Posted by: Carl Surgey | 5 June 2020

Communication with DVSA

This is the latest update from DVSA on when lessons might start again. From my professional body the Driving Instructors Association (DIA).

We have spoken this week, as usual, to DVSA and yet again impressed upon them the need for further guidance and communication on the resumption of testing and training.

In our conversations yesterday the agency appraised us of the many hurdles they need to jump over to open up testing again and the core issue they face of not being able to make any decision as the agency alone about restarting testing. They are dependent on central government approval to resume testing at any level.

We have asked that CEO Gareth Llewellyn communicates the challenges faced and the steps which need to be taken directly to trainers so they can at least understand why giving a firm date is so difficult and what has to be in place for services to fully resume. 

We impressed upon Mr Llewellyn the need and value of any communication directly from DVSA at this time, given there has been no direct communication since 22 April. He has agreed to seek approval from Department for Transport to share more information on the process to date, and the process ahead, so the industry has a better understanding of the challenges – and what this may mean in terms of a timeline for resuming tests.

Given the hurdles to be jumped before testing can resume, it is the view of NASP that it is highly questionable that tests scheduled in June will go ahead. The need for trainers to have enough time to get back on the road, and adequately prepare their pupils (unless they are already engaged in the delivery of key worker rider or driver training) should be paramount. As the gap rapidly closes between now and when the first tests are scheduled, we feel the opportunity for trainers to prepare pupils is slipping away. We have maintained throughout this crisis that trainers should have a minimum of three weeks’ notice to train pupils before tests resume.

We will continue to push DVSA for direct communication and guidance to the industry and have asked that this be made by early next week.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 5 June 2020

Latest from the DVSA

All theory tests in England rescheduled up to the 14 June
All theory tests in England from 8 – 14 June have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are preparing test centres for a safe return to testing for all candidates and social distancing measures are being put in place.  We will update you with a start date for theory testing in England as soon as we are able. What DVSA are doing We are emailing anyone with a test booked from 8 – 14 June inclusive to let them know it has been rescheduled.  We wrote to you on 29 May to let you know that tests in Scotland and Wales will be rescheduled up to and including 21 June 2020. This is in line with government guidelines in the respective countries. If you’ve booked a test for your pupils If you have booked a test for any of your pupils during these dates, you will need to contact them to let them know that their test has been rescheduled. You can do this on GOV.UK. You will need your driving licence number to do this. You’ll get another email from Pearson Vue. You do not need to pay again to do this. Emergency theory tests An emergency theory testing service will still be available to those who have a critical need to take a test, such as NHS and social care workers. Please do not call our customer service centre as they will not be able to help. Stay up to date on the latest information on GOV.UK. We will be monitoring the situation and we will let you know if we need to cancel any more tests. Driving lessons Driver, rider and vocational trainers should continue to limit instruction to key workers preparing for an essential test. We provided the industry with advice on this in April and will provide further information about broader training as soon as we can.
All theory tests in England from 4 – 7 June rescheduled
All theory tests in England from 4 – 7 June have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are preparing test centres for a safe return to testing for all candidates and social distancing measures are being put in place.  We will update you with a start date for theory testing in England as soon as we are able. What DVSA are doing We are emailing anyone with a test booked from 4 – 7 June inclusive to let them know it has been rescheduled.  We wrote to you on 29 May to let you know that tests in Scotland and Wales will be rescheduled up to and including 21 June 2020. This is in line with government guidelines in the respective countries. If you’ve booked a test for your pupils If you have booked a test for any of your pupils during these dates, you will need to contact them to let them know that their test has been rescheduled. You can do this on GOV.UK. You will need your driving licence number to do this. You’ll get another email from Pearson Vue. You do not need to pay again to do this. Emergency theory tests An emergency theory testing service will still be available to those who have a critical need to take a test, such as NHS and social care workers. Please do not call our customer service centre as they will not be able to help. Stay up to date on the latest information on GOV.UK. We will be monitoring the situation and we will let you know if we need to cancel any more tests. Driving lessons Driver, rider and vocational trainers should continue to limit instruction to key workers preparing for an essential test. We provided the industry with advice on this in April and will provide further information about broader training as soon as we can.
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 30 May 2020

DVSA: All theory tests rescheduled on Monday 1 June

All theory tests rescheduled on Monday 1 June
All theory tests on Monday 1 June have been rescheduled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Tests in Scotland and Wales will be rescheduled up to and including 21 June 2020, this is in line with government guidelines in the respective countries. We are preparing test centres for a safe return to testing for all candidates. Social distancing measures are being put in place.  We will update you with a start date for England as soon as we are able. What DVSA are doing We are emailing anyone with a test booked up to and including 21 June in Scotland and Wales to let them know it has been rescheduled.  We are emailing candidates in England with a test booked on the 1 June to let them know it has been rescheduled. If you’ve booked a test for your pupils If you have booked a test for any of your pupils during these dates, you will need to contact them to let them know that their test has been rescheduled. You can do this on GOV.UK. You will need your driving licence number to do this. You’ll get another email from Pearson Vue. You do not need to pay again to do this. Emergency theory tests An emergency theory testing service will still be available to those who have a critical need to take a test, such as NHS and social care workers. Please do not call our customer service centre as they will not be able to help. Stay up to date on the latest information on GOV.UK. We will be monitoring the situation and we will let you know if we need to cancel any more tests. Driving lessons Driver, rider and vocational trainers should continue to limit instruction to key workers preparing for an essential test. We provided the industry with advice on this in April and will provide further information about broader training as soon as we can.
COVID-19 update: theory test centre locations for critical workers
To help critical workers get an emergency theory test at a location that is more suitable to them, we will be opening an additional 25 theory test centres across the UK. When applying for an emergency theory test online, candidates will be asked to select their ‘preferred’ test centre. Their theory test will then be booked at the nearest available centre if their preferred location is not available. Available theory test centre locations Critical workers will now be able to take a theory test at:

Aberdeen Edinburgh Plymouth Birmingham Glasgow Portsmouth Bristol Guildford Slough Cambridge Ilford Southwark Carlisle Leeds Mile End A Chelmsford Liverpool Cardiff Colchester Manchester Newcastle Eastbourne Northampton   Dudley Nottingham

The new locations have been chosen based on critical worker test demand.  Next steps Theory tests for anyone who is not a key worker have been cancelled up to and including 30 May 2020. We’re keeping the situation under constant review, in line with government guidance, and will provide further information on testing as soon as we can.
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 19 May 2020

Latest Advice From NASP for Instructors

Follow the link to the latest NASP guidance for Driving Instructors.

NASP_GUIDELINES_FOLLOWING_GOVERNMENT_ADVICE_FINAL_FINAL

DVSA has today issued updated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to all Examiners currently conducting Critical Worker tests. The latest SOP has specific guidance on the wearing of face coverings, which are still optional for Examiners and candidates.

Neither candidate nor Examiner is required by law to wear a face covering but they are allowed on tests – as long they do not impede the safe operation of the vehicle.

Where a candidate turns up for test wearing a face covering/mask, where necessary examiners should ask the candidate to temporarily remove their face covering/mask so their identity can be confirmed.

Where candidates present for test wearing glasses and a face covering/mask, examiners are to make them aware of the increased possibility of glasses/eye protection fogging up.

Where issues arise with this on test, examiners should offer advice and guidance to help resolve the problem. If the issues continue to interfere with the safety of the test the examiner should terminate/stop the test on safety grounds.

To read the full version of the updated SOP please click below.

Click here to see the fully updated procedures for Examiners
Posted by: Carl Surgey | 7 May 2020

Theory Tests cancelled till 30th May

Theory Tests cancelled till 30th May

All theory tests (bar those for key workers) have been cancelled up until and including 30 May 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

DVSA are currently emailing anyone with a test booked up to and including 30 May 2020 to let them know it has been cancelled and that they will be automatically refunded. It can take up to 10 working days for the refund to show back in the account it was paid from.

If you’ve booked a test for your pupils during these dates, you will need to contact them to let them know that their test has been cancelled.

Emergency theory tests

An emergency theory testing service will still be available to those who have a critical need to take a test, such as NHS and front line workers.

Please do not call DVSA customer service centre as they will not be able to help. Stay up to date on the latest information on GOV.UK.

DVSA will be monitoring the situation and will notify trainers if they need to cancel any more tests. Work is ongoing to understand how soon, and how, theory test centres can re-open to allow for social distancing.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 26 April 2020

LATEST FROM DVSA ON EMERGENCY TESTS

Coronavirus (COVID-19): conducting driving
tests for key workers
Dealing with key workers requests for a driving test
You can view the new service on GOV.UK using the below links:
• Apply for an emergency theory test if you’re a key worker
• Apply for an emergency driving test if you’re a key worker
At the start of the application, they’ll be asked a series of questions and will need to supply
their ID, so we have all the information we need to confirm their eligibility.
Applicants will then be matched with available volunteers for test slots at their nearest testing
centre.
How deployment will arrange the driving test
Deployment will agree a priority testing work pattern with examiners.
Extra time will be made for each test
To allow the examiner to take all additional precautions as outlined in this standard operating
procedure, extra time will be made for each test.
When appointments have been arranged
The examiner will either receive a journal through the Driving Examiner Services (DES) app
the day before, or via an email generated by deployment through the testing and registration
system (TARS).
Examiners should check their journals and emails daily
As tests will be booked in automatically based on the agreed programmes, examiners
should check their journals and emails daily.
Examiners must notify their local driving test manager (LDTM) or their deputy about when
and where they are testing to make arrangements for keeping in touch on the day, this is to
ensure the examiner remains safe.
Taking the driving test
Examiners must wear suitable clothing that fully covers their arms and legs.
The test will take place at a DVSA location that has handwashing facilities for both the
examiner and the candidate.
Examiners should:
• wash their hands before leaving the office and entering the public waiting area
• wear gloves as soon as hands have been washed and for the duration of the test
• avoid touching their face with their hands
Where necessary the examiner must politely remind the accompanying driver of the
requirement for social distancing.
Examiners must not shake the candidate’s hand.
Examiners must not let the candidate touch the iPad, stylus or paper DL25. The examiner
will provide the candidate with a blank piece of paper and a pen if the candidate doesn’t
have their own.
The examiner should read the insurance and residency declaration to the candidate and ask
them to confirm they agree with the statements.
The candidate should sign the separate piece of paper so the examiner can compare to the
licence signature without handling the licence. The UV check should be carried out without
physically handling the licence. This will be a part of the usual identity check.
The examiner should mark a cross X in the signature box on either the iPad or the paper
DL25 to confirm that the candidate has agreed with the statements and has satisfied the
identity checks.
For DES app users the candidate should continue to be asked if their email address is where
they wish the result to be sent.
In cases where the candidate wishes the email address to be changed the examiner should
ask for the new email address to be written on the separate piece of paper the candidate
has, the examiner should enter this address onto the iPad.
The candidate must be asked to retain the paper and pen, it must not be left on site. This
amended process avoids the examiner contaminating their gloves before conducting the
test.
The test will be unaccompanied to help with social distancing and to reduce potential spread
of the virus.
The examiner should explain to the candidate that a debrief will be offered at the end of the
test, but in order to maintain social distancing, the ADI/accompanying driver will not be
invited to listen in.
If the candidate comes to the test with clear symptoms the test must not go ahead.
If the candidate becomes unwell or starts to cough continuously during the test, the test must
be stopped.
The examiner must ensure the test vehicle is well ventilated. This may mean asking the
candidate to open their window, as well as the examiner window being opened at the start of
the test. Examiners should make a judgement to ensure the vehicle is adequately ventilated.
The examiner should conduct the test as normal, as per DT1 guidance.
Additional guidance for vocational tests only
The reversing exercise and uncouple/recouple exercise must be done at the start of the test.
If the candidate gets a serious fault for either of these exercises, then the test must be
terminated in the interest of public safety using activity code 4.
This only affects vocational tests being conducted during the coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic and does not apply to car tests.
Once the on-road test has commenced the examiner should conduct the test as normal, as
per DT1 guidance.
Additional guidance for Motorcycle tests only
Motorcycle examiners must follow these additional steps:
Mod 1 & Mod 2
Signing and kitting up of candidates / completing end of test paperwork and debriefs should
be carried out either in the general waiting room or outside, the bike kitting up room is too
small to allow for social distancing.
Start of test
Fitting the Bluetooth devices – The candidate must fit their own earpiece which will be
provided by the examiner, this will be an unused earpiece.
If the candidate has their own earpiece compatible with our Bluetooth device, it is acceptable
for them to use it.
If the examiner has any Bluetooth issues during the test, they should talk the candidate
through switching it off and back on again to reset it. Once the test has started the examiner
should not handle any of the radio equipment.
End of test
The examiner should wear a pair of gloves provided by DVSA and ask the candidate to
remove their earpiece. Once removed the examiner should dispose of the earpiece along
with their gloves. The guidance further on in the document relating to disposing of PPE
should be followed for disposing of earpieces and gloves.
MOD 1 Tests only
Sign the candidate up following the advice above.
Make sure that the government rules for social distancing are followed during all briefs for
each individual MMA exercise.
At the end of the test
If the candidate has passed, the examiner should read the health declaration to candidate
and ask if the statement is true.
If the candidate agrees, the examiner should mark a cross X in the signature box on either
the iPad or the paper DL25 to confirm that the candidate has agreed with the statement.
The examiner should take the candidate’s licence in the usual way for ADLI issue, ensuring
it’s only handled with gloves on. The iPad and wallet should be closed before the examiner
handles the driving licence. This avoids the iPad becoming contaminated.
When the examiner returns to the office they must:
• shred the licence, if in receipt of it
• dispose of their gloves
• wash their hands
A new pair of gloves should be used for each test.
If the test was conducted on the DES app then all write ups should be done using the voice
to text function.
If the examiner is a non-iPad user or is conducting a test currently not available on the DES
app, they should complete the test using the paper DL25 form.
They should post the DL25A to the Newcastle scanning team as normal. Contingency is in
place to have staff available to scan the paper DL25s.
At the moment, there remains sufficient traffic on our roads to ensure that a meaningful test
can be conducted. This will be reviewed regularly.
Disposing of PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves and antiviral wipes, must be disposed
of separately to general waste.
PPE must be disposed of and double bagged daily. At the end of the day the bag must be
clearly marked by taping on a note showing the date it can be collected or destroyed.
Collection or destruction must be at least 72 hours after the items were disposed of.

Posted by: Carl Surgey | 23 April 2020

KEY WORKER TRAINING

Under current lockdown restrictions pretty much all face-to-face driver training has been suspended.

My professional body the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), advised all Approved Driving Instructors (ADI), nearly 5 weeks ago, that all such training should cease.

Key Workers

However there are certain “Key Workers” who may need some training and testing during the current lockdown to enable them to better carry out their jobs. These could include:

Key workers requiring a driving licence to do their job.

Key workers who may need some form of refresher or updated training to comply with insurance requirements.

Key workers being asked to do more driving than they are used too and feel they need some refresher training or a confidence boost.

Voluntary Register

I have joined the voluntary Key Worker Training Register.

After online training to ensure the health and safety of both students and myself and then passing the required tests I will be offering training to those key workers that require it.

Applying for a Driving Test

I have published the current policy from both government and DIA sources which can be found in my previous posts. But to recap:

If you are a key worker and need to pass a driving test then you apply to the Driver &  Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to be recognised as a key worker.

You then apply for an emergency driving test appointment with the DVSA. Please note that this may not be in the local area i.e. could be Edinburgh, Glasgow or Newcastle etc.

Then we will work out a training plan leading up to your test. In the current circumstances I will not be offering the usual 1 or 2 lessons per week. I essence we will have to do an intensive course consisting of a number of 6-7 hour days just prior to your test date. I would envisage that we will have to spend some time in the area in which you will be taking your test which will involve you driving us to the location. This will form part of the lesson.

Updating Your Driving Skills

If you are required by your work to drive as part of your work duties then your employer has a duty of care the same as if they employed you as a driver for the company. This may mean that they are required to ensure that your driving meets certain minimum standards. It may be that their or your insurance requires that you take some additional training and assessment.

You may feel that your skills are not what you would wish if you are faced with driving more than usual or in areas that you are not familiar with.

I can offer you a personal and customised course of training tailored to your requirements. However you still need proof that you are a key worker. This could be your Staff ID or a letter from your organisation supporting your key worker status.

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