Driving instructors

Letter from the Director General of the DVSA to driving school instructors regarding the resumption of driving test services

Dear Colleague,

Following my recent letter which I sent you on October 15th, I would like to inform you of the latest developments regarding the driving tests.

Further progress was made with the industrial action talks with the public and commercial service (PCS), which I will detail in this letter.

We are also launching our next phase of the Driver Examiner Recruitment Campaign and expanding our plans for our “Get Ready” campaign for learner drivers.

We will also work on developing a range of other regulatory measures to make every test count. These will encourage learners to be fully prepared and to modernize other elements of the driving test. Our goal is to launch the consultation this fall.

Industrial action

We have been in talks with PCS. We have agreed to spend the next 12 months working with local drive test officials and examiners to develop a plan to rebuild trust between our colleagues and DVSA.

PCS voted their members and over 90% voted to accept the deal they made with us. PCS sent us a message on Nov 9 confirming that they are no longer in conflict with us.

This means that for the next 12 months we will be deviating from our 8 day test day schedule and no test will be affected by any industrial action or action unless there is a strike.

This is great news for all of us, especially your students with tests set aside in the weeks and months to come.

Driving Examiner Recruitment

We have increased the throughput of car testing by 25% since May, but the high demand for testing continues.

We have reached our next phase to recruit more driving examiners in England, Scotland and Wales to meet our overall goal of recruiting over 300 additional examiners. This will allow us to further increase testing to help reduce the backlog.

We often hear that some instructors are discouraged from applying for these positions because they believe that part-time or flexible hours are not offered. This is not the case and new entrants arrive on flexible work models where they will work 5-7 days.

Our campaign hopes to reach these people to encourage them to take the plunge and apply for these rewarding positions. We will be providing more updates on this campaign later this month.

“Be prepared” campaign

We are now ready to begin further research to help us design new campaign messages for learner drivers.

We will be using messages to help learner drivers understand how long it can take to learn to drive. We will encourage them to book and take a driving test only when they are ready to help reduce wait times for the driving test.

Prior to the pandemic, we did some research with you, your students, and our examiners, which was extremely valuable. Thank you for taking the time to give us your opinion.

To complement this, we are carrying out two new research projects. The first explores the influence that families and friends have on learners. The second is to take a deeper look at the process of learning to drive from a learner’s perspective, and where we can provide more timely support and information. we consulted NASP on these projects and took their comments into account with our approach.

My colleague Mark Magee, responsible for driver policy, published a blog which details these two searches.

In the meantime, some of your students, ex-students or their families and relatives may be contacted by research companies to ask them to participate. I would be extremely grateful if you would encourage them to participate, as their feedback will be essential in helping to shape our campaign and improve our future driving test service.

Driving test change consultation

We will be launching a government consultation on a series of proposed driver test changes, which we plan to release this fall.

These measures will ensure that learners are well prepared before taking their driving test and will give us more flexibility in when we can offer tests.

We will provide more details on the proposed changes and how you can participate in the consultation shortly.

We understand that the past 18 months have been difficult for you, your families and your business and even now we are still working towards a new ‘normal’.

Rest assured, we are continuing to work on other plans to try to reduce wait times for driving tests as quickly as possible.

We must also continue to support the government’s goal of obtaining more heavyweight drivers on the roads. This will help ensure that we all have access to the groceries, medicines and other essentials that we rely on for our daily lives.

We will continue to keep you updated on our latest plans and new developments related to your work as they emerge.

Yours faithfully,

Ryder Love Day
General manager
Driver and Vehicle Standardization Agency