NASP/DVSA Meeting Reports – October 1st/ October 2nd 2018
At the beginning of October the National Associations Strategic Partnership held meetings to discuss key industry developments and issues. The first meeting was the NASP committee one where we discussed items for the joint meeting the next day with DVSA. Various items were on the agenda in preparation for the next day including the following: Communications with DVSA, Part 2 and 3 waiting times, standards check updates, practical test updates, timing study update, trainee licences, examiner conduct on test and procedures for complaints against ADIs. Also discussed were the items from the DVSA on the agenda for the next meeting including: Mock test guidance, observer on test, ORDIT updates, ADI 1, Part 3 statistics, TARS stabilisation, MS90 convictions, disqualifications, timepoint 2 research and examiner services.
NASP/DVSA Meeting October 2nd.
The meeting was held at the DVSA Axis building in Nottingham. Outstanding action points were discussed which included GDPR. The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) are the lead department for GDPR and they have now issued guidelines therefore DVSA will not be issuing further ones for ADIs. However it was agreed that ADIs will need to be better signposted by the DVSA towards these guidelines for relevant information. NASP had previously replied to a request concerning views on a new DVSA accreditation scheme proposal however this has been delayed currently from the initial September date.
Procedures for Complaints:
The Counter-Fraud and Investigation Team are now involved in investigating any serious complaints against ADIs, usually concerning their conduct and are now holding an interview with the ADI. Trained investigators are used and it is an opportunity for ADIs to also give their side of the complaint against them, the procedure is fair and unbiased and the interview is recorded and then sent on to the Registrar to decide any further action. NASP were concerned that currently ADIs have not been told they could attend with a representative. It was agreed that ADIs need to know their rights, including the fact they can have an accompanying person at the interview as an observer. NASP members have attended some of these interviews as observers on behalf of their members so they now understand the system being used. It was also discussed that DVSA examiners who have serious allegations against them would be treated in the same way as an ADI and not have prior knowledge of the complaint against them in advance. Most interviews will result in a warning however they could also result in suspension or removal from the register. ADIs are always referred to the Code of Practice. More minor complaints could be given guidance at a local level. It was discussed that ADIs could decide not to attend the interview or comment at it however the Registrar will then only have one version of events on which to make a decision. DVSA will make it clear that people can have representation and suggest that they get help from their associations. Whilst the procedure will obviously cause some stress for ADIs involved, it is necessary for serious allegations and complaints to be investigated.
The DVSA expressed concern over the number of assaults on their staff. In 2017/18 there were 237 assaults on staff during Cat B tests, of which 17 were committed by ADIs and the remainder were made by the public or candidates. So far in 18/19 there have been 101 assaults of which 20 have been by ADIs. These figures now also include attacks on social media, including a threat to kill an examiner. It was felt that problems often arise from an old complaint that has been allowed to fester, and that ADIs should use the complaints procedure even though it was acknowledged that ADIs often don’t like to complain because of the fear of retribution. It was confirmed that complaints from ADIs have no bearing on the call for Standards Checks which are made by the Registrar’s office, not the examiners.
Driving Examiner Conduct:
A discussion took place concerning a number of complaints from NASP members on comments made by examiners on Standards Checks and Part 3 tests, particularly concerning full licence holders. The DVSA officers present were concerned to hear this as examiners are told not to give an opinion on who is being taken to the test, they should mark on what takes place and give feedback at the end. However it is the examiners role to make ADIs self-reflect on why they achieve the mark they do and not to undermine confidence. There are some workshops planned for the ADI examiner enforcement team, which will include a customer service element and it was also suggested that ADIs should use their local enforcement managers more.
These are convictions where there are no details given of the driver of the car. One example was an ADI who had failed to provide the details of a driver. They had appealed the decision to be removed from the Register, but in the meantime had gone to court and pleaded guilty, and been given a 7 day ban. This therefore precluded them from being on the Register. DVSA emphasised that ADIs must inform the Registrar of points, convictions or cautions, since they will be informed by DVLA. The Registrar is more likely to be sympathetic if an offence is declared. Advice for ADIs is not to take a short term ban as there is a requirement for anyone on the Register to have had no disqualifications in the last 4 years. ADIs have an obligation to inform the Registrar of any conviction or caution in writing within seven days.
Mock Test Guidance:
Guidance is currently being arranged for ADIs to better prepare candidates arriving for test by carrying out mock tests in line with how practical tests are conducted. DVSA stated that very few ADIs are going out on test, that some have never done so, and that it is now down to single figures after a peak when the new test came in. ADIs are also not always attending de-briefs at the end of the test. DVSA wants to encourage ADIs to sit in the back, and also attend de-briefs. NASP have asked if statistics are available for this. Whilst no research is available to show benefits of sitting in on a test, there are fewer complaints about a test when someone accompanies one.
The recent timing study has now been completed and is being analysed. Positive feedback had been received by DVSA, and ADIs had reacted much better to the situation than on the previous exercise due to having been more fully informed than previously, and introductions and explanations being made by those carrying out the study.
The practical test has settled well, with no issues arising from concerns highlighted before the start. DVSA consider that the pull up on the right exercise had resulted in increased awareness of risk, and there are now fewer faults being recorded on moving away safely. There had been an initial increase in faults on Show Me/Tell Me, but these have now decreased. NASP asked why the screen wash question had been removed and were told this was down to the number of questions. The new test was allowing more use of high risk roads where candidates are expected to make appropriate progress. NASP said there was some concern from members over the new later test time on Wednesdays, especially once the clocks have gone back with regards to candidates being able to read a number plate and park within lines. There will be flexibility not to do bay parks if light was insufficient to do it safely, and number plates had not been a problem when this time was used in the past. The change in times was to allow part time examiners to be included in training during the middle of the day as when this took place at the end of the day they frequently missed out.
The ADI Part 2 was now also taking place on higher risk roads, and some candidates were finding difficulty with the correct speeds on bends. The ADI Part 1 theory test is also being refreshed and reviewed to align with the National Standards as is the HPT to include more CGI clips on vulnerable road users and the development of visual media.
Communications with DVSA:
This was discussed after there had been much concern over incidents when NASP had been asked to provide comment on press releases with a short time period which had not allowed them to contribute. In past meetings NASP had felt that some of the press releases were unacceptable and caused damage to the profession via various media formats. DVSA spoke about 5 elements of communication: roles, approach, content, notice and join-up. They understand the need to be clear about their own approach but also have to take into account policy and political boundaries. In future where possible NASP will be given notice and points of criticism will be heard but DVSA is not always in control when items are sent out from the government. DVSA feel the communications department is now better established, with a nearly full complement of staff in the Press Office which will help the Agency to be more joined up and more effective on stakeholder engagement and better co-ordination. Where possible the Agency would try to give more notice to help NASPs constraints. NASP suggested they could help with topics that concern ADIs and that they want to hear about from DVSA. It was noted that DVSA were attending meetings, conferences and webinars to help improve relationships with ADIs.
DVSA consider that the feedback following the two workshops had been good and progress was being made to review and move forward to align with the National Standards. Training was taking place for 40+ ADI Examiners on the new scheme, no actual date has yet been set for the new style ORDIT announcement or when it will start. There are currently approximately 500 ORDIT trainers, and 170 establishments. There will be a fee structure change to make it simpler, with fewer options. Standards of the trainers on ORDIT will be higher and it is hoped that eventually the statistics would show that ORDIT trainers produced better results and consideration could then be given to it becoming mandatory. The new assessment sheet is currently at the printers.
All ORDIT trainers will need to be Grade A on inspection and as an ADI. There will be 17 competencies with scoring the same as for the standards check. The process is currently bi-annual, but in future will be every 4 years in line with the ADI badge. Trainers will still be able to role play, or take a PDI with a pupil. Different skill-based levels will include Role 6 of the National Standards. All ORDIT trainers will be inspected within large organisations, instead of 60% as currently.
Changes are being made to the ADI1 as a result of problems cause by a candidate bringing a small child to a standards check. Currently there is nothing in the ADI1 to cover this, so amendments are being made to exclude anyone under the age of 16. Guidance would be given to examiners to cover whether the pupil’s questions were answered satisfactorily, and actively encouraged, and whether the ADI/PDI was taking notice of the pupil’s body language. This will also apply to a driving test.
Part 2 and 3 Tests:
Time waiting for a Part 2 or 3 tests was discussed and member examples given. It was felt that the “Book to Hold” was working well and that candidates were getting replies from DVSA. However it was agreed that there needs to be more explanation on that facility and that it should be made clearer on the advice page that appears before the booking process. DVSA felt tests were available but may not always be immediately at the test centre the candidate preferred. There are now 65 examiners providing tests at 280 centres. The Registrar considers evidence of attempts to book tests when decisions are made about the issue of a second trainee licence. It was discussed whether the duration of the trainee licence gave sufficient time for someone to complete 3 Part 3 tests. DVSA consider that people should be adequately prepared for the first attempt and emphasised that a trainee licence was a licence to learn, not earn. Letters to PDIs state that 6 months should be long enough to prepare and if waiting times are long, this will be taken into account when considering a second licence.
We were given the top 5 reasons that PDIs have failed their Part 3 test which are:
This is very similar to the top 5 reasons why ADIs fail their standards checks which are:
The pass rate is similar to the old style Part 3 which was on average 33% previously and is now on average 36% and 5,000 Part 3 tests are being conducted a year. DVSA felt there had been positive changes in behaviour, with much more rounded instructors qualifying. The Part 2 pass rates were: 2016/17: 54.7% pass rate and in 2017/18: 54.3%. The latest statistics at the end of June 2018 are available on the gov.uk website.
There are 2,719 ADIs still on the old check test style grades and as there is now a dedicated team of examiners the DVSA had been able to do a lot to get through the backlog. The target date for these to be completed is April 2019 which will be 5 years from when the standards check was introduced. Now that most SCs are being booked by ADIs online the team is available if anyone needs help booking a Part 3 test. A standards check on demand has internal approval, but needs to go to legislation along with other fee changes, so it will not take place before 2021.
Motorcycle trainer standards checks have a pass rate of 76%. Currently 18 motor cycle training bodies were under review and 3 had been closed down. Reasons for closing down a training establishment could include improper training ratios, and carrying out CBT training on public roads.
There has been an increase in the number of trainee licence holders.
June 2017 1358
June 2018 2061
New applications have risen by 10% per annum, and more trainers are using the trainee licence scheme: this had previously run at 58% of trainers.
This stands for testing and registration system. It’s the DVSA application for all things online, including booking tests and instructor applications. It is an ongoing project and involves all tests. There will be an impact when it goes live in that there will be downtime, but the new system will look the same as currently. It is expected to change on 6th November. While the system is down DVSA won’t be able to take any telephone bookings, as they use the same system. The changes and downtime will be well publicised.
Timepoint 2 Research:
This is the research that had taken place on the new test. This will be published on gov.uk research page by the end of the year, after more analysis has been carried out. 17,000 responses have been received at the first timepoint, and 2,300 6 months after test. Over 80% of those who responded had felt that the test prepared them well for driving on Britain’s roads. However, there were comments about the lack of motorway and night driving lessons. Only 7.3% said they had taken any post-test training. Nearly 50% felt competent following a satnav and almost 90% had not had a crash, those that had were more likely to be in busy town centres and car parks.
DVSA stated there will be no change in how L tests are assessed, although the DL25 is being adapted to be accommodated on tablets. Tablets will not be used on test this year. NASP were asked to remind members that they cannot use tablets while the vehicle is moving or the engine is running.
Other Items discussed:
NASP members had attended a recent meeting with Bikeability who has a scheme to train ADIs to teach learners about how to better deal with cyclists. The meeting was discussed amongst the group.
Future NASP meetings:
It was agreed that this will be some time in February 2019, when DIA will be in the Chair.