The eighth meeting of the National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was held in the DVSA HQ in Nottingham on 7th December 2016. A pre-meeting involving just the NASP members was held prior to the meeting with the DVSA. The meeting formally noted the resignation of DISC from the partnership.
Mark Magee opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.
DVSA noted that since the display of posters in test centres there had been a reduction in the number of problems arising around the use of in-car cameras. It was also confirmed that during the trial of the new test, examiners have been trialling a Juice Box, to enable the Sat Nav to work all day, hopefully, without the need to use the power socket in the vehicle presented for test.
260 new examiners have now started and there are 104 due to attend training, with the average training time now being 5 weeks. The national waiting time is now down to 8.1 weeks for L tests, with a few ‘hotspots’ having higher lists. It is projected that this will be down to 7 weeks by March. The Chief Executive has made waiting times a priority and has deployed all staff with warrants to carry out tests to bring the waiting time down. There was some concern from the industry about tests being cancelled at very short notice, DVSA have agreed to consider the circumstances on each of these cases. NASP were pleased to see that waiting times were coming down, though there remained hot-spots across the country.
Changes at DVSA
The Chief Driving Examiner no longer has line management responsibility for driving examiners, but for Policy across DVSA, including vehicle testing and enforcement, MOTs etc. Lesley’s Policy Directorate is responsible for ensuring that policy development supports front line staff. There is a frontline team responsible for the delivery of testing across the agency and there will shortly be 2 new Operations Directors appointed (North and South). A Head of Enforcement will also be confirmed. All issues relating to examiners should be directed to Correspondence North. Lesley and her team will however still wish to be made aware of any significant issues relating to examiners and/or testing.
ADI Part 3/ORDIT
DVSA gave a presentation on the results of the second survey of ORDIT trainers. They said there had been a good number of respondents, with an increase in awareness of the possibilities of future changes to the ADI qualifying process. Of the ORDIT trainers who have already made changes, these have been towards client centred learning. Some concern was still expressed about the provision of a ‘live’ learner, as it was felt this could be open to manipulation. There were also comments that more specific information was needed before changes could be made. There was considerable discussion around recording of evidence of training to ensure any new PDIs had proper training of the skills to be an ADI and be better prepared for the future including their Standards Check. The criteria for ORDIT registration in the future will focus more on instructional ability and better consumer information to improve the completion rate. It is hoped to start the new Part 3 test in October 2017 with at least six months’ notice to allow candidates and trainers time to adjust.
The Registrar said that earned recognition should probably be viewed separately from consumer information as it is a tool by which DVSA would better identify and target high risk instructors. DVSA said they wanted to understand what indicators NASP would consider for earned recognition. NASP said that they did not support the use of pass rates, so the idea of an alternative such as pass rate against the test centre average was discussed. NASP agreed to further consult with their respective members and compile a list of possible items that could be classed in the Earned Recognition Scheme.
Code of Practice
NASP circulated the latest draft of the industry voluntary CoP and asked for any comments, NASP stated it should be complete by the end of the year. DVSA said they were happy to support it and stated that when the Fraud & Integrity Team speak to ADIs they have received complaints against, they would in future give them a copy of the CoP and highlight where they Could improve.
Learners on Motorways
There will be a DfT consultation very soon regarding Learners on Motorways. DVSA made it clear that only ADIs in dual controlled vehicles will be allowed to accompany learners on motorways.
NASP submitted the latest draft of a leaflet giving advice to those training on motorways. Amongst the many helpful items contained in the guidance, it is noted that ADIs should be discouraged from using roof boxes on motorway lessons. The advice from manufacturers is that they can be used up to 70mph but it was thought to be inadvisable, it was also pointed out the magnets may not perform as well in hot weather.
DVSA noted there has been a change in the Secretary of State and that the proposals had not yet been discussed with him. The Consultation has been completed with 4,000 responses, the biggest ever. Final results of the test trials is due in March so far there was nothing to show any contra signs. Subject to the outcome of the research and Ministerial clearances, It was hoped to set an implementation date of September 2017, with a 6-month announcement for the change. NASP enquired as to whether there would be a bow wave of test applications, but it was felt the timing would put this into the new financial year so it would probably even out. Should the changes go ahead DVSA pointed out that 20% of tests will still be asked to follow road signs, with the rest using satnavs allowing test routes to be opened out to larger areas. NASP asked if the Show Me questions had been changed for the new test, DVSA stated only the same questions are being used as before. DVSA noted that if these changes are implemented, they would also be implemented on the Part 2 at the same time.
The matter of a self-booking system for the ADI Standards Check was discussed, it is hoped to know more detail January-March 2017.
It is hoped that the regulations required to bring into force The Driving Instructors (Registration) Act 2016 which provides for two deregulatory measures allowing ADIs to request voluntary removal from the register and simplifying the process for re-joining the register where a person’s registration has lapsed for between one and four years, will be introduced around October 2017.
It was agreed that the next NASP meeting with the DVSA would be at the start of June in Nottingham. The end of 2016 represents the end of the 6-month period of chairmanship for MSA GB. The ADI NJC will take over the chair for 6 months in January 2017.
Present at the meeting for NASP: Peter Harvey MSA GB in the Chair, John Lepine MSA GB, Lynne Barrie ADINJC, Chris Porter ADINJC, Carly Brookfield DIA and in attendance: Sue Duncan Minute Secretary.
For DVSA: Lesley Young, Chief Driving Examiner; Mark Magee, ADI Registrar; Neil Wilson, Deputy Chief Driving Examiner; John Sheridan, Product Manager Driver Training; Jacqui Upton; Customer Insight & Research.