The following is a summary of the quarterly meeting between the National Associations Strategic Partnership and DVSA which took place in February.
Key Points of Discussion
1. Highway Code changes
• NASP communicated the frustration and concern of the industry due to the seemingly last minute issuance of communications surrounding changes to the Highway Code and feedback that there was still confusion around certain areas – specifically priorities around roundabouts, traffic lights and junctions
• NASP suggested FAQs would help, DVSA agreed and both will work to provide to the industry as soon as possible • A THINK! Campaign has now been launched and the DVSA has no further plans to communicate unless on specific points, although they could do another blog if it were felt useful. Links to the updated highway code on Gov.uk have been provided
2. Test Centre closures
• DVSA confirmed the 8 centres earmarked for closure would close in April.
• No tests will be cancelled, they will all be moved to nearby test centres. • Communications have gone out, and local meetings held. • No others are currently planned for closure. DVSA confirmed that they do keep their estate under constant review.
3. Standard Operating Procedures for Driving Tests, Standards Checks, Parts 2 & 3
• DVSA said these are being reviewed with a view to relaxing restrictions, though these can’t be disclosed by DVSA currently as awaiting clearance.
• NASP asked if the changes would include reverting back to normal timing of tests and ADIs being able to sit in the back. DVSA will issue further guidance on this shortly
4. ATB closures – rider removals
• NASP asked for clarification on rider trainer removals and ATB closures to be able to best advise members facing such issues
• DVSA pointed to information on Fit & Proper is on GOV.UK, and in ATB manual. • DVSA reiterated individuals are required to inform DVSA if points or convictions received, and should write to CBT section at Nottingham.
5. Driving Examiner recruitment & training
• This is ongoing, currently 168 have qualified and are now in test centres.
• Training is ongoing, they are now doing 2 courses per month to get more through. • Discussions are ongoing about a further campaign, yet to be finalised, but hope to launch at the end of month with a view to get more examiners in during next 12 months on a two year contract.
6. Examiner Standards & Performance
• NASP asked how are DEs monitored and what performance metrics and management is applied to Examiners.
• DVSA responded that test data is constantly analysed and reviewed to ensure consistency in performance and to allow any issues to be addressed • NASP requested that they be given an overview of Examiner and test centre performance in future meetings, given the overall focus of the agency on the use of performance metrics to help identify issues and to help raise standards in driver training and testing
7. Comms with stakeholders
NASP asked for an updated key contacts list and organogram due to movements in personnel over last few months, DVSA are finding the best way to supply this information.
8. DVSA latest consultation on driving test provision
• 9,500 responses have been received so far, information received would be analysed and shared after 8 March (https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/VDEQJB/) link for consultation
• NASP fed in they were currently conducting a survey with ADIs asking what they think of use of metrics and further performance management and the possibility of information sharing with the public in future. (same as above, should we add link to our survey) • NASP also asked for clarification on the mention of the potential use of performance ‘bands’ in the Driving Test consultation. DVSA said this was just a suggestion of what the public may like to see to enable them to make more informed choices of trainers • NASP proposed a separate meeting to discuss the use of performance data and look at the both the results of DVSA’s consultation and NASP’s survey
9. Performance Management
• NASP asked for an update on TIP and asked how it was bedding in.
• DVSA feedback on progress and adjustments they were making to produce better data. • NASP feedback concerns from the industry on the accuracy of individual trainer data as well as echoing ongoing concerns with the overall approach and timing of its implementation • The agency commented that are some outstanding ADI performances and they are also making engagement calls to high performing ADIs to give them positive feedback. • DVSA reinforced their key message that the TIP enables prioritisation of ADIs needing the most help and it is not about trying to remove people’s livelihood. The agency said there had been positive feedback from ADIs getting an engagement call. • NASP asked if the SC will remain at 45 mins duration and the agency confirmed it has no intention to change it as there had been no detriment to the pass rate. • NASP asked about a possible increase of driver faults because of the changes to the Highway Code and whether it would count towards prioritisation. DVSA stated they did not anticipate an increase in driver errors. • A further meeting was suggested to discuss outstanding concerns, review NASP’s survey results and agree to any further communications that might be needed.
10. Support for candidates with special needs
NASP have positive feedback on the publication of a pack for deaf candidates and asked whether there was any progress on a meeting to update NASP on support for other special needs candidates.
11. ADI qualification process
• NASP asked whether there were any plans to develop and modernise the ADI qualification process, DVSA said it was a longer term strategic goal but not in their short term plans
• NASP argued that updating and modernising the qualification would be a good way of helping to raise standards of both trainers and pupils
12. ORDIT update
• NASP asked if there were any plans to develop ORDIT as part of a drive to increase trainer standards, i.e. by improving the quality of ADI training. DVSA feedback it was an area they wanted to develop and would be discussing future plans with the industry at some point
• NASP asked whether checks for ORDIT trainers have started and if there was a backlog. Due to the Examiner shortage and COVID recovery the agency stated this was progressing slower than they would like. They are currently working on re-registrations.
13. Complaints against ADIs
• NASP asked if there was any change to the procedure, DVSA said the process is the same.
• NASP also raised concerns about the lack of access for ADIs to information about non contractual complaints that might be held on file about them, DVSA explained the process and procedures which governs complaints but stated they would open to suggestions of best practice from other regulated professions
14. Driving Test DataNASP asked for updated statistics on driving tests, DVSA to supply.