational focus is clear and consistent across all test centres.
• NASP suggested that DVSA should consider engaging with local communities via test centres in areas with higher fail rates and higher car related accidents and fatalities.
• DVSA to share test centre open day blog posts for ADIs with NASP to review.
Ready to Pass? campaign
• DVSA confirmed that the updated Ready to Pass campaign website went live at 1pm on 7th February.
• DVSA provided feedback on the webinar run by the Warwickshire Road Safety group and said it plans to develop a proposal for a DVSA run ‘ask the expert’ Q&A webinars for learners and their parents
• DVSA discussed with NASP about how to encourage more ADIs to offer mock tests and if adding it on the ‘find you nearest’ website or running mock test webinars would be beneficial. NASP consider that that mock test training should be part of the qualification process and included by trainers.
• NASP thanked DVSA for the clarification on what an observer sitting in the back of a test is allowed to do and that this did include being able to take notes. DVSA will produce a guidance message for ADIs and examiners.
• NASP raised concerns in relations to the CEO’s recent letter and blog posts to ADIs and how this had landed negatively with ADIs. NASP consider this was not the time to be sending out an email that appeared to be just celebrating DVSA successes. NASP gave feedback from their members on the remarks in the letter about bringing pupils who are ready for test.
• NASP asked for an update on Pass Plus. DVSA confirmed people are still doing it, but far fewer. It is on a to do list for revamp and the entire package will be reviewed.
• NASP asked for their previous queries on examiner uniformity and quality assurance to be looked into.
The date for the next meeting which will be held virtually via Teams was decided.