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Driver trainer groups meet new DVSA chief Executive11-07-2016  
In June the National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) met to discuss various matters and also met with representatives from the DVSA including their new chief executive.

A meeting of NASP members only was held on 27th June to review the current strategic partnership, discuss future direction of NASP and establish the NASP approach to key industry issues and challenges which would be discussed jointly with DVSA the following day. 

Key items for discussion were:

Review of NASP working relationship and Terms of Reference

The group reviewed the Terms of Reference (ToR) for NASP and agreed to make amendments to the terms around publication of information to ensure all key announcements and reports from meetings were published jointly and that where information had to be published with a degree of expediency it would be upon approval of the group for that information to be published ahead of the full meeting report. 

Action: ToR to be amended, amends to be circulated by mid July

Better communication of NASP activity

Feedback was given that members questioned what NASP had achieved since inception. The group agreed that NASP had achieved some tangible influence and impact on policy and strategy in the driver training industry by working as a collaborative group but that they had perhaps not communicated this effectively. A rundown of achievements to date would be put together and added to the NASP website, and used by NASP members to inform their respective memberships of activity to date.

The point was also raised that DVSA had expressed a desire to help promote the national associations so NASP should be asking them to help raise awareness of NASP through their ADI communications channels such as the Despatches Blog and Test Centre publicity.

It was also agreed to add sections to the website to re-state the value of joining a national associations and their key benefits, as well outlining NASP’s support and commitment to CPD. 

Action: Timeline of NASP activity and achievements to be created and (on approval) add to website by mid July. Sections also to be added on the role and benefits of national 

associations and NASP commitment to furthering CPD in the sector. Also to ask DVSA for further support in promoting the work of NASP. 

Collaborative projects

As well as continuing to represent members at joint meetings with the DVSA and respond jointly to key industry consultations, it was agreed that NASP could productively work together on other wider driver training and road safety initiatives. Given a number of proposals have been outlined in recent strategic plans announced by the DfT which are directly relevant to the development of driver training (i.e. the proposal to explore the introduction of electronic log books tied to a competency based curriculum, allowing learners on motorways, earned recognition) the group would work to evaluate the combined contribution they could make to these projects and make proposals to the relevant stakeholder as to how NASP could support such policy development and implementation.

Action: Clarification to be sought from DfT and DVSA on progress of key proposals and policy development - with that information, NASP to determine which activity to focus on working collaboratively. For discussion at next NASP meeting.

Joint NASP/DVSA Agenda

The last meeting report (April 2016) was reviewed with particular focus on actions still not completed. General consensus was that NASP needed to be quicker to chase other up stakeholders, such as DVSA, on their actions.  Key actions from last meeting, still to be completed, included important information updates on the items below that ADIs needed to be urgently appraised or updated of:

Items not actioned to date: 

  • Communication of the Timing Exercise – to be actioned by DVSA
  • Update on test waiting times - DVSA
  • Update on the management of the theory contract - DVSA
  • Update on practical trials - DVSA
  • Mobile phone consultation feedback - DVSA
  • Standards Check update and recording of performance data -DVSA
  • Guidance on in-car cameras – DVSA
  • Progress on the development of the Part 3 - DVSA

Updates would be sought at the followings day’s meeting with DVSA with a crucial emphasis being on the need for better and more expedient communication.

NASP discussed their combined approach to key items such as Earned Recognition and consensus was reached to develop a working draft of proposals on this and work closely with DVSA to establish a workable framework. 

Action: Latest draft of NASP proposals on Earned Recognition to be circulated for further input by members before sharing with DVSA

Mandatory CPD was also discussed and the group concluded that their view was that whilst mandatory CPD was difficult to achieve, there was value in looking at whether some elements of training (or refresher training) could be introduced on a voluntary basis for all ADIs. 

Action: Discuss further with DVSA and get a view on their level of appetite to mandate any aspect of CPD. 

Further actions from this meeting:

Actions for NASP:

  • Suggested dates for end of August/early September meeting to be circulated, together with possible venue.
  • Discuss with members views on what developments was necessary for ADIs if learners allowed on motorways
  • Chairman to ensure DVSA and individual NASP member actions are followed up in between meetings.

Joint Meeting with DVSA – 28th June 2016

A separate meeting involving key personnel from DVSA was held with NASP on the following day. NASP members were also introduced to new DVSA CEO Gareth Llewellyn at this meeting. 

DVSA Support and Promotion of ADI Associations

NASP asked for further support in highlighting the benefits of joining an ADI association as the agency has frequently reaffirmed their desire to help raise the profile of the national associations. Suggestions were made that better promotion could be given in test centres and via DVSA communications such as Gov.UK and the Dispatches Blog. Mark Magee agreed to look into how we improve the information carried in test centres about national associations, as well as including more information on Gov.UK, the blog etc. 

NASP also fed back how they would work more collaboratively together on key industry projects before and MM commented that DVSA would support that approach. 

Actions: NASP to provide regular news and information on activity for inclusion in DVSA blogs. DVSA would ensure test centres carried up to date information on national associations and on the Gov.UK site. DVSA would also provide supportive statements on the role and value of national associations, which NASP could use in its promotion.

NASP to keep DVSA appraised of key projects and initiatives they work on collaboratively

Inclusion of other stakeholders in joint meetings

NASP feedback that they had considered the possibility of wider stakeholders joining meeting with the DVSA and concluded that whilst they would be happy to attend such meetings organised by DVSA alongside groups such as national driving schools, post test training bodies etc., they would prefer NASP and DVSA continued to meet separately so focus was maintained on key ADI industry matters. DVSA said they were happy with that approach and would invite NASP representatives to wider stakeholder meetings as and when these occurred and continue with DVSA/NASP meetings as now.

Action: Agree forward calendar of joint NASP/DVSA meetings. DVSA to invite NASP reps to relevant wider stakeholder meetings. 

Forward Look at DVSA events and initiatives

MM walked NASP through a helpful forward plan of DVSA/DfT activity for next year. It was noted that timelines on these events and projects could be subject to change.

Action: DVSA to regularly update NASP on this Forward Planner

Follow up on actions from last meeting

Timing Exercise– update to come from PL.  MM said that car tests had been completed and that LGV and motorcycle tests were under way. 

Theory test contract management – MM said that responsibility for the management of all aspects of the contract had now been transferred under one directorate to ensure more efficient management

Practical test trial – this is ongoing, with feedback being collated and analysed from all of the trial research, a final report would then be submitted to the Minister and then considered for wider consultation. 

Mobile phone consultation – nothing has been received from DfT.

Standards Checks – failed to attends had reduced from 10% to 8%, with the team now chasing up non-respondents.  25% of appointments were being re-scheduled.  NASP made a request for better performance data on Standards Check to allow the industry to better understand trends in performance and help manage ADI development via better informed CPD, information and advice on the subject.  DVSA are considering how this data could be better collated and disseminated via electronic data capture.

Part 3 – NASP expressed concern that discussion on how best to progress changes to the Part 3 seemed to have stalled. MM promised to reconvene a discussion group with NASP and other stakeholders and focus on nailing down both the future format and a timeline for implementation.

Action: MM to reconvene a meeting of the working group

Examiner assaults – MM thanked NASP for helping to promote zero tolerance. MM said that DVSA were still receiving complaints about assaults, both verbal and physical.

LGV review of trainer booking system and trainer register – NASP emphasised that they are a key stakeholder in such matters, and discussion of key issues in this sector should not just be limited to road haulage industry representatives and individual training providers - NASP would therefore like to be involved in any discussions about future regulation, training and testing initiatives – including operation of any formal registers. MM agreed to involve NASP in future.

Cameras – it was suggested there should be posters in test centres to remind ADIs that cameras on test should be outward facing only and not recording sound. 

Action: DVSA also to provide updated guidance on use of cameras.

Initial thoughts from new DVSA CEO

NASP were introduced to new CEO Gareth Llewellyn who gave a brief run through of his experience to date, his initial views on the agency and the industry, as well as outlining some of the key challenges. A new 5 year plan for the agency would be developed with a clearer definition of the purpose and remit of the combined agency. Central to any strategy was a commitment to safer driving for life. He also committed to improved communication between the agency and its stakeholders. 

Provision of test services 

GL outlined how there was a miscomprehension as to the scale of the issue as an evaluation of test slots available across the UK showed that there were a large number of test slots unused.  He highlighted how better communicating where slots were available at different test centres would offer pupils the choice to travel to an alternative test centre if they wanted a test sooner. DVSA want to improve access to more up to date information on slots available across the UK so ADIs and pupils are aware of availability.  NASP asked for an update on plans to introduce more slots on weekends and evenings and DVSA stated they were still scoping the ability to offer a more flexible service. GL stressed the importance of ensuring candidates were only taken to test when ready as not only does that ensure we are ultimately taking candidates better able to manage independent driving but those who would not fail and need further tests, placing more pressure on resources for more and more tests. 

Test waiting times

PL outlined latest measures to improve test waiting times. More new Examiners had progressed through the training process and the training process had been expedited to deploy new Examiners to test centres. NASP suggested PL should circulate an update on progress tackling test waiting times, outlining what measures had been taken.  

Action:  Updated report to be produced for NASP to distribute to members

Voluntary publication of pass rates and grade/Earned Recognition – MM asked for the 

NASP view on this and a group discussion concluded that NASP should work together to present proposals on what information could be published and how and consult with the industry for further feedback.  NASP also fedback that, although the general feeling was that pass rates in isolation could not be fairly used as a performance metric, there was merit in discussing where test data could be used as a performance indicator in an earned recognition scheme alongside other key metric and criteria. It was agreed that DVSA and NASP would work towards better establishing what performance metrics could be effectively used to better evaluate individual ADI performance and help establish aspirational benchmarks for further performance improvements and overall raising of standards in the profession.

Action: NASP to share with DVSA latest thoughts on earned recognition and key criteria, NASP/DVSA to discuss and develop framework at next meeting

Supporting SEN students 

NASP sought clarification and an update on DVSA measures to increase accessibility and usability of test services (including the Theory Test) by SEN pupils. The feedback was given that not all ADIs are aware of the support offered to pupils with SEN needs and what work was being done by the agency to improve accessibility.

Action: Lesley Young to provide a breakdown of services and how SEN pupils/ADIs access testing for their specific needs 

Impact of BREXIT

NASP queried whether BREXIT would have any direct impact on DVSA/DfT policy or process. GL confirmed that until Article 50 was formally triggered it was business as usual and they would keep NASP appraised on any impacts.

Present for NASP:

Carly Brookfield (CB)         DIA (in the chair)

Lynne Barrie (LB)               ADINJC

Chris Porter (CP)               ADINJC

Peter Harvey (PH)             MSA GB

John Lepine (JL)                MSA GB

Gordon Crosbie (GC)        DISC

Gavin Brownlie(GB)           DISC

NASP Minute Secretary    Sue Duncan

NASP Apologies                Sandra MacDonald Ames DIA

In attendance for DVSA

Mark Magee (MM)             ADI Registrar

Jackie Turland (JT)           Deputy Registrar

For DVSA from 11am

Gareth Llewllyn (GL)        Chief Executive Officer

Lesley Young (LY)            Chief Driving Examiner

Phil Lloyd (PL)                  Head of Operations





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