Simon Andrew Driving Tuition Learning On The Go

Its all about the firewalls

Third party booking sites
NASP complained about the use of third party booking sites that appeared to be able to find and book tests before instructors and the general public. This is putting an unnecessary strain on instructors and causing many candidates to accept a test with no consultation with their instructor and consequently attempting the test in their own car with very little professional training. NASP urged DVSA to implement measures to stop this happening.
DVSA is aware of this and discussions were ongoing with DVSA’s firewall supplier to introduce new rules to challenge these sites, and stated that there is a gradual reduction in the level of searches people can make without impacting normal bookings. Companies are constantly finding ways round any blocks we implement to get tests. DVSA also pointed out that some instructors may be misusing and if that was found to be true, the Registrar could take some action. NASP requested that DVSA issue communications to explain the situation to instructors.

Who are NASP?
The National Associations Strategic Partnership is a representative body focused on promoting the interests of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs). It is formed of representatives of the three main membership associations for driver trainers in the UK. Our aim is to protect and promote the interests of professional drivers trainers and help support the profession in its goals to improve driving standards and road safety in the UK.

Increasing the number of driving tests appointments

dvsa-logo-digital_crop
Increasing the number of driving tests appointments
To help tackle the waiting list for driving tests we have been working on a number of ways to increase the amount of driving test appointments available.
We wanted to update you on the things we have been working on:
Returning to 7 tests a day
From Monday 14 June 2021 we will be increasing the number of tests our examiners in England, Scotland and Wales carry out each day to 7 – this is the number carried out before the pandemic.
This change will allow us to increase capacity across the national network by an average of 15,000 to 20,000 tests per month.
We are doing this because our driving examiners are now used to carrying out additional COVID-19 safety measures, so we can now carry out 7 driving tests each day with little risk of over-running.
This means we can keep these safety measures in place to protect learner drivers and examiners whilst safely increasing the number of tests per day.
We will be increasing the number of tests by adding an additional test at the end of the working day so tests currently booked will not be affected.
We’ll also be able to start offering early morning and evening tests.
When will the new appointments be available to book?
We will start gradually adding new appointments on to the booking system on a daily basis from 9 June.
You or your pupils can check for new appointments at your local test centres on the book a driving test or the change your driving test services.
Alternatively if you are registered to use the book and manage driving tests for your pupils service you can use this to check for new appointments in your area.
We recently contacted candidates with a booking on hold to let them know that they needed to choose a test appointment date by 31 August or their booking will be cancelled.
We will be writing to them again to let them know that as we are returning to 7 tests a day, additional test appointments will be added to the booking service so more tests will be available to choose from.
Circumstances when pupils cannot take a driving test
Your pupils will not be able to take their driving test if they meet any of the following criteria:

they have any coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, fever, new continuous cough, a change or loss of smell or taste from normal).
  • they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the last 14 days.
  • they are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or have had a positive test in the last 7 days.
  • they have visited a school, college or other building that has been closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the last 7 days.
  • they live with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or had symptoms of COVID–19 in the last 14 days.
  • Areas where the new variant is spreading
    In locations where there is an enhanced Covid response in place, we will write to candidates before their test to make them aware of this.
    Our driving examiners will also ask all candidates these questions before taking them out on test. If they answer yes to any of the above criteria their test will be cancelled and they will be asked to reschedule.
    To do this they can email us at customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk and we can help them look for the earliest possible appointment once they have finished self-isolating.
    The importance of your pupils being ready for their test
    It’s important that your pupils take their test only when both you and your pupil are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.
    Reintroducing short term cancellations
    We are also reintroducing the 3 working day short notice cancellation period for practical car tests. This was temporarily suspended when we restarted testing in July 2020 following the first lockdown.
    All tests taking place from Thursday 17 June 2021 will be subject to the 3 working day short notice cancellation period.
    We will be writing to all candidates with tests taking place from 17 June to let them know of this change.
    If you or your pupil need to cancel a test within the 3 working day period as a result of a positive COVID-19 test result or having to self-isolate you will need to email us at customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk
    Please put - COVID SHORT NOTICE CANCELLATION - in the subject of the email and we will look to reschedule the test for the earliest possible appointment.
    To do this email us at customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk and we can help look for the earliest possible appointment once they have finished self-isolating.
    You or your pupil may be asked to provide evidence when cancelling at short notice.
    If your pupil cancels their test within the 3 working day period or fails to turn up to their test they will lose their test fee.
    Potential contract for driving examiner recruitment
    Another aspect of our ongoing work to reduce waiting times is recruiting additional driving examiners. We had a positive response to our recruitment campaign, but there are some areas of the country where we still need to recruit more examiners, including the South East.
    To support this we are exploring options to temporarily contract in experienced driving assessors to qualify as driving examiners and will run a further recruitment campaign in the weeks ahead. 
    More information
    Check GOV.UK for the latest about:

    Update on theory test certificates

    page1image54009776 page1image64592448 page1image64591488
    Update on theory test certificates
    The government has further considered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the validity period of theory test certificates.
    After careful consideration and in response to a recent petition the government has decided not to extend theory test certificates for road safety reasons.
    We understand this will be disappointing for some of your pupils, but it’s essential that they have the most up-to- date road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills at the critical point that they drive on their own for the first time.
    The way we are managing test bookings is affected by COVID-19 restrictions
    If your pupil’s practical driving test has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will reschedule it for the next available test appointment at their chosen test centre.
    If no test appointments are available at their chosen test centre before their theory test certificate expires, their practical test booking will be put on hold.
    Pupils with tests booked whose theory test certificate has expired
    If your pupil’s driving test is suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions, and their theory test certificate has expired or expires, we will cancel and refund the cost of their practical test.
    Your pupil will then need to rebook and pass their theory test before they can sit a practical test.
    Your pupil must have a valid theory test certificate before they can book their practical test, and on the day they take it.
    If you have booked any tests on behalf of your pupils who have been affected by this you need to let them know what will happen next.
    If your pupil’s theory test expires before the next available practical test date
    If your pupil’s theory test certificate has been put on hold because it is due to expire, they can either:
    cancel their booking and get a full refund look on the booking system for a cancellation at their original test centre or book an available test appointment at a different test centre on a date before their theory test expires – in line with any current travel restrictions
    If you or your pupil book a test at an alternative site you
    will need to check the relevant travel restrictions leading up to the appointment date to make sure they are able to travel in to the area.
    If your pupil does not rebook or cancel their practical test before their theory test certificate expires, their practical test booking with be cancelled and refunded.
    Your pupils can book a new theory test up to 6 months before their current theory test certificate expires, or at any time after it has expired.
    If you have booked any tests on behalf of your pupils who have been affected by this you need to let them know and discuss their options with them.
    If your pupil wants to request a refund
    You pupils can request a refund for the cost of their practical test through the online cancellation service at https://www.gov.uk/cancel-driving-test
    They need to include their name and 2 of the following identifiers in their email:
    their driving licence number their theory test pass certificate number their driving test booking reference.

    Driving tests in England cancelled up to 8 March

    DVSA has cancelled all practical and theory tests in England up to and including 8 March.
    This follows the government’s roadmap announcement which set out that driving tests and theory tests in England will restart no earlier than 12 April 2021.
    DVSA says it is working closely with the government and the driver and rider training industry to confirm restart plans. It will provide more information as soon as possible on motorcycle, vocational and other tests, lessons and training.
    The agency will email candidates affected by test cancellations with a new date and time for their test. If it’s not suitable, they can change it at www.gov.uk/change-driving-test.

    If you booked a test for any of your pupils, you’ll receive the email to let you know it has
    been rescheduled. You’ll need to give your pupil the new details.
    DVSA’s update comes after AA announced yesterday that it had been in touch with the agency and been told: “It is confirmed that driving lessons can commence from 12 April and driving tests seven days later, subject to there being no slippages in the government’s planned dates.”
    DVSA told us today that no such plans have been confirmed with anyone. However, first tier stakeholders (which the AA is not) such as DIA will be appraised early next week of the full plans for restarting testing and training. We understand that the AA will be publishing a retraction of the statements it made.

    Continuing national lockdown in England


    The government has published its roadmap of 4 steps out of the current lockdown in England.
    In its roadmap the Government set out that driving tests and theory tests in England will restart (as part of step 2) no earlier than 12 April 2021.
    DVSA is working closely with the government and will provide more information as soon as we are able to do so on motorcycle, vocational and other tests, lessons and training.
    Driver, rider and vocational tests booked up to 8 March
    To give us the time we need to work with government and the driver and rider training industry to confirm restart plans, we’re rescheduling all driving, riding and vocational tests booked between 25 February and up to and including 8 March.
    We'll email the candidates affected by this with a new date and time for their test. If it’s not suitable, they can change it at www.gov.uk/change-driving-test.
    page1image64950016 page1image64950208 page1image64950400
    Motorcycle and vocational tests booked by trainers will be cancelled and refunded as usual.
    If you booked a test for any of your pupils, you’ll receive the email to let you know it has been rescheduled. You’ll need to give your pupil the new details.
    In the meantime, the mobile emergency worker service for driving tests will still be available. You can still teach any of your pupils with one of these tests booked.
    We thank you for your patience as we finalise more detailed plans for the safe resumption of training and testing in England.
    Theory Tests booked up to 8 March
    We will also email anyone with a theory test booked between 25 February and up to and including 8 March and ask them to reschedule their test at www.gov.uk/change-theory-test.
    If you booked your pupil’s theory test, you’ll need to rearrange it for them at www.gov.uk/book-pupil-theory- test.
    In the meantime, the mobile emergency worker service for theory tests will still be available.
    Driver and rider lessons and CBT
    Driver and rider lessons, must not take place until the restrictions are lifted. This includes CBTs, training for ADI part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks.
    page2image64987392 page2image64987584 page2image64987776 page2image64987968
    We are working with government to understand when lessons and CBT can restart, we will provide more information as soon as we are able to.
    Driver and rider lessons for your pupils with a confirmed mobile emergency worker test booking can continue.
    Scotland and Wales
    We’re working with the Scottish Government and Welsh Government, who are setting out similar plans to the UK government. We’ll keep you updated as these develop.

    Roadmap out of lockdown signals return to testing and training from early April


    A roadmap out of lockdown in England has been announced this evening by the prime minister, with close contact services (such as driver and rider training) expected to resume from 12th April.

    The overall lockdown 'exit' plan is divided into four stages with the promise that, after the first stage in March, further lifting of the rules will happen if certain conditions are met (i.e. if the vaccine rollout is going to plan).

    We are awaiting clarification from DVSA as to their specific plans for resuming testing services, more news on this expected some time tomorrow.

    The details of today's announcement from the PM can be found on GOV.UK 'Covid Response - Spring 2021', with specific reference to driver testing on page 34, item 110:

    110. Additional premises will be able to reopen but should only be visited alone or with household groups: non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, salons and close contact services; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3). Overnight stays away from home in this country will be permitted and self-contained accommodation - those that do not require shared use of bathing, entry/exit, catering or sleeping facilities - can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household. The Government will open public buildings such as libraries and community centres.
    Activities such as driving tests may also resume.

    Increasing the number of car driving tests


    The suspension of testing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to exceptionally high demand for driving tests.
    Test availability
    The measures we put in place to protect our customers and staff from COVID-19 have limited the number of available tests.
    This includes reducing the number of tests our examiners carry out per day.
    To help increase the number of available tests, DVSA is already:
    offering more tests outside of normal working hours, including weekend and bank holidays. ensuring all DVSA staff who are qualified to perform driving tests are doing so, such as senior managers and policy staff.
    But this alone will not reduce the backlog as quickly as we want.
    Recruiting more examiners
    Today (Wednesday 10 February) DVSA is launching a national recruitment campaign for new driving examiners.
    There are posts based in England, Scotland and Wales.
    The closing date for applications is Monday 1 March 2021 at midnight.
    Find out more about the role and how to apply on civil service jobs.
    DVSA plan to reduce waiting times
    The recruitment of new examiners is one of the actions DVSA will take to reduce the backlog caused by the pandemic.
    We will also consult and work with the driver and rider training associations on our proposed plan to reduce waiting times. We will then share our plan with you as soon as we can, as we’d like your thoughts and feedback on our proposals. This will also be an opportunity for you to share any of your ideas with us.
    As professional driver and rider trainers you play a vital role and your views are really important to us.
    How to reduce waiting times
    We also need support from you, your pupils and our examiners to help us reduce driving test waiting times.
    page2image34816768
    Driving tests will continue to be in high demand as a
    result of the pandemic and the suspension of testing. It will take time to get our services back to normal. We thank you and your pupils for your understanding, support and patience.
    We have re-arranged tests for all candidates who have been affected by the current restrictions to the first available date. If the new time and date is not suitable, you can change the test time and date at: https://www.gov.uk/change-driving-test
    It is vital that your pupils are test-ready when rearranging their tests, as tests could be at short notice.
    On average, fewer than 50% of learners pass their driving test and there could be long waiting times for a retest – your pupils should take their test only when they are confident they can pass.

    Continuing national lockdown in England


    Further to guidance from government we are cancelling practical and theory tests in England up to and including 24 February 2021.
    Mobile emergency worker service tests booked will take place as arranged.
    You should continue to follow Government guidance to stay at home except for essential reasons.
    You can read more about the lockdown measures on
    GOV.UK
    Driving lessons
    Driving lessons, must not take place until the restrictions are lifted. This includes training for ADI part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks.
    Driving lessons for your pupils with a confirmed mobile emergency worker test booking can continue.
    Driving tests
    All driving tests are suspended in England while the restrictions are in place. This includes ADI part 2 and 3 restrictions are in place. This includes ADI part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks.
    This does not include mobile emergency worker service tests booked which will take place as arranged.
    We'll email candidates affected by this to let them know we will reschedule their test.
    If you have booked a test for any of your pupils, you will receive an email to let you know it will be rescheduled to a new time and date. You will need to contact your pupil to let them know.
    We’ll send you an email with the new time and date as soon as possible; please ask your pupils to be patient.
    If the new time and date is not suitable for you or your pupil, you can choose a different time and date on GOV.UK. You will need your pupil’s driving licence number to do this. Your pupil does not need to pay again to do this.
    Theory test
    All theory tests will be suspended until the restrictions are lifted.
    We will email anyone who has booked a test and is affected by this to let them know their theory test is on hold and that they will need to reschedule it by visiting https://www.gov.uk/change-theory-test.
    If you booked your pupil’s theory test you will need to log into the booking system and rearrange their test for a new date and time.
    This does not include mobile emergency worker service theory tests booked which will take place as arranged.

    Continuing national lockdown in England

    As a result of the national lockdown in England you should continue to follow Government guidance to stay at home except for essential reasons.
    These restrictions in England will remain in place until at least the date of the next review on Monday 15 February 2021.
    You can read more about the lockdown measures on
    GOV.UK
    Driving lessons
    Driving lessons, must not take place until the restrictions are lifted. This includes ADI part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks.
    Driving tests
    All driving tests are suspended in England while the restrictions are in place. This includes ADI part 2 and 3 tests and standards checks.
    We'll email candidates affected by this to let them know we will reschedule their test.
    If you have booked a test for any of your
    pupils, you will receive an email to let you know it will be rescheduled to a new time and date. You will need to contact your pupil to let them know.
    We’ll send you an email with the new time and date as soon as possible; please ask your pupils to be patient.
    If the new time and date is not suitable for you or your pupil, you can choose a different time and date on GOV.UK. You will need your pupil’s driving licence number to do this. Your pupil does not need to pay again to do this.
    Theory test
    All theory tests will be suspended until the restrictions are lifted.
    We will email anyone who has booked a test and is affected by this to let them know their theory test is on hold and that they will need to reschedule it by visiting
    https://www.gov.uk/change-theory-test.
    If you booked your pupil’s theory test you will need to log into the booking system and rearrange their test for a new date and time.
    More information
    You can find what financial support is available to you on GOV.UK.
    Check GOV.UK for the latest about:
    • theory tests
    • driving tests
    • instructor guidance

    DVSA issues critical worker training update

    DVSA has responded to questions regarding the training of key/critical workers during lockdown. 

    DVSA said: “The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working with its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, to respond to requests for theory tests from organisations such as ambulance authorities on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role.

    "The DVSA will also respond to requests for practical driving tests from organisations on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers, who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role. 

    "This is a limited service subject to examiner resource and is restricted to candidates working in health and social care, and other public bodies involved in work responding to ‘threats to life’ such as the Environment Agency’s flood rescue staff, or local authority gritter truck drivers.

    "The DVSA will contact NHS Trusts to explain how to nominate candidates; candidates cannot apply themselves. Applications from other organisations will be considered if the mobile emergency worker criteria is met.

    “Approved driving instructors and trainers can return to work only for the purpose of supporting a mobile emergency worker with a booked test.”

    DIA is working to reopen the Key Worker Register to support those who will be delivering essential training to pupils who can demonstrate a need for training at this time and have a test booked. Registrants will be required to complete our online COVID-19 course and theory test which is currently being updated, as well as provide evidence of the need to train in the form of an employer's letter confirming training is required and a copy of the test booking. More detail on the register coming shortly.

    It is also important to carry a copy of your pupil’s confirmed test booking if training on the road.

    Government has “no current plans” to extend theory test certificates
    The government has said it has no current plans to lay legislation to extend theory test certificates.

    Roads minister Baroness Vere responded to a letter from NASP asking if theory test certificates could be extended. She said: “I do appreciate the effect the current situation is having on learner drivers and approved driving instructors (ADI), but we have considered this matter carefully and our conclusion remains that extending the validity of theory test pass certificates would be an unacceptable risk to road safety.

    “Those with theory test certificates expiring will have taken their test in early 2019. Since then, their lessons and practice sessions have been significantly curtailed and it is therefore likely that their knowledge base and hazard perception skills will have diminished. This will clearly have a negative impact on the road safety of new drivers, who are already disproportionality represented in casualty statistics.

    “You have asked whether it would be possible for Government to enlist the help of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) ADIs to ensure pupils have a good theoretical knowledge and sign off before allowing a candidate to take the practical test.

    “As you know, the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows a full driving licence to be issued only if the person has passed both the theory and practical tests within two years of each other. It is not therefore possible to overlook the legal position and two-year validity period on the grounds that ADIs will vouch for their candidate’s knowledge and skills. Although ADIs are well-qualified and proficient in driving and instruction, they are not experienced assessors. This is evidenced by the current practical test pass rate of 47%.”

    DIA wrote to DVSA earlier this month to query why moves have not yet been made by the agency to deliver the theory test completely online, both in response to the pandemic and in terms of future proofing the test in general. DIA (as a provider of driver testing itself internationally via Diamond) has pointed to advances in online security/candidate checks for digital assessments, and the increased availability of online proctoring solutions (whereby the candidate is monitored throughout the test) which has meant many forms of assessment have gone completely online, enabling candidates to take an assessment from any location, and for providers to dispense with costly physical testing centres and staffing of such.