The Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency has just released its annual report and is sounding mighty pleased with itself – and for good reason judging from the improvements they claim learners have experienced over the last 12 months.
The agency has been making significant changes to its extensive range of services. According to the DVSA, 2.2 million driving theory tests and two million practical driving tests were undertaken in the past year.
Clamping Down on Delays & Dire Trainers
Critically, the DVSA says that it is successfully addressing the issues surrounding preferred theory test centres and tackling the long waiting times that have bedevilled pupils who are test ready but frustrated by chronic delays.
The agency claims that 97% of theory test candidates now get an appointment at their preferred test centre within two weeks. More significantly, the average waiting time for a practical driving test has been stripped back from 11.9 weeks as of June 2016 down to six weeks by February 2017 thanks to bringing on board 350 new examiners to help deal with overstretched test centres.
Two years ago at my local centre the waiting time for a test was 16 weeks. This had a terrible effect on my students who’d failed. They had to pay for many more lessons until the next slot came around … [The DVSA] took on new examiners and introduced extra test slots, which meant that my students could get a new test date so much more quickly.”
– ADI Keith Metcalfe, Keith Metcalfe Driving School, Rochdale.
The DVSA has also been cracking down on poor motorcycle training by conducting spot checks on trainers and updating the current standards check to ensure it is in line with the standards expected from approved driving instructors.
More Improvements Set for the Future
Looking ahead and the DVSA is planning more improvements across the board. As well as the new changes to the practical driving test being introduced in December, the agency is also improving its ADI search facility on the gov.co.uk site.
Links to ADI websites and Facebook pages are being allowed for the first time and learners will be able to filter search results depending on their area, what standard the instructor has achieved, and if the ADI is continuing to improve and develop their professional skill sets.
ADIs To Be Pushed Harder
Instructors can also expect to be more closely assessed by the DVSA in future. While there are three parts to the existing qualification process, the agency intends to replace ‘Part Three’ (which currently tests an instructor’s ability to give instruction) with a standards check. Such a check is already carried out every four years on existing qualified ADIs.
Instructors can also expect to be assessed on the new car practical test to ensure that they are able to teach it effectively to their pupils. All qualified ADIs will also be subject to an increase in the overall number of standard checks that are carried out by the DVSA with the focus on tackling poor performance and targeting those instructors who have yet to undergo a new standards check.
– For the full DVSA report including details on law enforcement and developments in MOT testing, click here.
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