NASP met earlier this week with DVSA, at NASP’s request, to discuss the ongoing difficulties with the booking system for rescheduled tests. A number of issues were raised, which had been highlighted to the respective NASP associations by driver, rider and vocational trainers.

In summary, the following issues were raised and potential solutions/mitigants discussed:

• The Customer Service and trainer priority telephone line are almost impossible to get through to due to high call volumes, making it difficult for trainers to deal with issues with rescheduled tests.

• NASP has suggested DVSA allocates a specific email for rescheduled test issues only so these queries can be dealt with in a more timely manner. DVSA have agreed to take this away and look into it.

• Ways in which test capacity can be increased were discussed to allow more slots to become available at more centres – solutions here will however prevaricate around Examiner ability to increase capacity, weighing up the risk of increased exposure for Examiners and view of the Examiner unions on such. More information on how capacity may be achieved to follow when plans are further developed by DVSA and have the relevant approval

• DVSA have intimated more immediate capacity may be generated as the need for priority tests for specific types of driver and rider, required in the initial response to the COVID-19 crisis, lessens

• DVSA are working to reopen the overall booking system to new tests and re-tests as soon as possible but are working to ensure that every pupil with a postponed test has the opportunity to book a new slot before this happens

• Most test centres in England are operational now, Scotland will slowly reopen all centres, but delays may occur in areas where the building needs health & safety clearance to sure it is safe to open

• A firm date was requested for as to when the overall booking system will reopen to new bookings and when ADI assessments, such as Parts 2, 3 and Standards Check will resume. DVSA is awaiting clearance for a range of communications updating the industry on these timelines

• The issue of a lack of access to toilets at some test centres was raised and DVSA have promised to look into why access has been denied at these individual sites as the overall agency policy is to allow the use of the toilet facilities

NASP Advice for trainers and pupils booking rescheduled tests

Whilst NASP works with DVSA to understand how more capacity can be developed, we advise the following:

• As tests are moved, cancelled etc in the booking system every day, if you/your candidate are not already doing so, check the system every day to see which slots may have become available which are more workable for your pupil

• Although there are clearly genuine difficulties in obtaining test slots within what is deemed a reasonable time scale and travel distance in some areas, DVSA have indicated that there are a number of early morning slots which are not being utilised at many DTCs, and also test centres with capacity, which may admittedly be outside the usual travel distance deemed acceptable by trainer or pupil, but could still be viable options for pupils who wish to access tests soonest

• Consider early morning slots (in some area slots are available from as early as 7.30am). Pupils may not like such an early start but given a choice of a test on a date in the nearer future, or a longer wait for a slot at a more ‘civilised’ time of day (or drive to a test centre further away), this may be a choice worth making

• Consider if other tests centres other than the usual, favoured, centre are available. We are aware, and have given feedback to DVSA, that in some cases this could mean a less than reasonable trip of over 40 miles. However, in many regions there is capacity within a more reasonable 25-mile radius. Again, if the pupil has a choice between a longer wait for a test centre nearest them, or a longer drive to a centre which can give them a date sooner, they could consider travelling further afield for their test

• Clearly it is at the trainer’s discretion as to how the expense of taking a pupil to test at a location that is more distant than your usual test centre is recouped, but it is worth discussing with your pupil that there are extra costs to such a decision and that if the pupil wishes to travel further to achieve an earlier test date, they may be charged extra.

Contacts for DVSA:

Email: customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk
Tel: 0300 200 1122 Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.
For ADI/PDI related matters:
Email: padi@dvsa.gov.uk
Tel: 0300 200 1122, If on hold dial 25 for ADI Support
DBS Enquires: 0115 969 4600* (Option 2)

Please keep checking the NASP website www.n-a-s-p.co.uk , individual NASP member association websites, member emails and social media for updated information. This advice is for everyone when your government say it’s safe to work.
Please remember that ADINJC, DIA and MSA are the only Tier 1 consultative stakeholder of DVSA within the ADI industry and as such receive information and communications direct from the regulator to disseminate to members. It is wise to check the source and validity of any other information you see, particularly on social media, if it does not come from a professional body within the sector.