From the DVSA:


Prioritising standards checks

Dear colleague,

Recently we announced that we are changing the way we prioritise ADI standards checks. I understand that this has caused concern, confusion and some of you may have misunderstood our messages or intentions.

To help address some of your concerns and clear up any misunderstandings I want to share more information with you about what we are doing and why, and explain more about the intention of this work.

My role as registrar

The driving test is just one step in the learning to drive process and you play a vital role in properly preparing your pupils for a lifetime of safe driving. The test data we have (driver faults, serious faults, physical interventions and pass rate) shows that many of you are properly assessing when your pupils are ready to drive unaccompanied.

It is my role as ADI Registrar to make sure that everyone paying to learn to drive is being taught by instructors who are properly qualified to do so.  Registration as an ADI has for decades included the requirement that all ADIs undergo a periodic assessment of instructional ability, and this has not changed. The recent announcement is a change from the previous requirement where ADIs would be called at least once in your 4 year registration period. It has been felt for a long time both within DVSA and, we believe, amongst the ADI profession, that this is not an adequate way of assessing if an ADI needs a standards check.

Ultimately the process and outcome for those not meeting the standard remains the same as set out in the Road Traffic Act 2006 however I am committed to supporting all ADIs to meet the standard. I believe the new approach to prioritising standards checks and offering early engagement support will be of benefit to us all and to road safety.

Why bring this in now?

Because of COVID, we have done very few standards checks in the last 2 years. High quality instruction plays a crucial role in helping keep Britain’s roads safe and we need to urgently prioritise supporting those not meeting those standards.

Introducing a priority method for calling ADIs to standards checks will also make sure   we focus our resources on delivering the increased demand for part 2 and 3 tests.

There have been calls for the new approach to be run as a pilot for 6 months.

We need to continue to roll out this new approach because we need to use it to help us to urgently prioritise checks as we build back after the pandemic.

But we will of course monitor this and keep the data and the parameters under review and change them if necessary.

Supporting ADI development

The vast majority of ADIs are fantastic, talented instructors that help send well-prepared drivers out into the world. However, we know that a small number of ADIs could still improve.

The standards checks are meant to be a collaborative process of feedback between DVSA and instructors. The new one-to-one engagement calls aim to support ADI development, raise standards and ensure all pupils are getting the best tuition possible.

Feedback from those being called for standards checks will be important in helping us continuously develop and improve the service. Those who have taken advantage of the pre-engagement call we are now offering 8 weeks ahead of your check have been overwhelmingly positive in their feedback about the calls.

Using test data to prioritise standards checks

I know some of you have expressed concerns that the use of test data to prioritise standards checks is only focussed on the outcome of the test.

I want to reassure you that this is not the case. The data we will be using to prioritise standards checks is taken from your pupil’s test results. This is not just the pass or fail result but includes other information such as the number of driving, serious and examiner intervention faults committed by pupils on their driving test.

We will be using data from a 12 month rolling period and while I recognise that the last 12 months is not typical by any means, this is the case for everyone

We have all been affected by national and local COVID lockdowns and restrictions.   Now restrictions have lifted and life is returning to normal the data will represent a more typical year for most of you.
I know many of you have raised questions and concerns about our new approach and want to better understand the data we are using and the parameters to help prioritise standards checks My colleague, Laura Great-Rex, DVSA’s Head of Enforcement Relationship Management, has written a blog [link] which includes a video to help explain what data we are using and how. We have also updated the guidance on GOV.UK to help answer some of your questions.

Special needs concerns

We do recognise that many of you teach pupils who have educational needs and physical disabilities. We also know there are pupils who do not take to driving naturally or are especially anxious.  While you will deploy different and varied skills for every pupil, the test itself is assessed to the same standards for everyone.

As an instructor, you must be satisfied that all your pupils can drive safely and on their own before presenting them for test.  I would emphasise the importance of you or your pupil letting us know about any special requirements they may have booking tests to allow us to provide reasonable adjustments for your pupils.

Displaying ADI badge (certificate)

Currently there is no legal requirement to display your ADI certificate for test, However, for this system to work properly and support those ADIs who need it most I encourage all ADIs to proudly display your certificate with every pupil you present for test.

I do recognise that you are likely to be put under pressure from pupils, or their parents, to let them take their test before they are ready, especially as driving test waiting times are currently so high as a result of the pandemic.

Professional instructors are best placed to assess if their pupils are ready to take the driving test. DVSA will continue to support ADIs who do this, even if learners complain to us because their ADI will not present them for test.

I want to highlight that we are also using the data to identity exemplar ADIs who typically present well prepared pupils and whose statistics place them well above the average.  We are offering these ADIs an engagement call to congratulate them on their high standards.

If ADIs consistently or strategically remove their ADI certificate, we will not be able to identify them as high-performing, and while ADIs with no, or limited, data will still be offered an engagement call, there will be no opportunity to discuss performance in detail.  So, I would encourage you to display your certificate for every test you present your pupil for and trust your professional judgement not to present those who are not ready to drive independently.

In conclusion

I hope my letter to you has helped address some of the questions and concerns you initially had about our new approach to prioritising standards checks.

I encourage you to read Laura’s blog, watch the video and take advantage of the engagement call on offer if you are called for a check. I also encourage you to display your certificate for every test and work together with me and everyone at DVSA to help make Britain’s roads safe for all by ensuring the high quality standard of instruction the majority of you already provide is the universal quality standard of instruction.

Jacqui Turland
ADI Registrar of Approved Driving Instructors

In case you didn’t notice, you can also comment directly to DVSA at the end of the blog/news on the GOV.UK website.