It’s been a while since my colleague Danny last blogged about how we’re rolling out improvements to DVSA’s heavy vehicle testing services.
So, I want to tell you more about what we’ve been doing in the background with ATFs and how we’re now working with 3 of them (across 5 locations) to test the first digital accounts.
Recruiting early adopters
Over the last few months, we’ve been focusing on reaching a key milestone for the project.
We wanted to recruit a small number of ATFs to join us as early adopters of the digital account service, which will be called ‘Manage Your Vehicle Testing’.
Working with a group of initial ATFs gives us a chance to test the digital account in a live environment, get feedback and make improvements – before we introduce more features and open it up to a larger number of ATFs.
We held several meetings with ATFs to help us understand how they want technology to work for them. The meetings were incredibly useful, and we learnt that ATFs want to:
- know quickly how much money they have in their account, so they can always be in a position to test
- be able to see their payments go through immediately
- know what’s happening on each of their testing lanes to maximise lane utilisation
- receive accurate and timely statements to help manage their finances better
- track which tests DVSA is charging them for and be able to quickly compare this with their records to make sure they are being charged correctly
- be able to make sure our communications get to the right people in their business
We’re using this feedback to design a service which makes it easier for our customers to do business with us.
‘Manage Your Vehicle Testing’ service
The service we’re creating for ATFs will be accessed through GOV.UK and allow pre-funded account holders to:
- pay for test slots into their account by direct debit in addition to credit or debit card
- access their account balance in real time
- print and/or download invoices and statements
- self-serve management for ATFs to oversee staff to access accounts and data
By working with a small group of ATFs, we can make sure everything works smoothly before the service is rolled out to everyone.
We are using this time to work on any changes and test new features, based on the feedback we get.
The benefits of partnership
Although our early adopters have only started with the basic features of the digital account, working with them has helped us to show them what features we plan to make available to all ATFs in the future.
For example, we have been able to test the process once an MOT result is recorded at an ATF. Information from the test record is transferred into our new internal account platform, following which a charge is applied to the ATF’s account and an invoice is generated. In the future, all of this will all be visible to the ATFs within the new service.
We’re really pleased with the progress so far. But don’t take our word for it! Here’s what our early adopters have said ….
For Nottingham City Transport, “the ease of use is what we like. It’s all there straight away. All you'd need to see”.
The familiarity of the design is what’s impressed Trent Barton Buses so far. Their representative told us: “I like the simplicity and how it reflects other government websites. It’s very generic towards what I’m used to using, so I am able to adapt to it very quickly. I’m excited to see the next stage”.
And according to Travel West Midlands, “it’s quite user friendly. This is what people want at the end of the day. You don’t want something that will baffle you”.
We’d like to thank Nottingham City Transport, Trent Barton and Travel West Midlands for joining us as the first early adopters on the project.
In July, another organisation will join us – bringing a further 18 ATFs on board – as we test and introduce more features in the Manage Your Vehicle Testing service. Having new users will help us iron out any problems before we launch the service to everyone.
Our relationship with you
By improving our services we’ll make it easier for you to do business with us.
Having access to a digital account will mean many of your transactions will become more accessible and efficient – freeing up your time to focus on other priorities.
All ATFs will benefit from using the Manage Your Vehicle Testing digital account when the service fully rolls out later this year. Because the service will introduce some new ways of managing your relationship with us, we’ll need to make some changes to the payments policy (schedule 2) in the ATF contract.
Our contracts team will be writing to every ATF with a copy of the proposed variations, so you’ll be able to review them in detail. But I wanted to use the last part of this blog post to give an overview of what this will cover.
Some new ways of working with us will be adopted when ATFs receive their digital account. So, we’ll reflect these changes in their contracts. The key areas cover:
- reservation fees – we will no longer take a reservation fee 7 days in advance of the test day. A “minimum fee” will continue to be applied to a testing period and collected through billing at the end of day (if there’s a shortfall)
- payment channels – we will introduce a new direct debit payment channel
- account top-up – varying the methods for ‘topping up’ accounts, through credit and debit cards and replacing the existing BACS payment channel
- account management – ATFs will be able to manage their DVSA testing account online
We recognise that some ATFs may be hesitant to make changes around their financial transactions. But the new service will provide you much greater visibility of your transactions and what’s happening in your lane(s).
We’ll be there to support your transition too, through our rollout team and Network Business Managers (NBMs).
We believe that the new digital account will help you to manage your vehicle testing more effectively. Improving the service we provide to you is our priority and that’s why we’re investing in these changes now – and will continue to make improvements once the digital account is up and running.
If you have any feedback or questions, please let us know in the comments below.