In DVSA’s 2022 to 2023 business plan, we told you we wanted to investigate ways we could create a modern, flexible and efficient driving test service. One that is less dependent on fixed driving test centres, and takes advantage of new technology.
Our existing driving test service is based on a network of driving test centres, often with fixed long term leases. This can result in a test centre being tied to a location where the road and traffic conditions have changed, and no longer provide the best environment to assess a candidate's ability to drive.
DVSA is trialling a system which takes the tests away from the current driving test centres. At this stage it’s only a trial. We’ve told approved driving instructors (ADIs) about the trials happening at 4 locations to test the concept:
- Birmingham (Kings Heath)
- Mill Hill (London)
Driving test content staying the same
The driving test itself will not change, the standard a candidate must demonstrate they meet will stay the same. And the content of the test will stay the same; it will still contain the same manoeuvres, independent driving and show me tell me questions, for example.
By using flexible test locations and routes, DVSA can continue to offer a realistic driving test to candidates as Britain’s roads change and do its part in keeping our roads among the safest in the world.
If a learner is truly test ready, they should be able to pass on any roads, not just those which they have practised on. It is one of the reasons DVSA does not publish test routes, to discourage route learning.
The trial is using a range of different types of buildings to do tests from such as community centres or sports and retail centres. Flexible office space is also being considered.
Some of your pupils may even feel more at ease coming to a retail centre or leisure centre they know well, rather than a driving test centre they’ve may have never been to.
In the trial, one option we are looking at is to have the driving examiner meet the candidate at the car, rather than in a waiting room. DVSA is considering how a shared location would need to have designated parking for this model.
Changing where we deliver tests from also has the potential to increase testing capacity in an area and help DVSA be more flexible where it deploys its workforce. It could more easily send examiners to areas of high demand.
DVSA has to consider many things in a project like this, around the safety of the examiners, driving instructors, your pupils and the public. This includes things such as the locations of the tests and risk assessments for colleagues, customers and the public.
All of these were considered ahead of the trial starting and will be updated as needed from the lessons learned during the trials.
Getting the views of candidates and instructors
A key part of the trial is to get the views of driver and rider instructors and their pupils who have taken part, or taken a test from one of the alternative locations. This feedback will help us ensure all aspects of the trials are considered.
To do this we are contacting all of your pupils whose test were moved to one of the alternative sites to find out what they think. If any of your pupils are asked to feed back, it’s really important that they do, so please encourage them to do so - it only takes a few minutes.
Once the trials have finished, we will also be asking ADIs who have taken a pupil to one of the alternative sites what they thought. If this is you, please look out for the survey and share your views with us, all responses will feed into the next steps.
We are also working alongside frontline colleagues, driving examiners and local driving test centre managers to get their thoughts and views to help shape the trials.
After the trials have been completed, we will review the feedback from those who have been involved to help identify what has gone well and what could be improved. This will help determine which of the options are most successful and help map out the next steps.
We will keep you updated on this project’s progress.