NASP have received a reply from Baroness Vere with an apology to all instructors who may have been aggrieved with her pass rate comments, read the full reply here. In our reply to the Baroness, we also asked for clarification on where the evidence was for the comments on hazard perception testing improving driver ability, the DVSA have given these references:

This was a reference to previous research into HPT which had concluded higher performance on video hazard perception test is associated with lower crash risk in GB and in Australia.

The two sources are –
Wells, P., Tong, S., Sexton, B., Grayson, G. & Jones, E. (2008).  Cohort II: a study of learner and new drivers. Volume 1: main report. Road Safety Research Report No. 81. London: Department for Transport (DfT).
and
Boufous, S., Ivers, R., Senserrick, T. and Stevenson, M. (2011). Attempts at the practical on-road driving test and the hazard perception test and the risk of traffic crashes in young drivers. Traffic Injury Prevention, 12(5), 475-482.

Some good news from the Chancellor on Bounce Back Loans.

Bounce back loan borrowers can delay repayments by extra six months

• Bounce Back Loan borrowers will now have the option to tailor payments according to their individual circumstances
• Chancellor makes support even more generous with the option to delay all repayments for a further six months
• Pay as You Grow will be available to over 1.4 million businesses, which collectively took out nearly £45 billion through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Chancellor’s Pay as You Grow repayment flexibilities now include the option to delay all repayments for a further six months, meaning businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out. The option to pause repayments will now be available to all from their first repayment, rather than after six repayments have been made.

Pay as You Grow will also enable borrowers to extend the length of their loans from six to ten years (reducing monthly repayments by almost half) and make interest-only payments for six months, in order to tailor their repayment schedule to suit their individual circumstances.

Full details here.

NASP/DVSA update on theory test provision

NASP asked if we could expand on information available on the location off the new theory test centres.

To recap, currently the theory test service in Great Britain is delivered by one company – Pearson Vue. This is all inclusive of the physical centres, staffing, IT systems, online booking, customer service etc

DVSA confirmed the contract for the provision of the theory test will, as from September 21, be taken back under the control of DVSA on its own platform and only the physical delivery will be undertaken by the new providers.

The new providers will be split into three areas as below:
Region A – Reed in Partnership Ltd Covering: Scotland, Northern Ireland, North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber
Region B – Pearson Vue Covering: Wales, West Midlands, South West and South East
Region C – Reed in Partnership Ltd Covering: East Midlands, East of England and London.

It is likely that in Regions A & C the physical location of test centres will change, and previously booked candidates will be informed in ample time of their new venue, Region B is less likely to be affected. The content and marking of the test will not change. In future DVSA will have control of the IT system and can make changes more easily, noting it currently takes around 6 months. Contracts run for 5 years.

NASP asked if it would be possible to nominate new areas where centres could be located?

DVSA stated that would not be possible. “Under the new contracts every citizen (100%) must be able to access a Theory Test Centre within 40 miles or 40 minutes, this is a slight improvement on the current contract which specifies 97%.  Sites are carefully selected using detailed population mapping software and of course contractor premises.“

NASP asked if the distance to travel would be affected for candidates?

DVSA stated that the current criteria would stay the same, which is that all candidates should not have to travel more than 40 miles or up to 40 minutes to reach the theory test centre. Candidates won’t notice any difference other than change of local venue,

NASP asked if DVSA were considering moving the test online, especially in the current climate of lockdown? Below is DVSA’s response:

This was considered early in the Future Theory Test Service project and was explored at length.  There are two issues – fraud (obviously) and connectivity.  Lets deal with fraud first, in 2019/20 there were 848 reports of impersonation and 319 technology assisted fraud.  It remains a key concern.

The second issue is the size and quality of the Hazard Perception Test.  The candidate needs a good, strong, internet connection for the videos to play smoothly via a live stream.  We need a consistent standard of service delivery, for all candidates, across GB regardless of rural or urban connections.  The HPT must run smoothly, with no buffering or quality issues.

This is being considered for the future, however, security is still a major concern and broadband is not yet consistently available all over the country, so if it were possible in the future, they would have to consider fixed premises as well as online.

DVSA extend test rescheduling limit

DVSA have announced a candidate can reschedule their practical test up to six times, this was extended to eight during the Covid response.  The system does not differentiate between candidate or DVSA rebooking’s, they all count towards the eight reschedule limit.  There will be a significant number of candidates who will be reaching this limit and would then be unable to move their test.  In order to address this the limit will be increased to 10 from the 12th February.  Any affected candidate will be able to log in and change their test slot on 12th February.

Examiner recruitment

The DVSA have released information on increasing their examiner numbers to help reduce the waiting lists created due to lockdowns, if you are considering applying, the last date is 1st March 2021.v