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Improving the vehicle testing services we offer

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Features, Vehicle testing

A lorry undergoing a roller brake test

In June this year, we published our Business Plan for 2021/22.

I mention our Business Plan as it talks about how DVSA will change in response to customer expectations and technological innovations.

In short, we want your experience of DVSA’s services to exceed your expectations. And this is at the heart of our plans to improve the vehicle testing services we offer.

To do this, we will focus on what you need and make our services simpler and easier to use.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting ready to start some of this work and wanted to update you about the changes ahead.

Going digital

One of our priorities is to improve how we work with Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs).

Currently, ATF owners do not have live access to data about vehicles and trailers which are tested at their sites. They also cannot view and track their financial transactions with us online.

So, through our vehicle testing transformation project, we’re going give ATFs and other testing customers their own digital account, with live access to this information.

ATFs have already told us that will really help them to manage their lanes more effectively.

Building on our existing work

In February 2020, we provided an app for our vehicle standards assessors (VSAs) which lets them enter test results in real time and record defects digitally. You can read more about this part of the project in a previous blog post by my colleague Gordon Thomson.

In the last few weeks, we reached a major milestone as the 1 millionth test was recorded in the app.

The design features of the app help us to improve the accuracy of test records. This directly benefits test history records and the information which can be viewed online.

Being able to record every annual test digitally means we now have a much richer set of data to use when we develop services (such as Check the MOT history of a vehicle) in the future.

Looking ahead

We will also be working with you to improve the vehicle testing application process, including for individuals and businesses who need to get vehicle approvals.

We’ll provide more details about our progress through regular updates on this blog. You can sign up to get alerts when we publish new blog posts.

We want you to be part of this work and help us improve our vehicle testing services. So, we’ll ask you for your views and invite you to test the products that we’re developing.

You’ll be able to join trade bodies, ATFs and vehicle operators who have already told us they’d like to support this work.

We’re really excited about making our testing services better for you and your colleagues. I look forward to sharing more of our journey over the coming months.

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  1. Comment by John Lewis posted on

    I like the idea of the improved digital format and additional access for ATF's. Hopefully we can do online payments into pref funded accounts too as 3 times we've called this week to deposit funds, on hold for 15 - 25 minutes in some cases so then give up. Appreciate this can be done by BACS also but for some parts of the business we like to pay by credit card. Would also like to see the flexibility from DVSA staff as the outcome of the testing review indicated. Turned way last month for being 10 minutes late mid morning due to a delay at a neighbouring ATF where the e RBT caused issues. At a time when getting test slots was like hens teeth our complaint to local managers was put back on the ATF but the ATF stated the DVSA VSA made the decision. Luckily some flexibility from the ATF and another VSA helped us secure a slot a few days later but the delays and loss this caused to the customers business was irreversible. The new way if testing introduced a few years ago fir consistency appears none existent and in some cases testing staff are wanting to leave before they've even arrived on site. Many a time we have returned early at the VSA's request so they can finish early fir an 'appointment' but flexibility appears to be only one way for some. As a newly authorised ATF from next year at least we can have better control of the bookings. Lovedays reintroduction of the daily work programne appears to be causing the same issues it did and the reason it was removed. Some VSA's using it to dictate what they will or won't do from the minute they arrive on site. Of all the improvements that need to be made the DWP should not have been top of the list of priorities. Hopefully soon we'll see improvements that the review asked for.

    • Replies to John Lewis>

      Comment by Daniel Charles posted on

      Thanks for your feedback John. There are a couple of different areas you’ve addressed so I’ll answer the one connected to our digital transformation project first. In terms of making online payments to your PFA, this option is already available for debit/credit card payments. You can use the Transport Office Portal to do this, once you’ve registered for an account. As part of the project I’m working on, we’ve been speaking to prefunded account holders to better understand their payment requirements. They have told us they would like a more intuitive way of topping up accounts. The platform we’re building for ATFs will deliver this and we’re looking to add direct debit payments to the online service.

      On your question about outcomes from the heavy vehicle testing review, my colleague Neil Barlow has written a blog post about our plans, which I’d recommend reading if you haven’t already. Neil will be blogging regularly about our progress on the report’s recommendations, so keep an eye out for the latest Moving On posts. Where testing resource is concerned, ATFs have contracted confirmed testing periods and can manage their test day in line with this. DVSA colleagues do work with ATFs to ensure this is managed effectively and we build flexibility into the working day so that testing colleagues can stay for an additional period of time, to allow testing to be completed (in exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of the assessor on the day).

      On your point about the reintroduction of DVSA colleagues having sight of the daily work programme, this is intended to allow us and ATFs to better manage the workflow. Where issues are identified, DVSA colleagues can offer advice to overcome this and work with the ATF. ATFs remain in control of the bookings and manage the lane according to the demands on the day (eg. they can move tests around to accommodate customer circumstances).

      • Replies to Daniel Charles>

        Comment by john lewis posted on

        Thanks for coming back to me Danny.
        Appreciate the detail in your response, however some of the experiences we have had do not reflect the flexibility or collaboration with ATF's you highlight, we will however monitor and welcome any improvements.

  2. Comment by Alan Rees posted on

    Distancing yourself away from the quagmire of Whitehall Civil servants attitude is very very welcome . Extra attention paid to the practical requirements of the Haulage Industry will be beneficial in so many ways
    Shall we say, you are on the right track

    • Replies to Alan Rees>

      Comment by Daniel Charles posted on

      Hi Alan, thanks for the feedback.

  3. Comment by David Keegan posted on

    As an engineer for many years in the transport industry when navigating either inspection manual, I am yet to understand the need for the need for standards for prohibition and the deficiency dangerous*. I feel this just adds confusion to technicians when they are assessing defects during a vehicle inspection. The 2014/45 EU Directive does not include this so why is it needed in the UK HGV/PSV manuals?
    Surly your examiners can identify if a vehicle is dangerous to other road users without the need for the said section?

    • Replies to David Keegan>

      Comment by Daniel Charles posted on

      Thanks for your comment David. Deficiencies are categorised in line with the 2014/15 EU Directive on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and trailers. Article 7 of the directive states that deficiencies which are found during the periodic testing of vehicles shall be categorised in one of three groups: minor, major and dangerous.

      A dangerous deficiency is one which constitutes a direct and immediate risk to road safety or has an impact on the environment and which lead to a test failure. It also gives the option for DVSA to suspend (or prohibit) the use of the vehicle or trailer in question on public roads.

      The ‘Standards for Prohibition Issue at Statutory Test’ section in the inspection manuals is included to provide transparency to operators and vehicle presenters on how and when DVSA will consider the issue of a prohibition at annual test.

      The policy is in place to make sure we take a consistent approach when prohibitions are applied, protect other road users from vehicles with the most dangerous defects and provide a flexible, customer focused testing service.