Posted by: Carl Surgey | 5 February 2021


Limited test service for critical workers

You can only teach mobile emergency workers who have a confirmed test booking.

A limited theory test and practical testing service will be introduced in England and Wales. 

This will be available to:

  • NHS health and social care workers
  • The emergency services
  • Local councils

Who need to both:

  • Drive as part of their job
  • Respond to ‘threats to life’ as part of their job

Because of the current COVID restrictions, DVSA cannot offer a mobile emergency worker test service in Scotland.

These tests will be carried out by examiners who have volunteered to continue to test during lockdown.

DVSA will be contacting these organisations directly to explain how they can access this service.

Teaching someone with a confirmed test booking

You can teach mobile emergency workers who have a confirmed test booking even if current local or national restrictions do not allow driving and riding tests.

You must not teach anyone who only has a routine driving test booked – even if they are an NHS health and social care worker, emergency service worker or local council worker. You must make sure that your pupil has the correct documentation as detailed below.

What you need during lessons

You must not take any pupils out unless you have both:

  • A copy of your pupil’s emergency test booking confirmation email
  • A copy of the application request from their employer

You can use these to prove you’re allowed to teach during current restrictions if you’re stopped by the police.

During lessons you must be sure to follow government guidance about working safely during coronavirus.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 29 January 2021

DVSA update on the future of the theory test centre network

Currently the theory test service in Great Britain is delivered by one company – Pearson Vue. This includes:
The day-to-day management of each of the test centres, such as the computers and the staff.
The online booking system
Customer service team

From September 2021 the way DVSA delivers theory tests is changing. The changes will not affect the typical candidate experience or the content of the test (but it may look and feel slightly different).
As part of the new arrangements two companies, Pearson Vue and Reed in Partnership Ltd will provide the day-to-day delivery of theory tests.
The delivery will be separated into three geographical regions:
Region A – Reed In Partnership Ltd Covering: Scotland, Northern Ireland, North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber
Region B – Pearson Vue Covering: Wales, West Midlands, South West and South East
Region C – Reed In Partnership Ltd Covering: East Midlands, East of England and London

Because the contract to operate the theory test centres has been awarded to more than one company the location of many theory test centres will change.
The government has said it has no current plans to lay legislation to extend theory test certificates.

Roads minister Baroness Vere responded to a letter from NASP asking if theory test certificates could be extended. She said: “I do appreciate the effect the current situation is having on learner drivers and approved driving instructors (ADI), but we have considered this matter carefully and our conclusion remains that extending the validity of theory test pass certificates would be an unacceptable risk to road safety.

“Those with theory test certificates expiring will have taken their test in early 2019. Since then, their lessons and practice sessions have been significantly curtailed and it is therefore likely that their knowledge base and hazard perception skills will have diminished. This will clearly have a negative impact on the road safety of new drivers, who are already disproportionality represented in casualty statistics.

“You have asked whether it would be possible for Government to enlist the help of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) ADIs to ensure pupils have a good theoretical knowledge and sign off before allowing a candidate to take the practical test.

“As you know, the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows a full driving licence to be issued only if the person has passed both the theory and practical tests within two years of each other. It is not therefore possible to overlook the legal position and two-year validity period on the grounds that ADIs will vouch for their candidate’s knowledge and skills. Although ADIs are well-qualified and proficient in driving and instruction, they are not experienced assessors. This is evidenced by the current practical test pass rate of 47%.”

DIA wrote to DVSA earlier this month to query why moves have not yet been made by the agency to deliver the theory test completely online, both in response to the pandemic and in terms of future proofing the test in general. DIA (as a provider of driver testing itself internationally via Diamond) has pointed to advances in online security/candidate checks for digital assessments, and the increased availability of online proctoring solutions (whereby the candidate is monitored throughout the test) which has meant many forms of assessment have gone completely online, enabling candidates to take an assessment from any location, and for providers to dispense with costly physical testing centres and staffing of such. 
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 29 January 2021

DVSA issues critical worker training update

DVSA has responded to questions regarding the training of key/critical workers during lockdown. 

DVSA said: “The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working with its theory test contract provider, Pearson VUE, to respond to requests for theory tests from organisations such as ambulance authorities on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role.

“The DVSA will also respond to requests for practical driving tests from organisations on behalf of frontline mobile emergency workers, who require a driving licence to carry out duties in their employment role. 

“This is a limited service subject to examiner resource and is restricted to candidates working in health and social care, and other public bodies involved in work responding to ‘threats to life’ such as the Environment Agency’s flood rescue staff, or local authority gritter truck drivers.

“The DVSA will contact NHS Trusts to explain how to nominate candidates; candidates cannot apply themselves. Applications from other organisations will be considered if the mobile emergency worker criteria is met.

“Approved driving instructors and trainers can return to work only for the purpose of supporting a mobile emergency worker with a booked test.”

DIA is working to reopen the Key Worker Register to support those who will be delivering essential training to pupils who can demonstrate a need for training at this time and have a test booked. Registrants will be required to complete our online COVID-19 course and theory test which is currently being updated, as well as provide evidence of the need to train in the form of an employer’s letter confirming training is required and a copy of the test booking. More detail on the register coming shortly.

It is also important to carry a copy of your pupil’s confirmed test booking if training on the road.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 3 January 2021

Latest from the DVSA

COVID UPDATE: Theory test contact centre closure

As a result of the Governments recent changes to the tiers in England,Pearson Vues theory test customer contact centre has closed.

Theory test enquiries

Allenquiries will need to be made by email until tier 4 restrictions are lifted in the area where the contact centre is located.


Please do not call DVSAs contact centre as they will be unable to help with theory test enquiries.

Urgent enquiries

Urgent enquiries about a test in the near future need to be marked ‘Urgent Action’ in the email subject.

Special requirements and face covering exemption enquiries

Enquiries relating to special requirements or face covering exemptions also need to be included in the email subject.

Keeping you informed

We are sorry for any inconvenience and we will update you once the contact centre can reopen.

Thank you for your patience.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 3 November 2020

Update on lockdown measures in England

Please Note This is England Only at the Moment

Following the announcement on Saturday 31 October 2020 around further lockdown measures being introduced in England, we are working closely with the Government to agree the impact these will have on DVSA services.

All driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5 November until 2 December 2020. We will be contacting affected test candidates soon.

We’ll keep you updated on the situation and provide further guidance when we’re able too.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 15 September 2020

Driving test booking service: update

Driving test booking service: update
The driving test booking service reopened to the general public at 8am today (Monday 14 September) for new bookings in England, Scotland and Wales. More than 155,000 driving tests have been booked so far today. There are currently low numbers of people in the queue. The service will close at 11:30pm today, and will reopen at 8am tomorrow (Tuesday 15 September). A random place in the queue If you or your pupils try to access the service after 11:30pm today you will be given a random place in the queue at 8am tomorrow, along with any other learners who log on. Find out more about the driving test book service.
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 10 September 2020

Inviting candidates to choose a new test date

Inviting candidates to choose a new test date
Before the driving test booking service reopened for the general public, we emailed candidates with a test on hold to give them priority to book a new test date. Some of these candidates have still not chosen a new test date. We’ll be emailing them again from tomorrow (Thursday 10 September 2020) to remind them they need to do this. This is the last time we will be able to give your pupils with a test on hold priority to choose a new test date. Choosing a new date The email will include a link to the online booking system to choose a new test date. Only candidates who already have a test on hold will be able to use this. Your pupils will need to choose a new test date before 11.30pm on Sunday 13 September 2020 to have priority over the general public. We will be reopening the booking service for new tests at 8am on Monday 14 September 2020. If your pupil had a test booked before the pandemic but does not receive an invitation to choose a new appointment, they can do this at  All available test slots will be shown on the online service. Your pupils should not contact our customer service centre as they will not be able to book any alternative test slots. Making sure your pupils are ready It’s important that you speak to your pupils before they rebook their tests to make sure: they are ready to take their test you are available to take them As examiners will only be at test centres when they have a test booked, we have increased the minimum notice period for booking a test from 60 minutes to 10 hours. Wearing a face covering All candidates must wear a face covering when taking their driving test, unless they have a good reason not to. This includes if: they have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means they cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause them severe distress When they arrange their test, they’ll need to say if there’s a good reason they cannot wear a face covering. The email will tell them how to do this. What your pupils can expect when taking their test We’ve published guidance on GOV.UK about what your pupils can expect on the day of their test.
Some online services won’t be available: Wednesday 9 September 2020
Some of our online services won’t be available on Wednesday 9 September 2020. This is because some debit and credit card issuers have recently changed their security processes. This means we need to carry out essential work on the booking service so that we can continue to take online payments for test bookings. This will also increase the capacity of the booking system and help you and your pupils book a test more quickly. What services are affected The services that are affected include: book and manage driving tests order CBT certificates Services to manage your approved driving instructor (ADI) registration that may be affected include: apply for a trainee driving instructor licence apply for your first ADI certificate (badge) renew your ADI registration register to teach Pass Plus We’re working to implement these changes as quickly as possible. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 4 September 2020

Second chance for on-hold candidates to book slots

Thanks to some ‘persistent’ lobbying by NASP this week, DVSA have advised they will be providing an additional opportunity for on-hold candidates (including those in Scotland) to book a test via a dedicated link.
As you are aware, on 14th September DVSA will release over 375,000 test slots onto the public booking system between 14 September 2020 and 21 January 2021.  In advance of this they will email all remaining ‘on hold’ candidates with a direct link, giving them an additional opportunity to book one of these test slots prior to public release
This will honour the agency’s previous commitment to give such candidates priority access.  These candidates will not have to wait in the public queue, and are likely to be able find a test slot at a time and place of their convenience.
The email invitation will be sent late next week and we will let you know when this happens.

Older Posts »