Since we launched our 5 year strategy in 2017, we’ve been working to become a digitally-enabled organisation. We want to provide modern, efficient and sustainable technology to support a mobile workforce and build brilliant digital services for our staff and customers.
Part of this work is developing a way to capture driving test electronically, using a tablet in the car rather than using a paper marking form (called a DL25). This will improve the way our examiners work and provide driving test candidates with a modern service using up-to-date technology.
Although this blog post is a bit longer than normal, I thought it was important to explain more about why we’re doing this, the benefits for candidates and how it will work during tests.
Providing staff with the right tools to do their job
Part of the agency’s focus over the past year has been providing our staff with the tools to do their jobs in a modern way. You may have seen we developed a search app tool for our enforcement officers, to give them immediate access to the data they need at the roadside.
A typical day sees examiners delivering a maximum of 7 driving tests. The current process requires them to spend a lot of time filling in test and candidate information on the DL25. They also have to record an overview of what happened on the previous test before the next one is conducted.
We wanted to make this process more efficient and our examiners lives easier. The new app, accessed on a tablet, prepopulates candidate and test information automatically from the booking and allows an overview of the previous test to be completed quickly and easily.
It will also provide them with immediate access to their testing schedule and highlight any specific needs the candidate might have let us know about when they booked their test. This will better prepare the examiner before meeting the candidate, to know how to help them.
An electronic version of the DL25
Examiners will conduct the test in exactly the same way as with the current paper form but will record it electronically on the app.
Capturing test results electronically will remove the need for almost 2 million test forms to be scanned each year and speed up notification of the result to DVLA, cutting the time taken for successful candidates to receive their full driving licence.
Developing the app
The app is being developed in line with Government Digital Service standards. This means making the electronic process simple to use for everyone and constantly improving it through ongoing user feedback.
So far, the prototype version of the app has received very positive feedback from examiners. We’ve also held small trial sessions with potential candidates, who’s feedback has also been really positive.
Introducing the app on tests
To begin with, we’ll only be using the app to carry out car driving tests. We’ll deliver a small number of tests, taking on board any feedback from the examiners and candidates, before increasing its use. We’ll continue to ask for feedback, from you and your candidates.
Over time, we’ll be looking to roll out the use of the app to all other test categories, including ADI tests.
Examiners are not accompanying drivers
I want to remind you of the difference between examiners using technology during a test, and instructors doing so during in a driving lesson.
Regulation 110 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations prohibits the use of technology if you are supervising a provisional licence holder. During a driving lesson, the instructor is supervising the learner and must therefore be in control of the vehicle at all times.
Regulation 16(9) of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations also means that the driving test is the only time a learner driver does not require the supervision of an accompanying driver, as they are under test conditions.
Minimising driver distractions
Examiners will use a privacy screen to make sure that the candidate is not distracted during the test.
The tablet will also be securely held in a portfolio wallet used by the examiner. We’ve also locked down all other functionality so that the app is not communicating during the test.
The way the test works isn’t changing
I want to reassure you the way the driving test is assessed will not be changing. The duration of the test will also stay the same.
You should continue to prepare your pupils in the way you do now.
Candidates on test
Currently, when a candidate arrives to take their test, our examiners ask them to sign the residency and vehicle insurance declarations on the paper DL25.
Once the app has been rolled out, candidates will do this on the examiner’s tablet instead. The declarations will still be the same.
Providing candidates with a summary test report
Before the test starts, the candidate will also be asked to confirm how they would like to receive their summary of the test. The summary will:
- confirm the outcome of the test
- list any driving faults during the test (in order of severity)
- include information about getting further training
- give information about booking another test if they were unsuccessful
The candidate will have the option of receiving their summary by email or a paper copy by post.
They will also be able to choose if the summary is sent to the email address used when booking the test, or to an alternative that they provide to the examiner on the day. If the candidate chooses for the summary to be sent by post it will be sent to the address held by DVSA. To reduce potential for fraud, the examiner will not be able to enter an alternative postal address on the day.
If you book tests for your candidates
So, if you book tests for your pupils, you will need to consider which email address you use to do this. Under GDPR rules, you should not receive their test summary without their consent, as it is not your personal information.
Reducing the opportunity for fraud
Earlier in the blog post, I mentioned the search app used by our enforcement teams.
This app is also being made available to our examiners to help them check the identity of the test candidate and make sure the vehicle presented for test has a valid MOT.
You can find out more about how the search app works, in our blog post on Moving On.
We’ll let you know more as we get closer to delivering live tests on the tablet.
If you have any questions on how the tablets will work, or might affect your candidates tests, please let me know in the comments.