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https://despatch.blog.gov.uk/2023/01/09/changes-to-obs-how-they-affect-driving-instructors-and-businesses/

Changes to OBS: how they affect driving instructors and businesses

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Feature, Motorcycle trainers, Vocational trainers

Earlier this year I updated you on our progress on what we are doing to tackle businesses who are buying large amounts of tests and selling them for a profit.  

The purpose of ‘book and manage your pupils’ test service’ was to allow you to register your preferences so that your pupils can see when you are available, when they are booking their tests. 

Users can also use the service to book and swap tests on your pupil's behalf.  

If you want to register for the 'book and manage your pupils test booking' service, you'll need to contact DVSA. 

Following a sharp growth in businesses registering to use OBS and offering learners tests for an additional fee, we’ve seen: 

  • an increase (20%) in traffic to our Customer Service Centre (CSC)  
  • an increase in applications to use OBS per week 
  • an increase in failure to attends 

So, we have made the decision to update the terms and conditions for the users of the Online Business Service.  

From 2pm today (9 January), our updated terms and conditions came into effect.   

In this post, I want to: 

  • tell you more about the new terms and conditions for OBS  
  • update you about our review of the test booking system 
  • explain the results of the survey we ran for businesses.  

Updating the terms and conditions of OBS 

The next time users of OBS log into the system, they will be required to sign the new terms and conditions to use the service going forward.  

Most of what has been updated includes clauses that explains more clearly how to use the system. It also sets out enforceable actions we may take should businesses be found to be abusing the system.  

Our updated terms and conditions mean that users of the service will need to:  

  • agree to appropriate use of the service and not using it to make a profit 
  • confirm that you meet our eligibility criteria for the service 
  • make it clear to pupils if they charge (or have plans to charge) any additional administrative fees when booking tests for pupils 
  • agree to not use candidate details for reserving tests without their permission 

We believe that these updated terms and conditions provides a clear message on what is expected of OBS users. We also think that this would also allow legitimate businesses not linked to an ADI a method of access to use the system. 

 You can read the full terms and conditions on GOV.UK. These changes will also affect motorcycle and vocational trainer bookers.  

 What happens if the terms and conditions are breached 

Should we find that users are misusing their accounts, we have put in place the right to take the following steps: 

  • First warning – You will receive a warning letter  
  • Second warning – You will be unable to make any new bookings for 3 months, but will be able to manage bookings (swap and cancel) already on the system 
  • Third warning – Your account will be closed, and you will be unable to use the system. 

These suspensions will apply to any driving instructors linked to the business account.  

 Using your feedback 

We know some ADIs, and businesses use the system to swap and change driving test appointments. As a result we recently surveyed ADIs and businesses who use the service to find out more about how they use it and get their views on ways we could improve it.  

 In response to the business survey, we found that: 

  • 73.8% of you said that on average you use the service to book up to 100 tests a month 
  • 52.7% of you said that you use the service to swap up to 100 tests for another per month  
  • 44.9% of you said that setting a test swap limit for each organisation based on their monthly use would be effective in stopping abuse of the service.  

We decided to survey businesses specifically as we know that overall, they use the service more than independent driving instructors and 75% of businesses book more than 100 tests a month.  

We’re also exploring the possibility of introducing a function which would allow users to search for 2 booking reference numbers when swapping tests. This functionality would be available for both business users and ADIs. 

 The full results of the survey can be found on GOV.UK.

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7 comments

  1. Comment by David Pryce posted on

    In the LGV market this had been happening as I have said for years to the expense of small LGV trainers, now its worse with the introduction of the 3a and 3b tests on trainers sites, and the LGV standard is no standard now. As a ex Traffic Cop the LGV trainers are having a birthday with the trainer booking system and business account systems.
    My business is now pulling out of LGV licence aqusition since the changes in 2021 as its no standard and the test standard level is apparling, we continue with our other areas of LGV training and trailer work.

    Thank for allowing us to comment apprecated.

    Reply
  2. Comment by David Pryce posted on

    What do you mean by Moderation is that you would like fact or fiction or truth or lyes. change my comment to suit the DVSA what fits with policy or how you see it working. i will not change my comment as its fact and true.

    Reply
  3. Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

    please predict the waiting times for car tests in luton from july 1st 2023

    Reply
  4. Comment by Brian Young posted on

    I have been an ADI for 42 years and find the system of driving instructor's, driving schools and so called agency`s that use the system to be disgraceful. I spoke to a pupil who was offered a "pre booked test" for the cost of £ 300.00, I have spoken to many examiners who have said that the overall standard of the candidates who use or allowed to use this system is poor at best. The DVSA introduced this system without realizing that it is open to abuse by those who do not have the public`s interest at heart both from the cost and from the standard of driving. Once again the DVSA has no doubt held many consultations with various companies and come up with a bad system. Perhaps they need to hire more managers etc. Over the years I have seen and experienced many introduced changes and sadly the overall "product" has got worse and it seems to be a filter down problem. I am grateful that I will hopefully retire sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  5. Comment by Keith Hepburn posted on

    I welcome the changes in general and hope that it brings more flexibility between tests.

    What I'm confused about is if someone still charges to find a test they can call it an admin fee and there is no limit to how much that amounts to.

    Its difficult to work around the long wait for tests. This is having a negative effect on our businesses at a time when we are still recovering from our loses during covid and not working for 9months.

    The lack of tests is making it harder to earn a living as we need to sit around with open diaries waiting for tests to come up. Not to mention the time it takes.

    I would have welcomed something that does not effect the honest instructors and penalises those making a killing, and lets be honest some instructors are making 1000's from this situation.

    A limit on the amount of tests that can be booked or held. A limit on holiday too many tests for a particular day.

    Reply
  6. Comment by Mike posted on

    I operate a motorcycle training school.
    The advance purchasing of tests allows me to plan when I can and will work weeks in advance. The system does not allow for the effect of a holiday period of a couple of weeks before it slows down your advance purchasing for a number of weeks.
    Likewise it does not allow for seasonal fluctuations.
    Finally it does not help when the DVSA cancel tests at short notice due whatever good reason it has.

    There should be a working practice to prioritise the cancelled tests back into an available test within a very short time frame.

    I purchase tests to sell training course packages.

    Reply
  7. Comment by stephen OGGELSBY posted on

    exactly that . the vast MAJORITY of independent driving instructors don't use the system.

    Reply

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