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Report on the NASP meeting May 9th 2017:22-05-2017  
The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) held their tenth meeting with the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) at the DVSA headquarters in Nottingham on 9th May 2017.

A pre-meeting involving just the NASP members was held before the meeting with DVSA and also a short NASP meeting was held after the joint meeting.

General updates

Mark Magee explained that DVSA’s activities are subject to election purdah, but that the agency were keen to continue business as usual and engagements where possible. However, the two events for the official launch of the DVSA 5 Year Strategy have been suspended. NASP will be notified of any rearranged events in due course.

5 Year Strategy

The strategy aims to put the agency at the centre of driving and riding standards, with the focus on helping people through a lifetime of safe driving.  The key message to stakeholders would be on being able to identify and choose the best trainer whether it was for learners or for a lifetime of driving, including older drivers. The strategy also introduces the concept of a new voluntary accreditation scheme for training and other products that align with DVSA’s National Standards.  NASP is seen as a key partner and the agency would be looking at extending its partnerships and relationships to help deliver the strategy.

NASP asked if the comments made by Gareth Llewellyn in the Times (link to the article at the end of this report) were accurately reported: however as no one else was present at the interview that couldn’t be confirmed. NASP voiced its concerns on the article because at a time when NASP are engaging with DVSA on this item the wording used in the article was not helpful and was seen as threatening. NASP were surprised by the comments in the article.

Currently only 3% of ADIs have published their grade on the Find Your Nearest site and this was discussed with NASP asking for data on how many hits the website receives. DVSA said that the facility had not yet been actively promoted to consumers as ADIs were being given the opportunity to opt in to the scheme. ADIs have been encouraged to add their grades, with 1,300 having done so, not all of them Grade A. NASP would like to see more work being done to research what ‘good’ for an ADI looks like rather than focus on pass rates and grades. NASP also believe that the public are not aware of the current grading system for ADIs. DVSA will acquire the statistics on FYN and want to work with NASP to encourage ADIs to use it and see a value to it. ADIs who are members of NASP and have a B grade have concerns that they currently cant request another standards check to try to improve their grade and many would welcome the opportunity.

NASP asked about the advice and guidance given about the faults on test as the strategy suggests:

New drivers have guidance, information and support to keep them safe when they’re new to driving - for example, by sending personalised advice to them based on the faults they made during their driving test.

DVSA are reviewing systems and processes to see if this type of information can be improved across all test categories. NASP suggetsed that ADIs with high pass rates should be identified and research carried out to see why they do well. Currently DVSA target ADIs with poor standards of performance.

The priorities for being called back for a standards check include: fails, failure to attend, poorly performing ADI trainers, poorly performing ADIs (determind by fault analysis and/or the frequency in which the examiner must take physical action on test) and those ADIs who have yet to take one. Approximately  half of ADIs have now had a standards check, and a balance has to be achieved between those who have not yet had a check and those who scored a low B (alongside the fault analysis etc).  The DVSA target is to have all existing grades 4/5/6 seen within the next two years as well as retesting those who already have had a low graded Standards Check. DVSA pointed out that there is now no charge for ADIs requesting their own fault analysis reports.

Data Results for Standards Checks

DVSA are re-running the exercise to identify common reasons for failure and has collected 2,000 records ready to be analysed.  When completed this information will be publicised via a blog.

Development of ADI Part 1

DVSA are scrutinising the existing question bank to identify where the terminology doesn’t match up to the National Standards, as this will need to be aligned with the new Part 3. Consideration will also be given to a newer version of the DVSA Driving Instructors Handbook. NASP were assured that the questions relating to teaching Special Needs would also be updated. NASP also suggested some business questions should be included in the question bank.

Consumer Information/ Earned Recognition

DVSA stressed that earned recognition is not about cost savings but about the management information/ indicators that could be used to identify those ADIs who could have a longer gap between standard checks and those who should be prioritised. NASP have concerns that whilst on the operator side poor standards were identified with more frequent vehicle checks on the ADI side standards checks were seen as a punishment. It was agreed that they should be seen more as an opportunity and not a threat. In this regards it was also important that ADIs receive helpful feedback from examiners at the end of their check. DVSA say there will be a dedicated team for standards checks and they will be both giving support as well as helping to drive out poor standards. This would also include looking at test centres with below average pass rates.

Theory Test

DVSA are supporting DfT funded research into using virtual reality for HPT, and a stakeholders workshop was being held at Leeds University. NASP have been invited to attend.

NASP are concerned that the theory test is perceived as being of little value due to its low cost which means candidates don’t take it seriously enough and some end up havng many attempts. DVSA are not allowed to make a profit and the fee has to be set at the cost of delivery. Fees are likely to be reviewed as part of the 5 Year Strategy and as work is undertaken to develop the theory test in the future.

New practical test

This will be implemented on 4 December as announced, reflecting NASP’s request for a minimum 6 month notice period of implementation. It will also avoid examiner training having to take place during the examiner summer holiday period, examiner training will take place after the summer break.  Satnav procurement could not take place until after the election.  DVSA have asked for ADIs not to overuse the same car parks for practice.

It was confirmed that in the show me/tell me questions there would be no questions necessitating opening the bonnet. One tell me question (incorporating the current Show Me under bonnet questions) would be asked at the beginning and one show me on the move. The power steering question will become a tell me question. If a candidate cannot locate a control for the show me question, they can pull up at the side of the road to locate it, and then demonstrate its operation on the move. Use of the horn will be controlled by the examiner, probably in an open road situation and not in built up areas.  Opening the windows will only be asked for where they are electric.

The new Show Me, Tell Me questions can be found here.

They are also at the end of this report as appendix 1.

Points to consider on the bay parking manoeuvre are: forward parking will always be in a public car park away from the test centre and it will be the candidate’s choice which bay to use. The numbers of moves taken and whether they go over the lines will be assessed by the examiner but they must end up between the lines. Local test centre managers will be aware of size variations of bays locally. DVSA are requesting that members try not not to concentrate on supermarket car parks and to avoid areas close to test centres. The test will concentrate less on housing estates and areas near test centres. The reverse bay park will always be in test centre car parks.

If a candidate declares a disability the examiner can use discretion on the use of the satnav, but the candidate cannot request not to use it.  There is an option of a green or blue screen, and an option on volume (but not voice).  If the candidate goes off route, where possible the examiner will allow the satnav to re-programme.

The satnav will be placed on a mat in the centre of the dashboard by the examiner, but the candidate can change the position before test starts. ACPO has been consulted on the use of satnav

NASP will produce a set of FAQs to help members and it will be available on their website.

NASP asked when the report about the trials would be available but this cannot be published on gov.uk until after the purdah period. The new DL25 form has been prepared  but not printed yet; it should be ready for examiner training.

Category B Dual Controlled tests

NASP have discussed using only dual controlled cars on category B tests and ideas were debated. Management information is used by DVSA to ensure the integrity of test is maintained and to determine those ADI’s who habitually attend for test with poorly prepared pupils.

Test Centre notice boards

NASP have noticed that test centres are no longer displaying waiting lists. DVSA confirmed that there had been some sector changes and currently the management information does not line up with the sectors.  As soon as this has been sorted out it will resume.

Learners on Motorway Consultation

The results of the above will be published after the election. NASP’s guidance notes have been shared with DfT and information from the NASP survey about driving on high speed roads would be shared. NASP queried the future of Pass Plus which is likely to be considered as part of the 5 year strategy.

Consultation on Increased Penalties for Dangerous Driving

The results of the above will be published after the election. There are current cases of ADIs who have received 6 points for using a mobile phone whilst driving. Whilst removal letters have to be formal as they are part of a legislative process, and NASP understand that, DVSA will look at the tone used in some letters sent out to ADIs.

Hearings for removal appeals are happening fairly swiftly, with some including video conferencing.  However, decisions often take some time. Where there is deemed to be a risk to the public an ADI can be suspended, but 6 points for an offence would not necessarily come into this category. Only half of the number removed from the register go to appeal.

ORDIT

Two meetings are to be held with instructor trainers who registered for the Cardington and Durham events. Currently there are 890 ADIs on the ORDIT register. A recent survey was sent to around 8,000 which included, ADI trainers, all PDIs, and recently qualified ADIs: there were over 500 responses.

The responses will not be published until after the election.

Part 3 Changes

DVSA are pleased by the positive response to the changes in a number of industry and association webinars and local meetings on the subject. 

DVSA will produce some examples of a training logbook/record but don’t want to be too prescriptive. This will be a topic for discussion at the workshops. NASP have concerns that some of the old training forms relating to the trainee licence will be used when the Part 3 begins in October as this isn’t ideal. The new test is moving away from the ‘whats’ to the ‘hows’  but the forms are set out in regulations so it was difficult to change them ahead of the test changes.

The possibility of a second SC being given within 6 months of qualifying to show progression was discussed. DVSA explained that recalling all was difficult to defend when it is the same assessment and they had demonstrated the competence to be on the register. But trainers would be monitored to make sure they were not doing the same topics or using the same pupil. The timing of the first SC would therefore be determined on a risk based approach, using their grade/score at the Part 3 and subsequent performance.  There will be more quality control with the new test. Support and development would also be better for examiners.  The pass rate for Part 3 is currently around 30%, the perception is that it will be easier, but DVSA anticipate the opposite. NASP asked whether there would be any grace after the change date to extend a trainee licence. DVSA will consider individual circumstances on a case by case basis. The review requested by NASP after 2,500 tests was discussed. 

The review would look at common reasons for failure, common threads, and track the performance of newly qualified ADIs.  Success of the new Part 3 will be judged on feedback, and surveys, not just MI.

The agenda for the ORDIT meetings was discussed.

NASP Website

Updates being carried out to the NASP website will now include:

  • The learners on motorways guidance
  • A report of the survey NASP held on driving on high speed roads.
  • A best practice area for other best practice guides including one on the use of IPads and other in car technology
  • FAQs on Part 3 changes
  • FAQs on the new practical driving test

NASP await an update on the situation with regard to advice on the use of dashcams but have not received it yet. New data protection laws are expected to come into force in May 2018.

Next Meetings

12th September NASP

27/28th November in Nottingham with DVSA.

Appendix 1: Show Me Tell Me Questions from December 4th 2017

“Show me” questions:

1.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

2.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

3.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

4.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

5.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

6.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

7.      When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

“Tell me” questions:

1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

2. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.

Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

12. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

14. Tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.


NASP meeting attendees : Lynne Barrie ADINJC in the chair, Matt Stone ADINJC, Carly Brookfield DIA, Olivia Baldock-Ward DIA, Peter Harvey MSA GB, John Lepine MSA GB.

DVSA attendees : Mark Magee : Policy and ADI Registrar,  Jacqui Turland : Deputy Registrar, John Sheridan : Product Manager Driver Training and John Caradine : Driver Training Policy Advisor               

In attendance: Sue Duncan, Minute Secretary.

Substandard driving instructors to be exposed in OFSTED-style league table
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