Skip to main content

This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

The new driver services platform: the work done so far and what's next

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Learning to drive

Back in May 2022 we committed in our 2022 business plan to looking at the technology that supports driving test bookings and instructor registration.  

Since then, we have said very little externally about the work we’ve been doing. Not because we haven’t done anything, but because we wanted to wait until we had completed the first stage so we could give you the full picture. 

Understanding the current system 

The first stage of the project, known as the discovery phase, focused on research. It involved looking at the existing system through the eyes of current users. This helped us to get a better understanding of what users, both internal and external, needed from an updated system, and any constraints we face and the opportunities there are to improve things. 

Over three months of research with a wide list of users to talk to, which included; learner drivers, driving and riding instructors and trainer bookers, we began to get a picture of what they thought of the current system.  

We also spoke to our own colleagues who use the system, including local driving test managers, deployment, the ADI team and the customer service centre (CSC) as the new system will need to take their needs in to consideration as well 

What we learnt  

The detail and insights we uncovered through the research phase were extremely useful. The main trends were: 

  • everyone is battling with the current systems 
  • trainer bookers are confused and frustrated about booking allocations 
  • the current system doesn’t support our customers to be able to fix problems themselves – resulting in high call volumes to the CSC 
  • limited search functions for driving tests on the system is driving pupils to use third party booking apps. 

Participants in our research were open and honest about their experiences. This phase helped us better understand what users need, what constraints we face, and what opportunities there are to improve things moving forward. 

These research sessions made it clear people were struggling with the system. The theme of the discussions showed the current system is not a positive user experience. It is important to us that it is.  

For our colleagues, it is not making their jobs as straightforward as they could be. We want to ensure we are working towards a more efficient, straightforward system for them to be able to perform their jobs with up-to-standard facilities. It’s important we make our new driver services platform a positive user experience for all our colleagues and customers.  

Building on the research 

The next step in the process was the ‘alpha’ phase. The alpha phase of any project is about building on the findings from the user research and starting to look at different ideas and testing very early solutions. 

We spent time with colleagues in the different areas of DVSA such as CSC, operations and deployment team, to see how they use the current system to support our customers and if any limitations affect the service we provide. 

The time we spent with local driving test managers highlighted that their current level of access to the system hinders their ability to support candidates who asked for additional support.  

Time with CSC showed the level of access they have on the current system means they have to pass queries onto deployment to solve, rather than being able to fix a caller’s problem there and then. 

From the discovery phase we knew the Deployment team feels constant pressure to use DEs’ time to the maximum and provide as many tests as possible in the areas where our customers most need them. 

We spoke to learner drivers who had booked a practical test, and focussed in particular on customers with additional requirements to understand who we can best help them.

Next steps 

Having reached the end of alpha, the next stage in the project is ‘ beta’. In simple terms this phase includes building versions of the new system and trialling them in small areas to see how they perform. 

We are currently in the process of finding a supplier to work with us on delivering the next phase of the project. We will keep you updated on progress when we can. 

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by John Billingham posted on

    Booking a driving test
    Would you please consider giving priority to provisional licence holders that have passed their theory test and have a driving instructor ADI number to enter on the system.
    This can be on a first come first served basis when you release the next batch of driving test dates. The list of test candidates have priority over driving test booking apps.

    • Replies to John Billingham>

      Comment by Kristie (DVSA) posted on

      Hi, thanks for your comment. We aim to engineer out Bot access by using the concept you describe of matching customers’ requirements to available tests. However, we are not able to prioritise customers with an ADI as there is no legal requirement to learn with one. Kind regards.

  2. Comment by Stephen Tonge posted on

    When would new system be live for customers

    • Replies to Stephen Tonge>

      Comment by Kristie (DVSA) posted on

      Hi, thanks for your comment. That is not easy to answer before we have a supplier in place. We aim to release functionality in phases with frequent updates. Kind regards.

  3. Comment by Leroy Francis posted on

    Sounds very positive and forward thinking looking to hear more about the process over time.

    • Replies to Leroy Francis>

      Comment by Kristie (DVSA) posted on

      Hi, thank you for your comment! We will ensure frequent updates are given. Kind regards.

  4. Comment by Ruth Wallace posted on

    Don't just create the system for car learners, car instructors. Vocational Trainers are really struggling with the creaking system. Please get BETA testing from some of the BIG HGV training schools (who arrange multiple trainer bookings over a year) when doing the BETA testing. In the past they system has been so geared up to car requirements that LGV is a after thought and can't influence the design (i.e. too far into the programming to be able to 'tweak' it to suit a wider number of providers)

    • Replies to Ruth Wallace>

      Comment by Kristie (DVSA) posted on

      Hi, thanks for your comment. The changes will be for all test categories and will include the current Online Business Service (OBS). We will test this with a range of users from the sole trader to national providers as we understand their requirements are different. Kind regards.

  5. Comment by Alan White posted on

    As more and more students are opting for Intensive driving courses, the need for driving test slots at short notice is increasing in demand. This maybe why third parties are being used. Will the Beta stage, and the DVSA, look at the system to see if help can be given, for those choosing intensive driving courses.

    • Replies to Alan White>

      Comment by Kristie (DVSA) posted on

      Hi, thanks for your comment. Our priority when looking at the driver services platform is to ensure it is as efficient as possible to use by our colleagues and customers. Following the pandemic, we know many learners have waited a long time to take their driving test, so alongside other measures, we’ve recruited almost 500 examiners and are currently recruiting more to help provide more tests. Learners should only take their driving test if they are completely ready to pass. We strongly urge learners to use our Ready to Pass? Checklist and make sure they’ve had enough lessons so they can drive safely and are ready to pass their test first time. Kind regards.