At the end of November, the National Associations Strategic Partnership held a series of meetings with DVSA to discuss key industry challenges and developments, as well having a specific focus on the ADI training and qualification process.
The meetings took place over two days, with day one fully centred on improving the training and qualification process for both trainers and trainees, and the second day a wider agenda focused on a range of issues and initiatives in driver training, testing and licencing.
ORDIT Focus Meeting - Monday 27th November
Following the agency’s own ORDIT events earlier this year, NASP organised a follow up meeting with DVSA to discuss how not only the ADI training and process could be developed and improved and how trainers could be re-engaged with ORDIT itself. The meeting was very much intended by NASP to be a brainstorming session to develop new ideas and approaches to revitalise ORDIT, develop the benefits and attractiveness to trainers and to look at whether the criteria was still fit for purpose and relevant. The key elements discussed were:
DVSA tabled a number of measures designed to strengthen the entry criteria, including trainer requirements, the inspection process and the requirements for training delivery and administration of trainees (including recording and monitoring their performance). Their proposals had been partly shaped by surveys and discussions with ORDIT trainers and NASP at two special ORDT events earlier in the year. NASP will consider the proposals and give combined feedback shortly and DVSA will then further consult with ORDIT trainers and trainees. It was noted that whilst NASP could see no issues with, and welcomed, many of the proposed developments DVSA tables, they felt a more widescale development of ORDIT was necessary to re-engage trainers in the process and the register – as well as to strengthen the quality of ADI training in general.
Suggestions made by NASP include developing CPD and training opportunities for ORDIT registrants as a benefit of membership, benchmarking information for performance development purposes and a range of other exclusive benefits for both trainees and trainers registered with ORDIT.
Quarterly Meeting with DVSA – Tuesday 28th November
After a NASP only session the evening before to agree a consensual approach on key industry issues, NASP met with DVSA the following day with a packed agenda focused across ADI and driver training, testing and licencing developments.
Summary of key topics discussed
Parts 2 and 3 Implementation
DVSA updated that the Statutory Instrument would clear Parliament on Friday 1 December, which would mean the change will come into force on 23rd December and the first tests will be conducted form the 27th December.
The agency also updated that a new dedicated ADI Enforcement Examiner team will be focused on the delivery of Part 3 assessments and Standards Checks.
It is the aspiration of the agency to have increased availability of Part 3 tests at a greater number of DTCs from early 2018. The changes to Part 2 will be implemented at the same time as Part 3.
Online Standards Check Bookings
Currently it is possible to book for a Part 2 or 3 test online, but not a Standards Check. A wider system which will allow booking of Standards Checks also is currently being trialled and should hopefully go live by early 2018.
More information on developments to the booking and administration process for ADI assessments will be shared in the New Year.
Theory Test Development
The Theory Test team joined the meeting to give an update on developments to the Theory Test. The current contract will end in 2020, which offers an opportunity to develop a future delivery model, making better use of existing and emerging technology to deliver a more meaningful and accessible to candidates and trainers.
A open discussion was also had about ways of better engaging learners and trainers in the Theory Test so it was seen as a more important goal in the training process and something pupils better prepared for and learnt from.
Research on how the theory test could be improved is its early stages, however DVSA agreed to network with NASP in the process and update the industry when appropriate as some of the ideas may be commercially sensitive.
Tablets and other technology in the testing process
Consideration is currently being given to the possible purchase of tablets for all examiners offering increased access to corporate systems. This will also facilitate a move away from paper-based systems, allowing for more efficient recording and sharing of data with the agency, pupils ands trainers, as well as saving significant cost. This will open up opportunities to improve post-test feedback in particular.
New Practical Test
The agency confirmed the new test will be going ahead on 4 December. In spite of the current industrial dispute over working time, DVSA is confident there will be limited disruption to the test. All candidates with tests booked for 4 and 5 December have been offered the opportunity to re-book. Contingency measures had been put in place to ensure that anyone whose test did not go ahead could be re-booked at short notice. Compensation would be given to anyone turning up for a test that did not go ahead due to an examiner on strike. NASP and its members welcomed the many DVSA blogs and the handbook each ADI had received in the run up to the test and suggested it was a good way to communicate with ADIs. NASP would like to see these continue if any further explanations are needed on any points that arise. NASP thanked DVSA for taking the opportunity to attend their meetings, conferences and webinars to further explain the test.
NASP gave feedback on some residual queries voiced by members regarding the change in manoeuvres, the Show Me, Tell Me and provisions for special needs pupils and these were discussed. DVSA explained the work they had done to make adequate provision for special needs pupils and the two independent risk assessments reports which, alongside the trial and wider consultation itself, advocated the changes.
Communications between NASP and DVSA will continue once the test is underway and we receive feedback from members.
Learners on Motorways
Anticipated that approval for deregulation could be achieved by June 2018, Government will legislate when Parliamentary time allows.
NASP is working closely with DVSA and DfT to prepare information and communications to both ADIs and pupils in readiness for the change.
DVSA are considering ways of being able to offer ADIs easier access to performance data such as fault analysis etc. This would help trainers more easily reflect and act on any areas of development. The agency also reminded NASP that if ADIs take their certificate out on test, DVSA will not provide them with management information data for those tests. However, those taking their badge out should be warned that this will not hide them from the Registrar, who can monitor test results by using the car registration alone to identify the ADI. If an ADI is bringing up a lot of people who are not test ready a letter will be sent to them, comparing them to the average, and the LDTM will call them in for a discussion.
The issue of ADI conduct was raised in the context of questions in parliament about the legality of relationships between trainers and their pupils. The agency is currently discussing this issue with the Ministry of Justice. The Registrar will shortly be publishing a blog on the subject, outlining the professional and regulatory guidance on these issues.
NASP asked for clarity on DVSA proposals to offer accreditation to third party organisations, products and services outlined in the Agency’s Five Year Plan. DVSA said that this is still being developed internally and hoped that by the end of the financial year proposals would be put to the DVSA board.
DTC Locations and Resourcing
NASP asked for an update on Test Centre resourcing and Examiner recruitment. The Agency feedback said that there was an ongoing recruitment campaign in line with demand forecasting. Whilst the merging of some sites may still occur for the purpose of resource efficiency, the agency is no longer exploring outside sites such as Halfords. There could possibly be more MPTCs. It was also fed back that they are trialling more pop-up TCs which are demand led and manned by new entrant examiners, using hotels etc.
Additional items discussed: