Since my previous blog, we’ve now completed our roadshows, so I want to give you an update on what was discussed and answer the questions that were raised at the ten locations across the country.
All the events were well attended and we received a positive response. Thank you to those of you who took time out of your busy schedules, to attend and listen to what we had to say and also ask questions. It was good to meet new faces and reacquaint ourselves with some old ones. You asked a lot of interesting questions and I’ll try and answer as many as I can here.
As you’d expect, there were lots of questions about the standards checks. You wanted to know how we would support trainers who weren’t successful during their standards check. We’ll provide feedback at the time and will email the trainer and the Approved Training Body (ATB) a copy of the report. We’ve also published the notes for guidance for the standards checks – these explain how we’ll assess you and what we expect of you.
You wanted to know what to do if you disagreed with the result of your standards check. The assessor will always provide a debrief about the training they saw and will also give the trainer the opportunity to explain their method of training.
If you still feel you didn't get a proper or fair assessment, you can contact the CBT Register Manager or CBT Control Manager.
A few people asked if we can take away a trainer’s certificate. Trainers who deliver unsatisfactory training will have the opportunity to improve before taking another assessment. However, if all else fails and the instructor continues to show an unsatisfactory level of instruction, DVSA will remove their certificate of authorisation.
I want to stress we don’t set out to remove someone’s certificate – we’d far rather they improved their performance and raised their standard of training.
There were questions about unannounced visits and whether we can do this. The answer is yes – we’ve always done these in the past but in small numbers; we’re now using evidence and information to target these unannounced visits and there will be more of them.
Several of you suggested that new riders should take the theory test before gaining their provisional licence. Also, that they should take (and pass) the theory test for bikes before attempting CBT.
We recognise your concerns about poor theory test knowledge and that many of you have different views on this. This would need a change in regulations and we’ll be consulting on this suggestion during summer 2016.
You asked if there would be any external courses or instructor training available. Again, this is something that we’re looking at. In particular; updating the instructor qualification process and improving standards.
It was also suggested that motorcycle instructors should have a three part qualification route, similar to approved driving instructors and limiting a down-trained certificate.
You had also expressed concern about the time it was taking to get an assessment at Cardington. We’ve recently increased the resource at Cardington for these assessments and plan to train more staff next year.
Our aim is to make it more straightforward for people to qualify whilst making sure trainers have the skills, knowledge and competencies to train riders properly and safely. We’ll be working closely with the training industry and representative bodies to discuss and decide the details. Once we’ve achieved this, we’ll hold some more roadshows to let you know what is planned.
Approved Training Body (ATB)
We had lots of questions and suggestions on this, with issues ranging from teaching pupils whose second language is English to collecting data for DAS candidates’ failures on test, the cost of CBT, re-joining the register after removal and being licensed to an individual ATB.
All of these are something we’re keen to address. Teaching a pupil whose second language is English is something we’ve been looking at and we’ll be providing separate guidance on this. Watch this space.
Thank you for suggesting collecting data for DAS candidates’ failures on test, potentially highlighting those trainers who don’t provide a high standard of training. This is an interesting idea that we’ll be looking at in the future, possibly as part of the earned recognition scheme.
The idea of introducing a maximum and minimum price for CBT, to provide a more consistent standard and stop unscrupulous trainers wouldn’t be feasible. As a regulator, we couldn’t impose varying prices across the country and of course, this would have seasonal implications too.
I can’t stress enough the importance I place on a trainer being registered to an ATB. The ATB is responsible for each trainer and ensures they know what the trainer is doing and when. We have no plans to change the way our training industry is structured – around the ATB.
Allowing someone to re-join the register after we’ve removed them has always been contentious. We’ll be reviewing the regulatory powers relating to this as part of next summer’s consultation, whatever we must ensure we take a balanced and fair approach. However, we can still (and will) take the right action against those that don’t comply.
We heard a lot about the availability of tests, the number of motorcycle examiners and your concerns about the loss of skilled staff and the levels of resource in the CBT team.
I’m pleased to tell you that we’re actively recruiting new examiners, for all disciplines and more people into our CBT examiner team.
I’m sorry we haven’t been keeping you updated about staff changes in your area and who your local contact is. So, I’m arranging for a poster to display in all test centres telling you the contact name and details. In the meantime please either call the CBT enquiry line on 0115 936 65647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of you asked for guidance about pupils wanting to retake their CBT after the 2 year expiry date. The pupil must always complete the whole syllabus; this shouldn't be a problem in you are delivering client-centred training. You can achieve this by tailoring the course to the needs of the pupil, whilst still following the CBT syllabus. We shouldn’t encourage ‘permanent learners’, it has to be more training with a view to holding a full licence.
Your pupils can find out more information about learning to ride on the Safe Driving for Life website
I want to thank my colleagues Chris and Nick for their hard work in making the roadshows happen, along with the others who helped plan and organise the events; this included the local staff at the test centres. I’d also like to thank all the trainers who were able to attend.
Do respond to this blog, I can’t answer every individual post but I’ll be keeping an eye on what you have to say and will update you on our progress.
Finally, please remember that you can get all the latest information by signing up for DVSA direct email alerts